Unboxing the E-Stim Systems Pebble

When it comes to e-stim the most reader questions are actually about power boxes. There are so many different ones out there it is hard to figure out which it the right one for you. So ever since E-Stim Systems launched their new mid-range Pebble a stream of questions about it kept coming in. E-Stim Systems was kind enough to send me one of their new power boxes and I will review it later this year.

The Carrying Case of the E-Stim Systems Pebble

First let me show you what is stored inside the nifty black carrying case it comes in.

The E-Stim Systems Pebble

The most important part is the power box itself. It measures roughly 116x77x38mm and has convex sides so it fits and rests well inside a hand. The controls are symmetrically laid out: On top there are three rotary controls. The left and right for intensity of the corresponding channel and the one in the middle to modify the sensation of the selected program. Below them are two soft touch buttons to shift through the 9 programs. Next to them on the right is a list of the 9 possible channels with a blue LED next to it which is on when the channel is selected.

The Battery every Pebble comes with

The Pebble can only be powered by battery and is comes with a Duracel Industrial 9V battery which is actually my choice of batteries to power my e-stim boxes.

Two 3.5mm Jack to 2mm Pin Plug Leads

Since the Pebble is a dual channel box it comes with two 150cm long 3.5mm jack to 2mm pin plug leads. Two 2mm pin plug leads make sense because the Pebble comes with…

With the 4 Pad Electrodes you can have Fun right out of the Box

… 4 pad electrodes to have fun right out of the box. However since most of E-Stim Systems accessories’ sockets are for 4mm banana plugs I would have wished for at least one of those leads.

The Pebble Comes with a Nifty Quick Start Guide and Information on the Lifetime Guarentee

To get you started right out of the box, the Pebble comes with a handy Quick Guide. It is also useful when you hand the box to a top who doesn’t know the box yet. Though he then has to try the different programs through trial and error…
There is also a post card informing you about the life time guarantee which E-Stim Systems provides all his power boxes with.

The Pebble’s Manual

Last but not least there is the informative manual.

The E-Stim Systems Pebble with the Entire Box Content

The Pebble has been sparked so much interest I was barely able to give it a short test run on myself until one member of my testee panel “demanded” it for a thorough test drive. He is in the market for a power box and wants to get an educated opinion.

ToyTorture’s Wishlist #1: Rope from Twisted Monk

After the ToyTorture’s Top 10 Toys miniseries a common topic in reader questions were: Don’t you have all the toys you want? And what would be the toys you would like to have? And while yes, I do have a lot of toys and the list of toys I would like to add to my collection and play repertoire is getting shorter, there are still some I really would like to own. This new mini series is really going to be mini (because it will end with my summer vacation next week) and not going to be exhausting, it will give you some ideas I feel my playroom is missing until I can call it complete.

One of the things most people find surprising when they enter my playroom is the fact that there is not a single piece of rope there. I have gotten shoe laces for CBT, tension belt, Velcro straps, belts,  carabineers  and many other bondage hardware to create elaborate bondage setups out of the plethora of leather restraints at hand. But not a single length of rope. That has two reasons: I am quite clumsy and quite impatient. So I am lacking the kind of skills and time required to put a person in a similar bondage I could do with three restraints and some clips. This is me talking as a kinky sub who sometimes top.

But as a toy tester I know that rope is one of the most essential, most accessible and most affordable kind of toy out there; many kinkster start out their journey into BDSM with it. Because of that I once wrote an article about rope. Yet still I get many messages each month asking which rope to buy and where to buy it. Most kink store sell un-branded rope so it is hard to make a suggestion. An exception to this rule is rope by Twisted Monk which is special for many reasons. Founded almost 15 years ago he made it his mission to provide the scene with quality rope out of established and sometimes exotic materials (as an e-stim enthusiast I really want to try his conductive rope!) in almost all colors of the most common hankies. With small but important and useful extras like very thorough whipping at the end or middle marks you can tell the ropes are made by an experienced and enthusiastic player himself. Rope bondage institutions like Midori or Shay and Stefano trust Twisted Monk products for their classes which tells its own story about the quality.

Though many things speak for rope from Twisted Monk I sadly had not had the chance to play with it myself. A couple of months ago Regulation added them to their store which should improve purchaseability in Europe. Getting rope from Twisted Monk would be one of the many instance where getting a toy for reviewing challenges me as a kinkster to explore new forms of play and finally put the my books on rope bondage to good use.

You can buy various kits, single length and accessories directly from Twisted Monk but Regulation and Mr S carry a small selection of kits too.

ElectraStim SensaVox Unboxing

The carrying case in which the ElectaStim SensaVox comes.

After three E-Stim Specials there stream of questions which box is good doesn’t stop. So one box after another I am trying to still your thirst of opinion on the basis of every good e-stim scene. As a nice surprise after a very stressful week at work I got the ElectraStim SensaVox in the mail yesterday.

The interior of the ElectraStim SensaVox carrying case.

It is their top of the line power box. So let’s see what can be found in the black, foam padded plastic case which has a little storage compartment for leads and toys, a battery and the jacket-adapter.

The ElectraStim SensaVox E-Stim Power Box

The SensaVox itself measures 143x78x33mm and weights 200g without a battery. On the top left there is the power soft-touch button, in the middle the rotary control to modify the programs and on the top right the boost button. Below them symmetrically laid out are the rotary controls for the two channels and the display for the intensity setting. Right in the middle of the box the are the two soft-touch buttons for the program selection and the display for the current program is between them.

The ElectraStim SensaVox’s Power Supply with the Adapters for different Socket Systems

The box can either be plugged into the socket. It comes with a power unit with adapters for the four major socket layouts.

The Battery which comes with the ElectraStim SensaVox

If you want to be mobile like on parties, it can also run on battery. So when buy on the run to a play party you can have fun out of the box.

Two 2mm jack to 2mm pin leads

Since it is a dual channel box it comes with two 120cm long 2mm plug to 2mm pin leads.

The Line-In Cable

To fully take advantage of the audio features of the SensaVox it comes with 205cm long 3.5mm jack line-in audio cable with gold plated jacks to connect your MP3 player with the box…

The 3.5mm Female-To-Female Adapter for Enhancing the Line-In Cable’s Length

a 3.5mm female to female adapter if you have you want to use the output of your stereo system and need to enhance the line-in cable length…

The Microphone which can be plugged into the 3.5mm Audio Socket

and finally a microphone to catch the sub’s or surrounding’s noises.

The CD-ROM with E-Stim Audio Tracks and Manuals in multiple Languages

For a first glimpse into the potential of box’s audio features there is a CD-ROM with a few audio tracks to be input into the box. It also contains the manual in French, German, Dutch, Spanish and Italian.

The SensaVox’s Printed Manual

The printed manual only comes in English and is full color. After a short into of how the box works, there are in-depth descriptions of every program and the way they can be modified. If you don’t have the manual with you and are in doubt there is a stick on the back of the box with a program list and a guide for which cable the different sockets around the box are.

The ElectraStim SensaVox with all the Standard Accessories

I can’t wait to spend some quality time with the SensaVox. With extensive audio features and 9 programs it promises to be great fun.

E-Stim Systems Helix Unboxing

One of the most commonly asked questions when it comes to E-Stim is: Which box to start out with? Naturally I was excited when E-Stim Systems sent me their new entry level power box to review in the E-Stim special. The review will follow tomorrow, today is just a quick overview what you get when buying the box.

The Helix comes in a sturdy, black carrying case which measures 270x210x75mm.

Carrying Case of the E-Stim Systems Helix

Inside it is padded with foam which is cut to safely house the power box and accessories. If you expand on the amount of electrodes but still want to use the nifty carrying case I recommend taking the foam out and replacing it with cubed foam which you can easily customize.

The most prominent item in the box is obviously the Helix power box itself. The easy to use box has a power button, a fire button and three rotary controls for intensity, altering the sensation and the speed of the stimulation. There also is an LED which fires when sensations are induced and an indicator which one of the five programs is selected. Like all their premium products the Helix comes with a lifetime warrenty.

The E-Stim Systems Helix

There is one lead with 3.5mm plug to 2mm pin connector for…

… connecting the Helix with the four self-adhesive conductive pads which come with the box.

The box is powered by a standard 9V block battery, one of which comes with the box for instantaneous fun with the pads right when you get it.

Obviously the box comes with a manual – which embarrassingly I have misplaced. It explains the functions and the five programs very well. For a first sneak peek into the box’s potential you can download it here.

The here shown most basic package of the Helix costs £109 but there is also the Blue Pack which comes with a pair of conductive rubber loops for £119 or the Red Pack with one of their infamous bipolar Eggs for £129.

ElectraStim Flick Duo Unboxing

In just a few weeks the Third Annual E-Stim Special will start on ToyTorture.com. For a couple of weeks it will be all about E-Stim on this website. So one after the other I am slowly getting the toys which I than will be reviewing. ElectraStim is one of the major manufacturers of E-Stim toys and thus I have gotten a lot of questions which of their power box I would recommend. Thus I was very happy when they sent me their Flick Duo along with two electrodes earlier this weekend to put them through my hard testing routine.

The toy comes in a black, sturdy 147x87x90mm cardboard box with the ElectraStim logo embossed in silver. It is wrapped in a trade outer packaging which shows a picture of the box and explains its main features.

Directly below the lid the Flick Duo is housed in a velvety covered tray. The power box features soft-touch push buttons which are symmetrically laid out: In the center there are the power and the mode selection button with the mode number indicator above. On the left and on the right are the intensity controls for the two independent channels. At the top there are two sockets for the two channels, on the bottom there is the Mini USB charging socket.

The Flick Duo comes with a manual in English, French, German, Dutch, Spanish and Italian. It explains the basis of e-stim, how to operate the box, walks you through the 8 programs and 4 flick modi and gives good advice on how to use the electrodes which come with the box. With the manual comes a little card. On one side they advertise for their Jack Socket e-stim enhanced masturbator, on the other side it is described how you can qualify for an additional year of warranty.

Next inside the box there is a small black drawstring back with a silver ElectraStim logo printed on it. It is large enough to hold the Flick Duo, two leads and a pair of conductive loops and some pad electrodes.

Next are the hardware essentials: A Mini USB cable for charging and two 2mm plug to bipolar 2mm pin leads.

Last but not least the Flick Duo comes with four self-adhesive pad electrodes. They are good for a first glance into the e-stim world and allow for out of the box fun.

I am very much looking forward to test this little beast and am especially excited which means things I will be able to do with the flick feature .

Anal Toys 101

Finding the right anal toy and keeping it in good shape so it lasts for a long time can be a bit of a challenge. In this 101 I talk about what to consider when buying an anal toy and how to care for it properly.

Buyer’s Guide to Anal toys

There are many aspects to consider when choosing an anal toy. Especially when you are buying your first one and have not developed personal preferences yet, giving each aspect some thought is a good idea because a good anal toy is quite an investment. But if chosen wisely will bring you fun for years to come.

Material

Deciding out of which material your new anal toy is going to be made is the first step when choosing it because the material properties impact many relevant aspects of anal play.

Material composition

This is the most important aspect of choosing a toy. In the old days before EU regulations and custom testing imported goods, toys which I would not have recommended to put up your butt were widely available!

The inside of your colon is basically one big mucosal that will happily absorb whatever the lube (especially water-based lube) washes out of the toy’s material. Thus I recommend only purchasing toys which are manufactured in the EU or USA where dangerous plasticizers like phthalates or lead as a catalytic agent for silicone are forbidden. Just to be safe look for the label “Platinum Silicone” or “Phthalates Free” when choosing a toy. At the end of Buyer’s Guide there is a list of manufacturers I personally source from if you want a recommendation.

Lube

Not every lube can be used with every material. Some lubes will actually cause to disintegrate your toy. Thus depending on your lube preferences you have to choose the toy material.

The following chart shows which lube can generally speaking be safely used with which material. Of cause individual material composition can lead to unexpected effects. If you want to err on the side of safety only use water-based lube.

Water-base Lube Silicone-Base Lube Hybrid Lube Oil/Fat-Base Lube
Silicone X X
PVC/ Vinyl
Rubber X
TPR (✔) (✔)
Other hard Plastic
Wood
Glass
Metal

The Square Peg Charlie Horse Wiggly in Supersoft Bronze from Regulation

Firmness & Surface Smoothness

While glass, metal and wood are always hard, the plastic ones come in different degrees of firmness. With the latter group the thickness is also influenced by the thickness. The thicker a toy the harder it will feel.

Which degree of firmness is good is depends on the usage situation. For training your ass a softer toy is better because it adjusts a bit to the sphincter. For wearing a toy for an extended period of time a harder material is better because the sphincter will adjust to the form of the toy which is more comfortable in the long run. Also with hard surfaces the likelihood of skin folds and thus a pinching sensation decreases.

The firmness also impacts the structural integrity. The firmer the toy the easier it will stand up by itself. This is especially important then you want to ride or sit on a toy. If it is too soft, it will collapse.

Furthermore the surface structure is important. The smoother the surface the easier the toy glides in and the easier it will be to clean.

Pervertables

A quick word on pervertables: There are wooden, metal and glass objects which are not made for anal play but are being used for it, most prominently baseball bats or batons. Before inserting them into your rectum make sure they are deburred and 100% smooth! Especially which with wood it is imperative that is has a sanded and treated surface! Getting a splinter into your colon is always a reason to rush to the ER! As for glass objects, especially vases and bottles: Keep them out of your ass! The glass used to anal toys is a special type of glass that almost never breaks and glass anal toys are always solid. The injuries caused by shards of broken glass inside your rectum can be lethal!

The Bolder Stoll Doll from Regulation

Toy Form Factor

There are two major form factors: Dildos, which are compared to their thickness relatively long shafts with a tapered ending for easier insertion, and plugs, which are shorter and between the maximum diameter and the base taper again so they can stay inside the butt.

Dildos

Dildos are probably the oldest sex toys humans invented. Stone penises as old as 28.000 years have been excavated. They induce a friction sensation on the nerve endings inside the sphincter while sliding in and out and at best hit the prostate. Depending on the glans’ shape there can be some stretching sensation.

Dildos come in two varieties. The first one are realistic dildos. They mimic the penis shape of humans, animal or anthropomorphic beings. This means the shaft is textured with veins which intensify the friction and thus the sensation. At the bottom end most of the them feature a base shaped like balls. The second variety are shape dildos. They are bullet or torpedo shaped and lack natural texturing.

The Square Peg Depth Probe from Regulation

Somewhere between dildos and plugs are shape dildos which consist of a series of bulges. The most extreme form of this form are anal beads. They are a series of balls connected by a string or a tubes which are inserted into the ass and then slowly pulled out. Of cause these toys aim to create a stretching sensation rather than a friction one.

A special form of dildos are so call depth trainers, also commonly called colon snakes. They are long (at least 35cm long), made out of flexible materials and don’t have much texture; a depth indication scale at most. They are designed to seduce the second sphincter to gradually open up to prepare for deep fisting.  Since this sphincter is not used to physical stimulation and unlike the anus can’t be relaxed purposefully, training it takes some time. So don’t rush it!

The Oxballs Pig Hole Deep from Mr S

Plugs

The shape of a butt plugs is best compared to the bottom half of a sand clock. From the tip they gradually increase in diameter and then – depending on the plug – either taper again or go directly into a short neck which is attached to a base. Through the gradually increasing diameter the main sensation of plugs is a stretching one.  So plugs are good to slowly accustom to and train the sphincter to a certain diameter.

A special form of plugs are hollow or tunnel plugs. Their outside form is like a butt plug but instead of being solid they have hole in the middle. Through the opening in the middle the tip is dull. So even if you can take the maximum diameter of the plug you might not be able to take it or only after a long pre-stretching. The hole is useful for many things. Through it lube or other liquids can be poured or the closing function of the sphincter can temporarily be taken away. The plug also protects the nerve endings in the sphincter from friction. Thus hollow plugs are especially useful in combination with depth trainers. Such plugs shield the anus from the friction sensation allowing the bottom to focus on what is happening at his second sphincter. When the tunnel plug is made out of a stretchy material (and is large enough) it can be used to fist through it making a formally too small interesting again or put it over a standard butt plug to increase its size.

With the increasing popularity of pet play there is a growing market of tail plugs. Instead of a base an appendix mimicking the look of an animal’s tail (most common are dog and pig tails) is attached to the plug’s body.  When choosing a tail keep two things in mind: Don’t buy a too small plug section because if it slides in too easily it will also slide out easily causing you to lose the tail when walking or wagging. Furthermore the mass ration between the plug and the tail should not be too much off. The center of gravity should be at the plug otherwise there is also the danger of the tail popping out easily. Tails are also popular with switchers not into pet play. When fucking somebody the tail will develop an momentum which is transferred to the plug section which than stimulates the prostate.

Finding the Right Size & Form

The following factors determined first if you will be able to take the anal toy and second how much you will enjoy it.

The Domestic Partner Crack Attack from Regulation

Maximum Diameter

Usually 3cm to 4cm is a good size to start out anal play. As you progress to bigger toys I recommend going up in steps of 1cm to 1.5cm increased maximum diameter. This is enough of a challenge yet you get the satisfaction of conquering the toy after a couple of days to weeks depending on how thoroughly you train. I know that this is costly by trying to get a toy in for weeks and always failing is very frustrating!

Slope

The slope of a toy defines how quickly the diameter from the tip on increases.

Even though the sphincter at the anus can somewhat voluntarily be relaxed it still is a muscle humans cannot control completely. It needs to be seduced to open up and in order to establish a certain training level actually carefully (!) stretched like every other muscle. Thus generally speaking steeper slopes are better because they allow the sphincter to open up more gradually. Especially when you are a novice stay away from toys with large dull tips because it will just press against the sphincter and it won’t open up. But even with a well-trained ass you will encounter toys that diameter wise are not really a challenge yet you won’t be able to take due to a weird slope. Sadly there now way to know before the purchase with which toys this is going to be the case so please be prepared for one or two useless purchases.

At butt plugs there are two slopes to look it: First the one before the maximum diameter which I just talked about. The second one is the one behind it. It defines how easily the toy comes out again. When you want to train your sphincter a steep slope is preferable. Once inside you can slowly fuck yourself with the plug, enjoying the stretching sensation. If you want to wear the plug for an extended period of time a duller to non-existing slope is preferable because it makes involuntarily popping out more difficult. However please keep in mind: When keeping a plug in, the “warm-up” effect of pushing it in slowly fades so seducing your sphincter to open up and release the plug becomes increasingly more difficult when keeping it in for long.

The Square Peg Happy Hour from Mr S

Position of Widest Diameter

Especially when you progress in training the position of the widest diameter becomes an important aspect to keep in mind. If you stick with a steep slope and increase the diameter the location of the maximum diameter moves further away from the tip so you have to insert more length for the maximum stretch. Since the colon is a quite small body cavern you might not reach the neck or even the maximum diameter. From a psychological point of view this is bad when training because inserting a toy completely fills you with a sense of accomplishment and giving you an opportunity to rest. This is usually a boost of eagerness to train further. Constantly failing on a plug is quite demotivating.

Texture

The texture describes the surface of a toy beyond the material properties (see: Firmness & Surface Smoothness). Since texture increases the friction of a toy it makes the insertion more difficult. So a textured toy with a diameter you usually take easily might not fit afterall.

In the section about natural dildos I have already briefly talked about natural texturing. They comprise of veins, the molded glans and foreskin and when we look at anthropomorphic toys scales, etc.

Detail of the Convex Shape and the Heavily Textured Surface of Apollo the Chimera

On shape dildos and plugs these three texture patters can be found (in ascending order of intensity): Groves, bumps and ridges. Which form delivers the best sensation is very individual. But a good rule of thumb is: the higher the texture is risen the stronger the stimulation. This of cause means that these toys are meant for play when the hole is already relaxed and well played with so it is not about the stretching (sensation) but about teasing the nerves in the sphincter. Please keep in mind that this form of play can wear out an ass quickly so be prepared for the scene to end rather sooner than later.

Extra Features

Sometimes toys come with extra features for a more intense or varied play. The most commonly found extra are sucktion cups. They enable you to temporarily securely attach the toy to a smooth surface (tiles are best for it) using vacuum. This is nifty feature when you really want to ride at toy so it doesn’t slip away.

For training the sphincter or creating a feeling of being stuffed without being able to take large diameters inflatable toys are useful. Once inserted you can pump them up in order to increase the diameter. I recommend buying only inflatable toys with a solid core for easier insertion.

Detail of the Base with Suction Cup Feature

A less commonly found feature are cum tubes. At the tip of the toy there is a small opening onto which a tube is attached. At the end of this tube is a syringe filled with a cum like lube. If you pus the end of the syringe the cum is getting splashed into the colon simulating an ejaculation. As nifty and unique as this sensation might be, a cum tube makes cleaning and drying of the toy more difficult.

For added stimulation some anal toys feature a vibrating function. When you are using quite hard toys this sensation can also be achieved by pressing a magic wand against the toy’s base. Another added stimulation is e-stim. Please refer to my in-depth review of e-stim plugs here for more information.

Personal Recommendations

This is a highly subjective, certainly not complete list of brand and retailers where good anal toys can be found. From these I source my anal toys from because I trust them for their product safety and quality.

Caring for your Anal Toys

Cleaning & Safer Sex

From a Safer Sex point of view a toy should either be used only by one person or covered by a condom. While the first is unlikely if you are having an active “social” life, the latter is unpractical as soon as it comes to toys larger than an L size penis. So cleaning the toys the right way is essential.

To clean your toys after play fill the sink with water between 40°C and 50°C, add dish soap and let the toy soak for approx. 15 minutes. I recommend using dish soap without perfume or lotion because these additives are bad for rubber and some PVCs. If you have used very thick water based lube add salt to break down the lube. At the soaking scrub the toys with a soft brush and rinse the soap water off. As a first step of sanitizing fill the sink again with hot water, add vinegar-based cleaner (possibly organic because you want to shove the toy up your butt again) and let it soak for a quarter of an hour. The acid in the vinegar will also deal with most of the unpleasant smells. Rinse the toy off and let it dry. Finally spray the toy with a sanitizer. The agents in the sanitizer can make glossy surfaces dull so you might want to try it on the base where the blemished surface is inconspicuous.

With some materials other means of sterilization are also possible once the lube has been washed off.  Metal toys can be flamed or autoclaved; the latter is also possible with high quality silicone toys.

A common question is how to deal with discolored toys. Sadly this effect is irreversible and simply comes with ages of plastic toys. To avoid it, buy only black toys.

Storage

In order to have long lasting fun with your toys keep some simple storage rules in mind. Always clean the toys after using them. The lube or body fluids otherwise can foster chemical reactions which might harm the toy. The storage place should be dry and well ventilated especially when you are storing toys from different manufacturers or made out of different materials together. The toys must never touch! The different plasticizers used by different manufacturers and materials can cause the toys to dissolve when touching or the air being filled with them. If the process started (an area getting sticky or gooy) it is too late. Sadly the process is irreversible and sooner than later you have to throw away the toy. Especially soft toys should be stored upright (or in case of depth trainers loosely rolled up) otherwise they might get permanent creases.

My Weekend with Grindr

My First Grindr Pic

My First Grindr Pic

I know I sometimes been a late adoperter yet I want to share this little experience with you.

For those who don’t know Grindr: It is a smartphone app that lets you find gay and bisexual men in your vicinity based on your current location data. I downloaded the app several times over the course of the last few years but never really used and thus quickly deleted it again. Last weekend there was an annual pop music festival in front of my dorm that attracts a four figure crowed and I thought “Maybe some cute boys make their way out to Lüneburg. So why not give Grindr a decent try?” So I downloaded the app on Friday morning and was excited to see what the weekend would bring.

The Offer

The major gay dating and actually social media platform I am using is PlanetRomeo. It is the major gay dating website in Germany. All my friends are on there, it is our main communication platform. There profile data you can enter is very detailed (though I would like to have more detailed kinky sex options), you can write a novel as a profile text and as a plus user you can upload as many pictures as you want to. So to a certain degree I feel I can create a to a degree authentic and deep picture of me. So creating a Grindr profile was a bit difficult. You can enter a nick name that most user don’t bother doing, the stats hardly go beyond rough physical  data, there is a small headline that can easily be overlook and you can write three lines as a profile text. The major selection criterion to click on a profile is the picture. So I put a lot of thought into choosing the right one (and replacing it quite frequently). The picture should at best represent me, my interests and what I am looking for on the platform. So I chose this because it has rubber, a little bit of red (I honestly didn’t think I would find BDSM dates there yet a fisting scene is quickly negotiated) and was very popular on PlanetRomeo. Once I uploaded it, I thought about replacing it. Since it is the only picture out there potential dates see I wanted them to see my full face and especially my glasses because that is the thing that for some weird reasons put the most people off online.

My Second Grindr Picture. Please, not comments

My Second Grindr Picture. Please, not comments

Grindr doesn’t have a website where you can alter the profile (or I haven’t found it yet). So I have to transfer pictures to my tablet and upload it from there onto the app. Because I was lazy and lay in bed I chose to take another picture out of my PlanetRomeo profile. Well… You don’ t have to tell me that I need new and better soccer gear pics. So that picture was on briefly on Grindr.

Next attempt: A picture from my more “civilian” PlanetRomeo profile (yes, I have more than one) taken the Sunday after Munich Pride 2015 relaxing next to the pool of a friend. A good picture of me, I like it a lot BUT: Again, you can’t tell from the picture that the sunglasses are correctional ones, I appear way slimmer than I actually am and I don’t have a Mohawk anymore.

Last profile picture change for now: In leather but rubber, too much top appearance but up to date and a better picture of me. So I stuck with it.

My Third Grindr Picture

My Third Grindr Picture

The Range

The first impression of the users: Everybody has a sixpack. Seriously: Everybody looked like a model on there, had sexy smiles, a bit of scruff. That was intimidating since I would have to “compete” with this gorgeous men for dates. At least theoretically because the majority of them lived in Hamburg or Hannover. Almost nobody lived close by and despite my expectations there was not rush of Grindr users coming to the music festival.

It took me some time to figure out that you can filter the users displayed by different criteria also so called “Tribes” which are scenes you can associate yourself with. I choose “Leather” as a filter assuming that this would be the most likely group I find interesting guys in. That made the distance problem even worse! Apparently there are nearly no “leather” guys in Hamburg and even Berlin fell short. The next large number of leather guys was in London. Also: I now learned that I was completely overdressed in my profile picture. Almost nobody wore gear. Again: Six packs and scruffy smiles with perfect teeth everywhere. I would have at least expected some bears or leather daddys yes nothing.

My Fourth and Final Grindr Picture

My Fourth and Final Grindr Picture

The Sales Pitch

I didn’t contact anybody I saw there. They were all out of my league and I was way too intimidated and afraid to get the usual “How does a guy like you think a guy like me would be interested in someone like you?!” So I simply waited. Five people actually messaged me. One was a bot. I was genuinely surprised that from being online for a weekend that only one bot messaged me. From what I have heard about Grindr I was ready to block user by the hour. So they finally got that sorted out which is a plus.

The other four messages were on one side expected: They were subs looking for a top, too horned up to read my profile text. What did surprise me was the distance: People were writing to me from Switzerland, Scotland and the south of France. So much for a location based, vicinity oriented app. But these chats quickly died after the realized they were not getting what they were looking for.

Honestly I was a bit disappointed at the end of the weekend. My image of Grindr was largely shaped by Grindr Fails posted by friends and corresponding accounts on Twitter. But nothing. No hilarity or anecdote happened. Maybe I am not good-looking enough to attract a… colorful crowd.

The Check

So what is the conclusion after a weekend on Grindr? An unspectacular one. I get more new contacts on Recon which is not that big in Germany and the contact quality even on Tumblr is higher. Maybe people with the body of an Adonis who live in really big gay centers like Berlin or large cities in the USA actually get laid using Grindr. I might give it another shot at a big kinky event like Folsom Europe but for now I can very live without it. If you want to get in touch with me hit me up on Recon, PlanetRomeo, Twitter or Tumblr.

Buyer’s Guide To Collars

ToyTorture.com has always been sort of a reflection of my own play style and my own desires manifested in toys. As authentic and honest reviews at that approach might create the flaw of it is that I am missing out on entire categories of toys. Sometimes I get asked about these categories over and over. Chastity is one of them, collars is another. Since a collar is the strongest bondage device out there yet I am not really into them I decided at the end of the Heavy Bondage Special to give a short overview of the collars out there. Especially in the paragraph about the symbolism of collars I am making a lot of generalizations. Please do not feel offended if your individual perception is different but celebrate it as the diversity that is the heart of our community. After that I briefly talk about the different materials collars can be made out of. The last and main part of this article are showing different kinds of collars. I sorted the collars into two categories: The first are decorative collars which primarily serve a symbolic purpose and through their designed are not primarily designed to be integrated into play. The latter category are functional collars which are made to be played with.

 

The Symbolism of Collars

Collars have a strong symbolic meaning in the BDSM community. They are a sign that a person belongs to someone. It is common for top who wants to establish a deeper and long-term orientated relationship with a bottom to put a collar around his neck to show him and the world that the sub belongs to him and is no longer free. This act is called “collaring”. Being collard usually implies a interdependent relationship: The top promises to give the sub something usually guidance, protection and play in exchange for the subs devotion, obedience, trust and loyalty. Due to the powerful contract which a collar symbolizes it is a very special piece of gear which is treated unlike any other. Usually only the top is allowed to put it on and take it off, most of the time also only the top may touch it. Touching the collar of a sub without asking the top for permission is considered highly offensive and even hostile by some people. In some high protocol situations it is even forbidden to talk to a collard sub because you are violating the property of another top. Also in a high protocol environment it is not uncommon for subs to walk around with a collar around his neck but with an open lock. This is a signal that he is open for a top to collar him. Closing the lock just for fun or laughs again is offensive because the sub probably hopes to get at least some of the affection listed above from the persons who closed the lock.

Materials

Collars can be made of nearly every fetish material out there. Most common are leather collars. Because the material is skin friendly and to a certain degree can absorb sweat it is best for long term wear. Rubber and neoprene lack this quality so wearing it for extended periods of time can lead to skin irritation, especially when wearing a collar out of stiff industrial rubber without deburred edges on bare skin. The last common material to mention here is metal. I have seen collars being made out of all different kinds of metal. However I would recommend only ones being made out of stainless steel or aluminum because even when exposed to sweat they do not rust. Other metals like cooper or steel oxidizes. Because a collar through constant movement experiences some physical stress corrosion prevention applied to steel like chrome or zinc wears off and the collar can rust again. Of cause noble metals like gold or platinum do not rust but you have to be quite the posh kinkster to afford such a collar. Metal collars come in form of chain, chainmail, rings or steel cable. When it comes to chain you can choose between welded and forged chain. Welded chain industrial made and thus cheaper and has a deburred weldseam. Depending on the quality the deburration is not as good as it should be so there is a potential for scratches when wearing a collar. So before wearing it check the seams of there are not rough edges.

More uncommon materials I have seen collars made out of are braided rope, jeans cloth, bike chain and tires.

Decorative Collars

Chain

Probably the most common form of the collars and thus comes in various styles (p.e. from Mr S or Regulation). All have in common that they are closed by a pad lock which is mostly worn up front. The most common pattern is the anchor chain which is made out of round links which either come in long or short versions and in various thicknesses. Even when using a small pad lock the link size is usually so large that this kind of collar can’t be worn discreetly under a shirt. Depending on the personal style the chain can be worn longer or tight around the neck. The advantage of this chain is that you can easily attach things to the collar using pad locks or carabiners. Depending on the pad lock quality you can grab and pull the sub on this collar.

Mr S Yellow Colors Aluminum Chainmail Collar

Mr S Yellow Colors Aluminum Chainmail Collar

Chainmail

Chainmail is a material where small metal rings are linked together to form a mesh-like surfaces. Collars out of this material are lighter and smaller and thus more discreet than chains. Of cause they are also more fragile and should not be pulled on. A nifty feature of the Mr S Aluminum ones is that they come in different colors so you can use them a bit as a hanky. If you can a bit more weighted feeling try out the stainless steel one.

Torquator Collar

Stylewise somewhere between a chain pattern and chainmail this collar was originally designed to restrain dogs. So this collar is popular by dog players especially of wild ones. When pulling onto this collar please be careful because serious injuries can be the result.

 

Cable Lock

Another discreet option is the cable lock collar from Recon. The collar itself is made out of coated steel but since there are no moving links the coating will probably will not rub off keeping the cable from rusting. The two endings are made out of stainless steel with colored rubber accents so again you can show your favorite kink. Unlike the chainmail collar this one is also closed with a lock which has a great psychologically effect. The lock and the collar are small and discreet enough to be worn under a dress shirt during work yet to frail to be pulled on.

Rope Collar

If a closed look is too much of a statement or you don’t like the idea of metal around your neck (after all a collar is all about the headspace), Mr S came up with a rope collar. It is made out of black braided rope and closed with a leather strap and a non-locking roller buckle. If you ask the guys at Mr S nicely the can probably make you this collar also in other colors

Tolan Collar

This is basically an ergonomically shaped ring of steel around the sub’s neck. It is nearly seamless and rather sleek so it can be worn under a business shirt without showing off or attracting attention. Since it is made out of stainless steel it will not rust.

Jougs

I am not sure if to put jougs into this category or the play category because wearing them for an extended period of time is definitely a punishment! Jougs or iron collars are made out of piece of steel, sometimes lined with leather for additional comfort. They are closed by padlocks, integrated locks or screws. Sometimes they come with d-rings welded onto them for added play possibilities. Sometimes following antic models they already have cuffs for the hands attached or even also feet welded with chains onto them. Another version are double rigid irons for the neck and the wrists for real stress bondage.

The Heaviest Parus Steel Collar Weighing 8.5kg

The Heaviest Parus Steel Collar Weighing 8.5kg

The most sever iron collars I know off are made by Parus in Munich. I already wrote a Christmas gift tip about them last year. They are really well made, almost seamless with the integrated lock and so heavy that with some models I would like to recommend consulting your doctor about disc problems before putting them on!

Regardless of what kind of iron collar you are getting when shopping for a joug please watch for deburred edges otherwise severe abrasions can happen!

Functional Collars

Bondage collar

Another quite common type of collars (p.e. from Mr S or Regulation). They basically are like a cuff style restraint just larger to fit around the neck. So very often you can get matching collars to your existing restraint set. Being made for play they come with d-rings to attach the sub to thing or restraint to the neck. Depending on the individual style some are locking which adds a sense of bondage. A pro tip: If you want to fetter a large boot, p.e. an MX boot, and your restraint set’s ankle cuffs are too small try out a collar. Most of the time they are large enough and will serve you well as a boot restraint.

Fetters Posture Collar

Fetters Posture Collar

Posture collar

A posture collar (look at Mr S or Regulation) is a more intense form of the bondage collar. It is quite wide and usually padded, sometimes it also has an anatomically formed chin rest. The effect of this design is that tilting of the head and nodding is getting extremely difficult locking the head in one place. Usually such a collar will also have d-rings and there are locking versions out there.

Chocking Collar

More a breathplay toy than just a simple collar please use this one with caution! This collar is basically a latigo leather belt that is closed by a rolling buckle tightly around the neck. On the other side of the belt is a small metal loop with a roller feature through which the belt exits. In that end a d-ring is added onto which a leash can be attached. If you pull on the leash the collar will tighten and chock the person wearing it.

Shock Collar

Shock collars were originally designed to train dogs. Onto a nylon collar a remote controllable box with two electrode pins is attached. Usually this kind of collars come with different intensity settings. I implore you to take advantage of these different settings and don’t start out too high! The shock boxes are designed to train even dogs which have thick fur and skin. On human skin they can leave burn marks or even damage the nerve system! There are fetish versions out there which are not so powerful but being a power bottom and pain pig myself I can see the temptations of “the real deal” especially when it comes to dog play. Yet still please be careful. Not sexual kink is worth losing your health permanently.

Fetters Wrist-to-Neck Restraints

Fetters Wrist-to-Neck Restraints

Wrist to neck Restraint

Not really just a collar but the leather version of an iron collar with attached restraints. It is a leather lined locking collar onto which two locking wrist restraints are riveted. These rivets allow for some movement around its axis but otherwise the head has to go where the hand wants to be. Especially with added bondage mitts this will leave the sub quite helpless.

Collars Accessories

Especially with the raise of pup and dog play in the last couple of years collar accessories have gained popularity. Most commonly dog tags are used either in their original purpose to mark the dog and write his name on it. But I have also seen a bouquet of different colored tags as hankies. Of cause a dog needs guidance and sometimes restraining so leather leashes become quite popular.

Preserving the Burning Fire – On Outgrowing and Passing on Toys

S&M stands for sexual magic

– Patrick Califia

Passing on toys and gear has a long tradition in the BDSM and fetish community. One of the reasons for that is the concept of energy transfer during a scene. What happens during play is more than just the exchange of mental or physical force between the top and the sub. An intense connection between them is formed that consists out of more than the sum of its parts (If you are curious about this more spiritual aspect of BDSM I recommend the works of Marc Thompson or Joeff Mains). For some people this connection is the origin of headspace, for some the sole reason they engage in BDSM and certainly an intense, overwhelming and mind-shattering experience when you experience it for the first time.

The First Restraints I have ever bought: The McHurt Ihsan Wrist, Ankle and Boots Cuff and Hand Suspension Restraints

The First Restraints I have ever bought: The McHurt Ihsan Wrist, Ankle and Boots Cuff and Hand Suspension Restraints

The concept of energy exchange also includes that some of the energy of the players stays in their gear and toys. For that reason some pieces of gear or toys are special and dear to perverts and not easily parted with. Most often floggers, boots or bar vests are considered to be special in that way. In my case three pairs of McHurt restraints are that way. They were among the first things I reviewed for this website and liked them a lot. It feels, they have been with me forever. But when I looked up the order date for writing this article I was stunned: I had only bought them in early December 2011. Not even half a decade felt like a life time. This illustrates really well what they mean to me. All the fun, experiments, surprising experiences and intense emotions are somewhat bound to them. Yet as I matured as a kinkster I outgrew them. While I still stand to my 3 ½ year old review and consider them a good pair of restraints to start out with I want more: More padding, more D-rings, more build quality, more features. So I choose the Fetters Padded Locking Wrist and Ankle Cuffs from Regulation to replace them.

This evaluation process happened with some toys over the last year. I looked at them and realized I haven’t been using them in a long time; saw no real play scenario for them anymore so I sold them to friends, to strangers, to anybody interested. These restraints were different. They not only represent for me the scenes I had in them but also my getting serious about BDSM: Committing to my longings, considerably investing money in this part of myself and somehow giving my desires a physical representation. Yet despite all these arguments I decided to pass them on. As soon as I would get the new ones the old ones would become an exhibition piece. Laying in my toy chest, reminding me of good times and fond memories. But like an instrument not being played anymore, they would be a dead accumulation of matter, slowly fading away, losing all the energy stored in them. So giving them away just by chance was no option! They are too special for me to see them disappear out of my life. Ultimately I decided to give them to a young pervert who is slowly exploring his desires, being just like me 4 ½ years ago willing to commit to his dreams and turn them into reality. So these special pieces will continue to live on in the BDSM scene until he outgrows them and hopefully then passes them on to someone special just like I did.

As important as these restraints are to me I am lucky that I am not parting completely from them: The set I ordered back then also included a pair of boot restraints, large enough to even fetter MX boots. A toy I have not seen elsewhere yet and thus I am keeping it: For memory sake, for current play, for future times when this mythical and mind-blowing bond between top and sub manifests again.

Hail thee who play

– Michael McClure

Bondage Hardware Special Part 6 –Emergency Kit

Easy to spot and handy enough to take to dungeon parties.

Easy to spot and handy enough to take to dungeon parties.

This article is the last part of the Bondage Hardware Special. In this text I will show you what I keep in the emergency kit that I usually take with me when I go out for play. It gives me a bit of confidence knowing that if something goes wrong I can properly deal with it. This confidence of cause requires some discipline so before each time I take this bag with me I check if everything is there in a decent amount and still good. If not, I replace it. Some items might sound strange to you or trivial because they are standard equipment of every play location. However if you ever had to wipe away blood in a play space where paper towels were scarce you don’t laugh about a tissue pack in an emergency kit.

The kit I have put together might not be perfect but it has proven itself in emergencies. If you feel I have forgotten something important please send me an e-mail.

Gloves

Gloves are the basis for every wound care. It prevents the wound from being infected with bacteria from your hand (if you put them on in a correct way) and protects you from possible infections. I have to admit that I don’t carry sterile one in my kit but use hand sanitizer on them before touching the injured person.

Band-aid & Adhesive Tape

Don’t really know what to write about band-aids. Should a no brainer and should be kept in a separate plastic bag to prevent it from possible contamination.

Gauze Bandage & Compresses

If a band-aid is not enough these are the right tools to staunch a wound. To some this might sound a bit overkill and I have to admit that I luckily never had to use mine. Yet I have seen suspension setups failing, tall people walking against arches and getting lacerations on their forehead. Again: Better be safe than sorry.

First Aid Blanket

Another better safe than sorry item. I can hardly think of a play induced injury that would require a first aid blanket but they are useful after a circulatory collapse or hypoglycemia.

Tissue

Tissues are quite versatile objects: You can use them as an impro compress, turn them into alcohol wipes or simple wipe away blood.

Disinfection

There are three different kinds of disinfection products in my bag. The most important one is my 90% alcohol solution. Some disinfection sprays have additives which make them a bit more effective but can cause skin irritations. Because of that I use alcohol to sanitize abrased skin like a flogged back or my toys after using them. If the wound is deeper or larger I use a wound spray which also disinfects and helps the wound heal. Yet the one I use stings even more than alcohol so I use it only in emergencies. The last disinfection product is sanitizing hand gel which can be incorporated into play p.e. messaging it into the skin area.

Ointment

There are a number of different ointments out there for different purposes, like panthenol for abrased skin or zinc oxide for treating burns. Because space in my bag is limited I chose a diaper rash ointment which is sold in travel size. With panthenol, zinc oxide, chamomile and marigold extract it is not as potent as a pure wound ointments yet I like it for its versatility. It is good enough for a first treatment, potent enough to (almost) restore worn nipple over night for another scene and soothes abused sphincter after a heavy fisting.

Horse Ointment

This product raises the most eye brows. Originally designed to help horses recover after races this gel has a lot of soothing, cooling and anti-bruise ingredients. Especially when you have damaged joints this ointment works wonder after stress bondage or kneeling! The smell is a bit hate it or love it but it magically restores mobility over night.

Emergency Hardware

Emergency Hardware

EMT Scissors, Emergency Knife, Belt Cutter & Multi Tool

Please read last week’s article why I consider these tools essential. I usually have at least a pair of EMT scissors in my play bag but in an emergency I don’t want to search but just quickly grab thus I keep an additional one in my bright red bag.

Flash light

Another eye brow raiser in my kit. I once attended a play party when there was a power failure and the dungeon went dark and through the following turmoil my sub started to panic. Undoing a sub in total darkness is no fun so I now carry a flash light with me. It comes in also handy when you look for keys, nipple clamps or other small stuff you tend to loose in a dark space.

Consolatury Candy for After Scene Care.

Consolatury Candy for After Scene Care.

Chocolate, Consolatory Cookies & Dextrose

While both candies are useful when you are playing with a person suffering from diabetes these are more aftercare items. A BDSM scene puts the body in a state of alertness and thus mobilizes emergency resources which is quite exhausting for the sub. While the endorphin level is high and this state continues you don’t feel how spent you are. In order to prevent a crash I give and take dextrose after a scene. The chocolate has the same effect but also has a bit of rewarding component. Maybe the top pushed you onto your edge and beyond and I have some of the fondest memories cuddling with my top after an intense scene happily munching my chocolate and cookies.

Cough & Iceland Moos

When you have incorporated gases into your breath play like poppers in the aftermath you lungs and airways could be irritated, phlegm and you can experience problems breathing. Strong cough drops help clear the airways and Iceland moos helps regenerate the irritated areas.

Condoms & Lube

Again as with the EMT scissors: The emergency kit is the place where I know that I definitely have a stash in case of a horniness emergency.

 

This was the last part of the Bondage Hardware Special. I hope you enjoyed it. If you have any suggestions or comments, please let me know.

Sticking to the theme there will be a special on Heavy Bondage toys soon.

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