2014 was a fantastic year. It’s the year my family and I settled into a new home, very early in January. We left behind the personal bereavements and losses of 2013, and made a fresh start supporting each other and have felt strong and more bonded than ever. We’ve also just had the best Christmas we’ve ever had.
The happy looks set to continue through 2015, for which I feel very lucky. I try not to take anything for granted. Life has a way of changing so quickly; all we can do is work the hardest we can on our personal relationships, continue being honest with each other and working from honourable motives.
Although 2014 was a great year for my family and I personally, from a sex industry perspective there were some steps forward and some back, in my opinion. I wasn’t absolutely stunned by any new product, and there were some definite disappointments. Whether this is down to a slowing of progress in this area or my increasingly insatiable appetites in this regard I’m not entirely certain. Focus seemed to be centred on controlling sex toys wirelessly, whether from a Bluetooth or Wi-Fi app on smart phone or through an internet control panel. In 2015 it would of course be wonderful to see sex toy related technology progress, but I would be happy to see more carefully crafted sex toys in their own right too. New materials used, less prominent seams on vibrators and dildos, less toys requiring a wired controller (put the buttons on the toys! It’s 2015!) and less toys which still aren’t waterproof. There’s no reason to keep making wired controller or non-waterproof sex toys. You have the technology. Use it.
That grumble aside, I’d like to give you a short list of the sex toys of 2014 which made the most impact on me, both from memory and from a glance through my sex toy reviews of the year.
The two most surprising sex toys of 2014 for me personally were the Nalone electro-stimulation rabbit vibrator, and the Rhino penis extension sleeve by Traz. For different reasons.
I honestly thought I would absolutely hate the electro-stim rabbit vibe, but it was one of the most efficient vibrators for my personal physiology that I tried all year. I’m not much for electro stimulation usually but the light tingle of this rabbit really got me to the point of climax quickly, and without any exertion or frustration on my part. Impressed. It’s also waterproof but I haven’t plucked up enough courage to try it in water yet. Yeah, I’m a wuss.
In my review of the Rhino penis extension sleeve by Traz I mentioned that this wasn’t the sort of product I’d usually agree to trying out. Contrary to rumours I haven’t actually got my own penis, so I have to borrow Sable’s for testing purposes. All very serious and clinical, obvs. We thought the sleeve would come off during sex, be difficult to figure out or just be a fail in general, but we were wrong. It was simple to fit, effective in use and felt absolutely amazing during sex. if you want to turn him from man to monster, in the best way, the Rhino by Traz is the way to do it.
Sadly, I was disappointed by quite a few sex toys that I was sent to sample in 2014.
The Ann Summers metal and silicone rabbit was too small, not powerful enough, requires batteries and hurt my clit.
The LELO Ora gave me many hours of screamworthy frustration before I gave it up as a bad job. Back to the drawing board. Did absolutely nothing for me.
The TENGA Vibo finger ring vibe lacked power and only had one speed. Which wasn’t really any speed to speak of at all.
The wooden dildos – or rather vibrators – from Holzdildo are beautiful, no doubt about it. The vibrations are sadly muffled by the gorgeous outer wooden body though, and I would love to see them just as dildos rather than taking on the mighty task of being a thrilling vibrator too. Particularly using another brand’s bullet vibrators to attempt the job.
Lastly, the Bijoux Indiscrets 21 Diamond Vibrator promised a bang with its bling. It’s very pretty and comes in gorgeous packaging. It’s waterproof and rechargeable. It doesn’t give me an orgasm though, no matter how I hold it, which direction it’s facing or however long I stand up getting bored of the cold plastic shape buzzing between my thighs or getting frustrated with it under the duvet and wondering when I can ditch it off for my iGino or Doxy wand instead.
The major successes of my newly acquired sex toys in 2014 were the reworked Palm Power vibrator and the app controlled We Vibe 4+.
The brand new style of Palm Power vibe took the original Palm Power Wand and threw it laughingly out with the week’s rubbish. It’s a beast in size and power. It’s double ended so you get a choice of penetrative sizes and shapes, with an extra bulge for G-spot stim lovers. It’s waterproof and rechargeable. It’s silicone and smooth. It’s amazing and gorgeous. Crucially, it gives me an orgasm every time I use it, without fail.
When I was contacted about testing and reviewing the new We Vibe 4+ couples vibrator, I didn’t really know much about it. I’d filed it in my mind, wrongly, as simply another style of We Vibe – perhaps a different shape or some new functions. It was only when people started tweeting me to exclaim their excitement at the prospect of my review, a review of the brand new app controlled We Vibe, that I started to sit up and take notice. I can download an app? This app will control the We Vibe? The We Vibe vibrator that my partner and I share during sex? This I just had to see for myself. It worked and has carried on working very well. The We Vibe 4+ is understandably in the higher bracket of sex toy price ranges, but as a silicone, carefully designed, waterproof, rechargeable, app or remote controlled vibrator for couples it’s definitely an investment worth considering. The top vibration is powerful enough to use for solo play too.
Who could forget that job advert? Pleasure Pulse really danced into the spotlight and stayed there with their job advert seeking a ‘male sex toy tester’ at the end of July – great timing for National Orgasm Day too. Not only did Pulse score a marketing win with this job advert, they carried on their effective and attention-grabbing marketing campaign, advertising a ‘Call of Booty’ free sex toy offer to coincide with the launch of the new Call of Duty game in November.
Runner up in the marketing fails of 2014 has to be LELO with the awkward and elitist Pino, which claims to be exclusively for bankers. Whether this was tongue in cheek, self-mockery for the brand or a serious attempt to garner the attention and money of a more ‘high class’ customer, we are still all waiting to hear. The lack of any forthcoming explanation from LELO about this very strange product and linked advertisement simply helped cement the LELO Pino as a major marketing fail of the year, with most who saw the product and advertising deciding that LELO had become more elitist than ever before.
That wasn’t the worst, though. Not simply content with a marketing fail, Pipedream have to be the winner of simply the worst product to be conceived of last year. Possibly in all time. Taking inspiration from the terrible news of Jennifer Lawrence’s hacked nude photos and sexy selfies, Pipedream saw fit to release a J Law Hacked Sex Doll, mocking the entire issue, with no care for the real woman behind the inflatable, women’s thoughts or concerns in general, any kind of positivity relating to nude self-portraiture or anything remotely sex-positive. As if creating and marketing such a product wasn’t offensive enough, the J Law Hacked Sex Doll was sold with what has sadly become the norm for Pipedream’s description writing team, a write-up of the product so offensive you’d think it were a joke if not for the thousands of other offensive product descriptions on their site.
The official description:
“We’re not sure what came faster, news of J-Laws leaked selfies or the thousands of guys waiting for this day to finally come! She did the world a favor when her sexy selfies spread across the internet, and now Hollywood’s honey is getting naked for the money! If hacked cell phone pics weren’t enough to make J-Law our favorite new selfie slut, her brand new blowup doll is proof that this blockbuster babe is ready for primetime penetration! Just add air and this American hustler transforms into America’s hooker right before your eyes! There’s no silver lining to her 3 love holes, but if you add a little lube they feel great wrapping around every inch of your pleasure rod! Her cloud got hacked so you can get jacked!”
I’ve had to rewrite Pipedream’s product descriptions so many times that it wasn’t even a surprise to me to read how insulting this latest description was, although I was stunned to learn that they thought it a cool move to release this product in the first place. Shame on you, Pipedream. Don’t profit from slut-shaming, misogyny and such offensive, primitive attitudes. Remove the product from sale and apologise.
Finishing the year round up on a more positive note, I thoroughly enjoyed attending the sex/adult industry events in 2014.
The ETO Show was amazing as usual but even more so as I exhibited with The Cara Sutra Collection for the first time, since launching the collection officially at la Boudoir Boutique in February. I was also privileged to win the Best Erotic Journalist award for the second year running. Thank you to everyone who voted!
I thoroughly enjoyed opening the Boiler Room for La Boudoir Boutique in November as well.
Smut by the Sea and Smut in the City Manchester were exceptionally well organised by Kev and Victoria Blisse, who I count as very close friends in the industry and who always work tirelessly to support both erotic writers and offer budget friendly and valuable promotion to sex bloggers and adult product companies too. You can check out the main Smut UK hub here.
On a personal level I enjoyed a wonderful birthday & anniversary weekend with my man back in July, spending a couple of days acting as tourists in Lincoln, downing cocktails and dining on some delicious meals. I was lucky enough to spend another weekend just with Sable at the start of December, when we went to see Cats – starring Nicole Sherzinger – in London’s West End. He hadn’t been to the West End or even the theatre before so much of my joy came from seeing his reaction. I’m such a softy I was in happy tears from the first scene. Later on in the month he was to surprise me with another feline-based gift – my very own kitten who we’ve named Grizabella in honour of our theatre trip.
My 8 Resolutions for the New Year 2015
Looking ahead to the new year, I guess it’s time to make the most of a fresh start. I’m not much of one for keeping resolutions, I’m too rebellious. However I do have some personal aims that I would like to put into action, and some changes I’d like to make with a more positive personal and professional life in mind.
1. Dryathlon 2015
I hadn’t heard of Dryathlon before but as soon as I saw the TV advert, I knew I wanted to take part in this challenge. I’m not to drink any alcohol for the entire month of January, and there’s a Just Giving page set up here where you can support me in this challenge.
I’m trying to raise £500, and the money all goes to Cancer Research UK to help with their important work trying to combat this evil disease. This is a cause so close to my family’s heart and I don’t know many people out there who haven’t been affected in some way by the devastation that cancer can bring. Money is needed to support carers and nurses to those Big C battlers and survivors, as well as to carry on researching until a cure is found.
For the first time ever, as many people survive cancer as die from it, and this is a major step. Let’s work together to eradicate it completely – please support me in completing this challenge of Dryathlon 2015. I don’t care if you can only give £1, every bit helps. Thank you.
2. Be more positive
As a natural emo it’s difficult to be positive all the time, but I feel like I want to overlook posting negativity as much from 2015 and focus on spreading a more positive message. This includes not posting blog posts or social media updates when I’m moody, upset or simply being rash in posting. I realise this may curtail my social media updates dramatically -wink – but I am prepared to take that chance. I want to be a positive and happy person for people to follow, not someone who bitches all the time or moans so much that it gets depressing to read my updates. Hopefully I’ve not been too much like that in the past but I know one of my weaknesses is just telling it as I feel then looking back at negative posts with tinges of regret and guilt.
As part of my attempt to be more positive and spread the happy, I will try to share others’ posts more often too instead of concentrating mainly on my own messages and content. I would like to comment on others’ blog posts more often but this depends on my workload which often gets too hectic to be able to read as much as I’d really like to.
3. Don’t feed the trolls
Following on from being more positive in 2015, I will do my best not to react or respond to trolls, whether directly or indirectly. There’s no point and it only reflects badly on me for reacting to the negativity and letting it get to me and affect my personal message. Trolls will troll, there’s nothing to do but ignore it and get on with what I should be focussing on instead – a message of positivity, sensuality and enjoyment.
4. Write more
Yes – write even more! But instead of focussing on simply reviewing sex toys and bedroom products I want to write more personal sex blog posts, sex advice and opinion-based blog posts. Articles and updates that are more me, rather than fully or semi promotional in nature. No-one wants to read a billboard all the time!
5. Don’t do overtime
When you work from home it’s not easy to switch off from projects and tasks that need doing. I spent much of 2014 working past 5pm – working past 7pm, 8pm and even later in fact – and this took its toll on my health. The more I worked the more work I found to do, and after a small heart attack last year I really needed to wake up and realise that I can’t work 24/7. I need to break from work. I need time to rest, relax, refresh.
This resolution has been kick-started and asserted by not working the month of December 2014. Any posts you saw going live on this site were scheduled (it was a busy November). After a break for Christmas and the New Year I feel ready to jump back into the mix again and I have so many ideas that it’s proven to me just how inspired I can be when I have time to think. So – no working past 7pm in the week (I was to stay realistic) and no working weekends. This will hopefully give me enough time to recharge and refresh my creativity.
6. Have a positive self-image
I know I probably seem really confident online but when it comes to my body I’m not really that confident at all. I’m mid thirties and I’ve got two children. It’s just past Christmas and the scales now hate me, which usually leads to me hating me too. I shouldn’t value myself by the number on the scales nor by the number on my clothes size tags, but the truth of the matter is when I feel I look good, I feel better about myself. I’ve worked through plenty of issues in the past few years (ahem decades) relating to my thoughts about myself, whether external or character based and I know that I will never be able to simply not care about what I look like or whether I’m fat or thin. It might be society related, it might be things in my past, parent’s attitudes, prior relationships or just because I’m a vain cow. Or all of the above. In any case I will be working hard on myself physically (ooh-er) with a consciously healthy attitude towards diet and exercise instead of crash dieting or giving up.
With the above in mind I want to take part in more photographic memes or post more photos of myself – my body, not simply ‘neck-up’ pics – in 2015. This decision is scaring me quite a bit but I think in the end it will help me have an maintain a good self-image as well as provide motivation to carry on trying to improve myself as a person physically as well as in character and intellect.
7. Reward myself
2014 was another year of hard work and in reflection, I didn’t spend enough time rewarding myself for all that work and dedication. The reward for hard work was more hard work. Oh there were plenty of treats and I am a very spoiled lady, I know that much. But beyond receiving sparkly packages in the post, rewards that I enjoy the most are time with my family and partner. 2015 heralds the opportunity to spend more time working on my relationship with Sable, enjoying date nights together both in the house and out of it, and sex which doesn’t require me taking notes throughout and for an hour afterwards.
I want to watch more films snuggling my family not my laptop. I would like to have more friends over and spend time chatting to them in person, not merely on Twitter or via What’s App. If possible I’d also like to indulge in some more just-for-me time – not with a vibrator or the latest bondage restraints to review but having my hair or nails done, or a pamper session with a luxurious massage. Bliss.
8. Save money
Christmas 2014 was a bit of an impulse purchase, by all accounts. This year I’d love to put Christmas 2015 together by steadily buying well thought out presents through the year, not an obligatory spending spree from Halloween until Christmas Eve. With this in mind, I would also like to clear my credit card and catalogue debt before the Christmas season this year.
Hopefully these will be realised as achievable, realistic targets and aims for 2015 instead of the usual fantastical resolutions about posting every day, quitting junk food altogether, losing a set amount of weight or earning a certain salary figure. What are your general aims for 2015? Have you been inspired to try anything new this year or change your way of life in any way? Leave your comments below, I’ll be very happy to hear from you.
Wishing everyone a very Happy New Year 2015 – let’s make it the most successful (by which I mean the happiest) one yet.