Pleasure Panel Closure: Why The Pleasure Panel Sex Toy Reviews Project Closed
For the past 4 years I’ve hosted a popular community reviews project here at the Cara Sutra sex blog called the Pleasure Panel. Sadly, this project closed at the start of July this year. I wanted to write an official update to clarify that the Pleasure Panel project is officially closed, and no more sign-ups to it are being accepted.
You can still read all the Pleasure Panel sex toy reviews here
The Pleasure Panel began in summer 2015 because I was receiving far too many adult products to review on my own. I’d accepted guest reviews from other reviewers and sex toy bloggers, as well as from people in the Cara Sutra community (on the forums) for a while, but this was when third party reviews became an official project.
Each month adult product suppliers and retailers would send a batch of products for me to assign to members of the Pleasure Panel, and send them to those people for their honest reviews. I’d then publish the reviews with their photos of the product out of the box, here at the Cara Sutra sex blog. The reviews would include links to where readers could buy the product. The process took a huge amount of time and organisation –I had to source the products from manufacturers and shops, take outer box photos of all the products, edit those photos, put together a list of products and the relevant links, create the draft reviews, form the monthly ‘list’ which would be placed on the forum at a certain date and time, and then assign the products to volunteers as best I could. Then, the morning after each monthly ’round’, package up and post out all those products in suitably discreet and safe outer packaging.
Reviewers in the Pleasure Panel had other rewards as part of the project, as well as receiving sexy products to review that they may otherwise not have been able to get their hands on –because of either budget or simply not being known to the sex toy companies. As their amount of published reviews grew, they travelled up a ‘Leaderboard’. As various target amounts of published reviews were reached, reviewers would be allocated a certain reward, from a welcome pack at 3 reviews all the way up to sex toys and branded t-shirts and hoodies.
On the whole, this was an extremely fun project and a positive mission to be involved with and to head up. When it went well, it was brilliant; shops would supply a good amount of products each month, reviewers would be enthused about what would be available, then the volunteers would write up their great quality reviews and send them back to me within good time before the next month’s round.
Of course, things don’t always run smoothly, so there were occasionally times when I had only a small amount of review products to offer. Also, over time, I noticed that many reviewers were taking longer and longer to send their reviews back to me. These delays had a severe impact on sourcing more review products, as well as the project as a whole. Having to constantly chase up owing reviews was distressing and off-putting. The project was enough work as it was without not being able to trust that volunteers who had so eagerly requested review products would actually send back their reviews as promised.
In time I even restricted new sign-ups to the Pleasure Panel to $5+ Cara Sutra patrons only, hoping that the request for a small monthly donation towards my overheads in order to be a part of the project (postage and packaging cost me a fortune) would help weed out any who were just ‘in it for the freebies’.
The closure of the Pleasure Panel wasn’t solely down to the lack of review fulfilment by some members of the team, and I’d hate you to think that most of the team weren’t providing their reviews as there were still many trustworthy members who sent their reviews back on time each month. As well as the few who disappointed by their lack of commitment, the project was still taking up an awful lot of time each month to manage and maintain. I found that I had a rapidly decreasing amount of time to write the articles I wanted for my blog, to write for other clients and to properly fulfil my other admin duties. My work days were becoming swamped with Pleasure Panel demands, with everything else falling behind that.
Third party sex toy reviews weren’t ever meant to be the main focus of the Cara Sutra sex blog. I needed to refocus and get back on track. Over several months I pondered over the closure of the Pleasure Panel – it certainly wasn’t a spur of the moment decision. I decided my priorities, and set out the main aims of my blog and brand, and how I needed to go forward to achieve them. With a new sense of clarity it was clear that, as sad as it was, I had no choice but to close the Pleasure Panel.
With the closure of the Pleasure Panel, I’ve been able to readjust to work life primarily as a sex writer and sex blogger, enjoying the refreshed full focus on my own work and feeling much more calm and organised as I move forwards. The project closing also saw the end of new member sign-ups to the Cara Sutra site in general, which is why you won’t find a ‘sign up’ button on the site to be able to join the forums any more. In fact I have orphaned the link to the chat forums – they were only being used for the Pleasure Panel rounds in the end anyway, so there is no need for them anymore.
In time I may remove the forums/community area of my website completely as they become less relevant to the purpose of my site as a whole. Much of the discussion surrounding my blog posts and sex talk in general happens on social media, I find.
My Patreon page is still open for new supporters. Patreon was never opened simply to take donations towards the Pleasure Panel project; it’s a means through which readers can support my ongoing work via a monthly financial donation. Although the Pleasure Panel project has closed, it’s encouraging that my efforts towards my sex blog and associated works is still appreciated, as seen by the patrons who continue to pledge on a monthly basis.
I hope this post has gone some way to answering questions about why the Pleasure Panel project closed. I’d like to take this opportunity to say an enormous THANK YOU to all the fantastic sex toy reviewers who were a dream to work with and who supplied brilliant reviews, as well as to the sex toy brands and retailers who kindly provided products for the team to review.
If you’d like me to review your sex toys, bondage gear, lingerie or other adult products, I can definitely do that. Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange.
Click to read my latest sex toy reviews.