Last month, I had the pleasure of interviewing pop star Lily Allen about her recent collaboration with luxe sex toy brand Womanizer for The Toronto Sun.
The result of this partnership is the Womanizer Liberty by Lily Allen – a small, lightweight edition of the classic Womanizer sex toy which uses patented and revolutionary Pleasure Air Technology designed to stimulate the sensitive nerve endings of the clitoris with gentle air waves.
Since the folks at Womanizer sent me my own Liberty by Lily Allen to try, I thought it was only fair that I test the wares and report back.
It goes without saying that there’s no shortage of options when it comes to the sheer variety of sex toys that are currently available for purchase.
The Liberty takes everything I love about Womanizer toys and wraps it up in a fun, accessible packaging. The Liberty model comes with a magnetic cap and six intensity levels, simple two-button operation and is feather-light, perfect for travel and discreet in handbags. Oh and those air waves. You simply have to place the toy above your clitoris and the Liberty will literally blow & suck you away to a quick, intense orgasm.
Made of body safe materials and fully rechargeable, the Liberty is also water resistant.
While the Liberty doesn’t have as many bells and whistles as some of their Womanizer Premium (which I also own and is fantastic), but in this case I don’t think that’s a bad thing. I love the Liberty because it’s so compact and unlike some of the other models, fits easily in your palm in a way that feels very ergonomic.
It also has incredibly simple and intuitive control buttons that are easy to find and use without having to stop what you’re doing & fumble around.
For these reasons, Liberty is a great entree into the Womanizer line and air pleasure toys in general.
The only thing I don’t love about the Liberty is the charging situation. As you can see from the diagram below the charging cord attaches magnetically to a port along the curved edge of the toy. You have to lay the toy *just so* in order to ensure the port connects and stays connected, which isn’t always possible when you’re the kind of person who likes to discretely hide their toys away while they’re charging.
I really wish WOW Tech (the parent company of Womanizer) would stop making toys like this. The toys are awesome, but the charging ports are way too finicky for my liking. With that being said, I still really like this toy because of it’s very travel friendly (the magnetic cap is something I didn’t even realize I needed in my life) and easy to use.
Have you tried the Liberty? What did you think?
The Womanizer Liberty is available at Lovehoney and retails for $99.99 USD. If you purchase any products through the affiliate links in this post, I may receive a small commission which I will use to buy Joe the Intern more shorts.
Through Skinny Dip I’ve been able to sort through my feelings about dating, relationships, my body and my sexuality. While I’ve mostly retired from reviewing sex toys and no longer feel the need to share so much about my current love life on this blog, I still thought it would be fun to look back and share some of the things I’ve learned about myself over the past nine years (oof) of blogging.
1. Explore and experiment to your heart’s content.
I thought I had a pretty good handle on my body and self-pleasure before I started this blog, but trying a bazillion different sex toys for the purpose of writing about them has definitely expanded that knowledge in positive ways. I can now look at the shape of a toy or feel it’s vibration patterns on my fingers and make a very good educated guess as to whether I’ll enjoy it (and while I’m occasionally still surprised, I’m usually right). The point here: don’t be afraid to experiment with different gadgets or props — even the really weird looking sex toys. Worst case scenario, you’ll learn more about what you do and don’t like.
2. If you don’t like something or it doesn’t work for you, that doesn’t mean you’re broken.
There are plenty of stores online that claim they sell the best sex machines but not all toys are created equal or are designed with every human body in mind. What’s mind blowing for one person, is going to be a flop for someone else. For example, I’ve learned through trial and error that wand vibes like the ever popular Hitachi Magic Wand, just don’t work for me AT ALL. I’d much rather use something small and precise like the Crave Duet (a vibe that another blogger hailed as a flop). Long story short: not everything is going to work for everyone and that’s okay. Life would be kind of boring if everyone got off in the exactly same way. Keep trying stuff until you find what works for you.
3. You’re not required to define your sexuality for other people.
When I decided last spring to finally explore my bi-sexuality, I felt pressure to define my sexuality for other people. I thought it would be easier to explain myself and fit in with the queer community if I gave myself a label (queer, bi, hetero-flexible etc) — and I wasn’t totally wrong about the first one. People like clearly defined labels because they’re easier to digest. However, like Justin Bobby from The Hills, “I’m just not into labels” — at least when it comes to my sexuality. It wasn’t until I was on my first really great date with a woman and my date told me, “no one in the gay community is going to force you to define yourself,” that I felt comfortable just letting things be. The truest thing I can say about my sexuality is that I am a woman who mostly dates and loves men, but sometimes has romantic and sexual feelings for women.
4. You know yourself better than anyone else and it’s okay to like what you like, however kinky or vanilla that may be.
I’ve written about the ridiculous assumptions people have about me because I write about sex. For example, that I must be super kinky and/or sleep with evvvvveryone (I mean, really guys?) Nine years in and I’m really tired of having to explain on a weekly basis that I don’t have my very own sex dungeon (however, I’d kill for some more shoe storage space). While writing about sex has definitely opened my mind to new things and encouraged me to explore my sexuality, it’s also helped reconfirm what I’ve known to be true about myself all along: that I can enjoy different kinds of sexual experiences, but the kind I crave most isn’t necessarily very kinky. I want sex that is super passionate, but also includes a great mind-body/emotional connection. This isn’t always easy to find, which is part of the reason I don’t have as much sex as people probably think I do. Like #3, I also used to feel the need to explain this to people, until I realized that it’s no one’s business but my own.
5. Stay open.
Not only am I more open-minded when it comes to my own desires, writing about sex has given me a greater appreciation for the diversity of human sexuality. While I know myself a lot better than I did nine years ago and I still have some “hard passes” when it comes to dating and sex, I’m also open to those beliefs and desires changing. Sexuality isn’t static. It’s okay to evolve and change over time. In other words, know yourself but never say never.
In January, I spent four days at the notorious clothing-optional sex resort, Hedonism ii in Negril, Jamaica. Having recently visited topless optional resort, Temptation Cancun this past October, I thought I was prepared for my time at a swingers resort in Jamaica. I mean, how different could the two resorts be? Naked bodies? Check. Lots of sun & booze? Check. But really, nothing could have fully prepared me for Hedonism Jamaica.
I wrote about my experiences at the nudist sex resort recently in the Toronto Sun, but I thought it would be helpful to provide a few tips on what it’s like to go this clothing-optional resort.
1. You don’t have to be naked all the time.
You can wear clothes if you want! The resort is clothing optional and is divided into two separate areas — the “nude side” (where no clothes are allowed) and the “prude side” (where clothing is optional). You’re required to wear clothing in the public dining areas, however what counts as clothing at Hedo (as the regulars call it) is vague at best. It’s not uncommon to see people in see-through garments, fetish costumes or lingerie, just casually grabbing something from the dinner buffet. The longer you’re at the resort (and the more rum punch you consume), the less of a big deal this becomes.
2. But you will see a lot of naked people.
Even if you stick to the clothing-optional “prude” areas, you will still see a lot of naked bodies of literally every imaginable age, shape, size and gender. You will see nude dudes. You will see nude girls. JUST. SO. MANY. NAKED. BODIES. As I texted my friend on my first day at Hedonism ii, “it’s only 11am and I’ve already seen way more foreskin than is humanly necessary.” A few days in, you’ll get so used to the nudity that you’ll almost stop noticing it. Almost.
3. It’s swinger friendly.
It’s not officially a swingers resort. It’s also not officially a nudist resort. However, it’s definitely nudist and swinger and/or lifestyle friendly. I visited the adult’s only resort on a press trip in January during “Lifestyle Takeover Month,” so it was mostly couples (350 swingers + 5 female journalists. What could possibly wrong?) and the crowd was mostly aged 40+. Similar to my other adult only resort experience, in general the guests were older. I met lots of people in their 50’s, 60’s and older — and yes, they were naked. In general though, if you’re looking to play with another couple or individual(s), you’ll probably find some like-minded folks there.
4. You will see people having sex in public.
My first full day at the resort I walked out of my room, looked up and noticed my neighbors having sex on their balcony. They were eerily silent and all that could be heard from below was the sound of flesh slapping flesh. Lack of sound aside, public sex is the norm here and don’t have to go far to see it — especially on the nude side of the resort. Which brings me to my next point…
5. You will see things that can’t be unseen.
In the words of SNL’s Stefan, “this resort has everything!” Elderly men in thongs. Multiple women fellating one man in the Jacuzzi. People eating chicken naked. Strippers. Orgies. A stage show that involves melted soft-serve ice cream (I think/hope). Awkward naked crouching. SO. MANY. PENISES. It’s all here folks.
Want to have sex in public but don’t want the awkward chafing of the pool deck? Head to the Romping Shop Playroom. It’s basically a room filled with mattresses and writhing bodies. There’s also a bondage and kink area in an adjacent room. File this under: things that can’t be unseen.
7. There’s a culture of consent.
The goal of the resort is to provide a safe place, so there’s a strict ask before you touch policy. Anyone who is caught acting out of line and/or making people feel uncomfortable will be removed from the property by the staff. So, if you see something, say something.
8. The gift shop carries everything you need…and also a few items that you can’t imagine ever wanting or needing.
Like a penis shaped lighter that’s also a vibrator, a very confusing children’s book OR other items.
9. Going with a partner? Discuss boundaries first.
All the guests I spoke to said the same thing: if you’re coming as a couple, you need to discuss boundaries before you get on the plane, so when you arrive you’re both on the same page. As Rick and Margaret — the couple I interviewed for my Toronto Sun piece — told me, “in order to have a good time at Hedonism, you need to trust one and other and be secure in your relationship. Come to the resort because you want to enhance your relationship, not because you’re trying to fix it.”
10. The resort isn’t fancy.
If you’re looking for a high-end luxury resort, Hedonism is probably not for you. The resort is a bit older and has a laid-back, lived in vibe. Guests come for the sex-filled, anything-goes atmosphere and the unorthodox “perks” (see above).
11. Bring your own shampoo.
My bathroom had hand-soap and a full-sized tube of ‘hair and body wash’ but no shampoo, conditioner or body lotion. If you need these items, I suggest bringing your own.
12. There’s an all you can eat soft serve ice cream station in the main dining room that’s open all night.
Need I say more? This was literally one of my favorite aspects of my stay.
13. The beach grill is your best bet for lunch.
Although the buffet is open for lunch, I ate at the beach grill which serves Jamaican and American comfort food (grilled cheese, fries, jerk chicken etc). Having lived in Toronto for 12 years, I’m picky when it comes to my Jamaican food. A guest favorite, the jerk chicken didn’t wow me, but I loved the curried goat and ribs — washed down with a Pina Colada of course.
Sure, you may have to wait for a table but it’s worth it. Harrysan’s Jamaican twist on Japanese Teppenyaki & sushi was my favourite meal at the resort. My advice: if you like fish, try the freshly grilled catch of the day. The fish is so fresh, it melts in your mouth.
15. Don’t wear your best shoes.
Planning to bring your favourite pair of shoes? Just don’t. Between impromptu tropical rainstorms, slippery pool decks and errant spills of all kinds, things have a way of getting messy at all inclusive resorts. I learned this the hard way when I threw up all over my brand new $475 Stuart Weitzman gladiator heels after my first and last Flaming Bob Marley shot.
16. If someone offers you a Bob Marley shot, just say no.
Made with Grenadine, Galliano, Creme de Menthe, Overproof rum and lit on fire, the Bob Marley shot is both fruity and minty, making you feel like you just drank a large glass of Koolaid and mouthwash at the same time. There’s no way drinking this can end well (see above re: shoes).
17. The spa is one of the nicest areas of the hotel.
I don’t know what this says about me as a sex writer, but my favorite part of adult themed resorts is always the spa. The spa at Hedonism is newly renovated with high ceilings and an assortment of natural, locally made products for sale. It’s the perfect space to retreat to for a massage if you need a break from the party.
18. If you want to eat chicken late at night, you’re going to have to strip down.
There are two beach grills. The one that is open all night is located adjacent to the nude pool. If you want to sit and eat there, you can’t wear clothes. This is either the best thing or the worst thing ever, depending on who you ask.
19. Seems quiet? The party is probably happening at the nude pool.
One of the most disconcerting things about Hedonism is how quiet it seems during the day. On the days I was there, the “prude” areas of the resort felt almost deserted. As I discovered, that’s because the party is mostly happening on the nude side of the resort, with the pool being the nucleus of the debauchery. If you set foot there, be prepared to see more things that can’t be unseen (i.e. public sex).
20. All bodies are beach bodies.
Real talk: Hedonism II is not for everyone. There’s nudity. There’s sex. But there’s also a lot of acceptance. Similar to my experience at Temptation, I left the resort with a greater appreciation for my own body (flaws and all) and one massive hangover.
To sum up, Hedonism ii is either going to be your ultimate fantasy or your worst nightmare. You may end up loving it and becoming a regular (I met a lot of couples that have been coming there for 15+ years!) or you may end up wanting to burn your clothes by the end of your stay (or somewhere in between). It all depends on who you are and what you’re looking for in a vacation. All I can say is that Hedonism ii is definitely not for the faint of heart.
You saw that sparkling picture on Instagram. Your friend came back from her trip and raved about the food, the margaritas, and those postcard-stunning views. You’ve dreamed of traveling there since you were a kid but… That particular destination involves wearing a bikini? IN PUBLIC? And shorts? And see-through caftans? And sleeveless everything? Uh, hard pass.
How many times have you considered a weekend road trip, an afternoon hike, or a red eye flight to an exotic location, but you didn’t book it because of how your body looks?
The internet is full of heartbreaking statistics about how many women think “I hate my body” at least once a day. And as much of a bummer as that internal monologue is all on its own, it leads to more sad statistics that say that women are more likely to cancel plans, skip out on job interviews, and avoid travel and outdoor activities, all because of how we feel about our bodies.
I’ve written about how my feelings about my body have changed and evolved since entering my thirties. While I’d like to say that this is just a natural consequence of aging, I know it’s more than that. After I turned 30, something called Instagram happened and I feel like it changed everything. I’ve always had a pretty healthy, secure, relationship with my body, but even I sometimes feel “less than” compared to the plethora of perfectly tanned, buff, influencers that can be found posing in exotic locations with Rapunzel like locks and washboard abs. While I try and disengage from media that makes me feel bad, when I was researching my recent trips to Mexico and Jamaica, I found myself scrolling through these kinds of photos and wondering if I was fit enough/cool enough to visit these locations.
(SPOILER ALERT: we’re ALL hot enough/cool enough do anything we want.)
I can’t be the only person who feels this way, so I reached out to my friend Annika Martins, who’s a Body & Visibility Coach for women entrepreneurs (and also travels 4-8 months a year), and asked her to chime in. Over to her…
** Hey, Skinny Dip hunnies! Annika here. Simone and Joe the Intern are my favorite taco-noshin’ crew, so I’m thrilled to give some love to their community.
Here are 5 tips on how you can travel NOW, instead of waiting until your body changes to feel good about yourself (hint: that never works):
Start small and low-key.
Even though I grew up on a Caribbean island, I was so ashamed of my bigger body that I avoided the beach like the plague (despite craving the ocean daily). As an adult, I worked hard at finding true confidence in a swimsuit, and one of the things that helped was starting off gently, with secluded local spots and then quieter, low-traffic travel destinations.
Go during the low-season. Stay at a more mellow resort or an even more private AirBnb.
Those first few times wearing a swimsuit or shorts in public were a BIG deal, so instead of adding to my anxiety by strutting onto a crowded beach, I started somewhere small and low-key. This gave me the mental space to get comfortable with something that had previously been terrifying, and it allowed me to remember the real reason I wanted to wear the swimsuit in the first place: the water on my skin, the sun on my face, the wind in my hair, and that powdery soft sand between my toes.
Get your mind right BEFOREHAND.
How we feel about our bodies has very little to do with our actual bodies – it’s entirely about what we think of our bodies, so doing some inner work before your trip is key.
Empowering affirmations. Mantras that soothe. Take a non-permanent marker or post-it notes to write encouraging words on your hotel room bathroom mirror.
Most important of all: Prepare a mini-script of things you want to tell yourself if / when you start to feel insecure or panicky. Trying to uplift yourself when you’re overwhelmed and anxious becomes so much easier if you’ve prepared a few bullet points beforehand so you’re not scrambling to come up with healthy self-talk on the spot.
DON’T GO (yet).
There’s a time for pushing beyond our comfort zone and there’s a time for acknowledging that we’re forcing something that truly doesn’t feel right yet (and that’s a guaranteed way to have a crappy travel experience), so if a trip feels entirely out of the cards right now, ask yourself this:
What’s the best & closest possibility?
Instead of getting on the plane or booking that camel trek right this second, how can you experience a small piece of that travel adventure NOW?
Is it having dinner at an Indian restaurant that brings out belly dancers after dessert? Or scrolling through Pinterest pics of your dream destination and visualizing yourself there? Or maybe it’s going to a local pool when no one’s there, or a secluded park to ‘practice’ wearing your vacation-wear?
Choose the best and closest possibility, and then another, and another, until you’re ready to plunk down your passport for the adventure of a lifetime!
Annika Martins runs The Embody Collective – a body image & visibility program for women who want to show up more fully in their body, professional life, relationships, everything. Find her on Instagram or check out her Embody program here.
This post was brought to you by ChooseMattress.com. Thanks for supporting the posts that support Skinny Dip.
I found a sex related topic I haven’t written about yet: mattresses! I never considered the impact mattress comfort had on my sex life until I moved in with my ex-partner. I went from sleeping on a reasonably comfortable spring mattress to spending my nights atop of an Ikea foam mattress that I’m pretty sure was designed by Satan himself. Every morning I’d wake up with a sore back and achy muscles. I have a back injury and when my back doesn’t feel good, my libido suffers. When we finally made the switch and invested in a super comfy mattress, it had a positive impact on our sex life. (It’s amazing how much sexier you feel when you’re no longer living in a real-life version of the sofa bed episode of Seinfeld.)
So, without further adieu, here are a few pointers on how to choose the right mattress so your sex life never has to suffer.
When choosing a mattress for sex, comfort is one of the things you don’t want to mess around with. Anyone who’s ever had the unfortunate experience of having sex on a futon only to wake up the next day feeling like their body was put through a trash compactor, knows exactly what I’m talking about. The last thing you want is to strain your body while making love (this is especially true if you already have an injury like I do.) Some mattresses will strain your knees, buttocks, or hands, and other areas of your body that offer support during sex. When these are strained, you will get tired out more quickly and may even wake up to body pain. Look for a mattress that’s comfortable and supportive so that sex can be as pleasurable as possible — something that’s more difficult to achieve when you’re worried about your mattress giving you shin splints.
While most people have differing preferences when it comes to noise during sex, I think most of us can agree that there’s nothing sexy about a creaky, squeaky mattress. This is especially true if you live with other people and want to keep things, um, discreet. Instead, aim to create an environment that allows you to focus on your partner with minimal distractions. By providing comfort and discretion, a quiet mattress will help increase performance and pleasure for both of you.
To maintain rhythm and endurance you’ll want to make sure your mattress offers sufficient bounce. A rigid base may not offer this. When you don’t have enough bounce, your partner will feel like they’re being pressed into the mattress — and not in a good way. So, make sure you find a mattress with sufficient bounce for maximum pleasure.
When choosing a mattress to bolster your sex life, you also need to think about edge support — the encasement around the frame that spring mattresses require to support the springs. A good mattress will offer sufficient edge support to ensure safety and comfort, and will be designed to accommodate weight and pressure, without collapsing (I’m not sure what that would look like, but it doesn’t sound fun). Instead of worrying about stuff, a good mattress allows you to focus on what’s important: great sleep and satisfaction from sex.
So, there you have it. If you’re shopping for a mattress with sex in mind, these tips should help. Think about it: the average person sleeps for one third of their life (if you sleep approx 8 hours a night and live for 75 years, that’s 25 years or 9,125 days that you spend asleep). You owe it to yourself to create the perfect refuge and playground for you and your partner(s) with a good mattress.