Introducing the Afterglow – The World’s First Laser Vibrator

One of the super awesome perks of being a sex and relationship blogger is that I get to try things that I never would have had a chance to otherwise. On this list is The Afterglow – the world’s very first laser vibrator. Yes, you read that right.

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The Afterglow is the world’s first sex toy with light technology a.k.a pulsed infrared rays.  The toy was developed by Dr. Ralph Zipper – a urologist based in Florida. Zipper has been using the same light technology as a therapeutic way to treat women with pelvic pain and overactive bladder disease. However, during the clinical trials an interesting side effect occurred: subjects saw improvements in their sexual responses. Women reported everything from sensations of arousal, to improved orgasms to having orgasms for the first time. 

It makes sense – the low level laser targets blood flow to the genitals, which in turn boosts arousal and leads to mind-blowing orgasms. If you’re interested in reading more about the science behind the Afterglow you can here.

Armed with this knowledge and 30,000 worth of technology, Dr. Ralph Zipper got to work. Three years later, the Afterglow was born.

homeafterglowThe concept of the Afterglow vibrator is actually kind of similar to what Viagra does for men — but with a sexy twist. Our bodies produce a chemical called cyclic guanosine monophosphate, or cGMP, which causes muscles around the blood vessels to relax. When this occurs, more blood flows into our genitals, and we feel more aroused. Viagra works by preventing the breakdown of cGMP – think of it like a bath tub plug that blocks the water from seeping out . However, the pulsed, infrared light used in the Afterglow actually increases the production of cGMP – a process that is similar to turning a tap on full throttle (yippee!)

Light therapy is also known to restore tissue, decrease inflammation, and ward off bacterial infections — in other words it’s kind of like giving your vagina a spa weekend at Canyon Ranch. Add to that the fact that the Afterglow promises killer orgasms and I couldn’t wait to try it.

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The Afterglow is a rabbit style vibrator designed for both external and internal stimulation. It’s made of silky soft, medical grade silicone. It’s about 9 inches in length total, however only about 4 inches of that is insertable. As you can tell from the photo below with Joe the Intern, the Afterglow is similar to my beloved Lelo Ina 1.0 in shape, but with slightly different proportions. The Afterglow is fully rechargeable through USB cord, however it is not waterproof.

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Along with a charger, dust-bag and instruction manual, it comes encased in a gorgeous white leatherette box that’s lined with velvet and can be locked with a key. It’s perfect for someone who maybe has kids and wants to keep their toy on lock-down. However, for someone like me who has a bunch of toys the padlocked box seems a bit excessive. It’s beautiful but it’s also quite large and bulky – not ideal for someone like me who stores all of their toys discretely in a cabinet.

(FYI, my Mom accidentally mistook the packaging as a “new jewellery box,” only to open it and burst out screaming. True story.)

But wait, there’s more!

Because Toys For Men Deserve Some Love Too

When it comes to reviewing sex toys for the awesome companies that I work with, they’ll often ask me for suggestions on what I’m interested in reviewing. Often this happens weeks or months in advance, before the actual toy arrives. For a long time I’ve been interested in reviewing (or I should say, having someone else review) some male sex toys on Skinny Dip. Male sex toys like The Fleshlight have always intrigued me (How do they work? What do they feel like? What’s it like having sex with a robot-vagina? Which ones are the best?) however being that I have a vagina, it’s impossible for me to try them out. What’s a cis lady on the search for the best fake pussy to do? To make a long story short – not so long ago, California Exotics sent me the Apollo Power Stroker to review on the blog.

0849-10-3nThe Apollo Power Stroker is a vibrating male masturbator lined with stimulating waves and nodules for what is designed to be orgasmic bliss. The toy allows you to caress the head and shaft  of the penis with your choice of 30 vibrating speeds and patterns and enjoy hands-fee fun thanks to its suction cup feature. Measuring approximately 8.5 inches total length with 3.5 inches in internal length, the Apollo Power Stroker is made of skin safe rubber and is phthalate free.

When I originally suggested the toy I was dating someone who would have been able to test the toy for me, but alas my relationship status changed, leaving me with one Apollo Power Stroker and no testing penis in sight. File this under #SexBloggerProblems. Luckily though, when I shared my sex blogging woes with one of my good friends, she volunteered her boyfriend as my “stunt penis.”

I passed the toy onto them to enjoy and sent over a series of questions about the Apollo Power Stroker experience. You can read her boyfriend’s feedback below –

How to you use this product? (Does it vibrate? Does it pulsate? How does it work? Walk me through it!

“This thing is battery operated and vibrates with 30 settings. you have to put some lube on your penis and then stick the power stroker on the end. it only goes a few inches deep. turn it on and move it up and down slightly. the lube creates a sucking effect and vibrations add a little extra sensation. It also comes with an suction cup attachment so that you could use it hands free against a wall or whatever.”

What does it feel like? (Good? Bad? Weird? Somewhere in between?)

“At first it didn’t seem to do too much for me with just the vibrations. the sucking effect is what actually makes this thing work. it feels good, but you’d have to already be aroused for it to do any good. Works best with porn.”

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Things You’ll Learn About Love & Sex at 33

When it comes to love and sex, being 33 is both totally weird and awesome.

On one hand, your hormones are raging and you want to have as much sex as possible. However, after a decade of bad decisions in your 20′s you’re now way more selective about who you sleep with…well, sort of. Most days you want to have sex with everyone and no one all at all the same time.

You’ll tell yourself that marriage isn’t really on your mind, but that it would be nice to meet someone that you could actually settle down with. However, some days you’ll catch yourself saying stuff like,  “At this point I don’t even care about finding ONE, I’d be happy to meet someone who is nice and reasonably normal that I can have regular, good, sex with.”

(gorgeous photo found via Keiko Lynn)

Your Pinterest account reveals your true feelings though. Amongst boards devoted to home decor, lingerie and whimsical vintage imagery, lurks one called “Creepy Imaginary Wedding” where you pin to your hearts content all things nuptial related. For someone who is always saying she isn’t even sure whether she believes in marriage, you sure do know what you want. (FYI, you’re thinking a classic, old school Hollywood vibe, bright fuchsia flower arrangments, a modern multi-cultural menu, somewhere like the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs. It will be hip and quirky, but still very classic and you’ll wear something Reem Accra or Elie Saab -ish obviously. Your groom will look elegant and handsome and won’t be wearing wrap-around sunglasses)

You spend more time than you’d like to admit wondering what your future dates will find more off-putting: The Creepy Imaginary Wedding, your professional relationship with Joe the Intern or the fact that you write about your vagina on the internet. You decide to stop worrying about it and instead just own it. After all, someone who doesn’t accept you for who you really are isn’t worth your time.

You’ll have good sex, “Okay-ish” sex and sex that is so bad it’s comical. More often than not you’ll have sex with yourself. You’ll come to the conclusion that you can go without sex for a long time, however going without an orgasm is another story. Your collection of sex toys will grow exponentially to the point where you start to run into storage issues.

When you get the urge for actual human contact, you’ll date people.

You’ll meet a 40-something single dad, whom your attraction to defies logic. However, when you go to have sex, you’ll be reminded that some people will use ridiculous excuses to get out of using condoms. He’ll insist that instead of using a condom, you should “just trust him.” This will also remind you of something you learned in your 20’s: that anyone who uses the line “just trust me!” should absolutely not be trusted. Later you watch an episode of Portlandia and determine that this guy must liken himself to be some sort of “pull out king” – albeit, a rather unsuccessful one: he has three kids.

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On Sex, Videos and Blurred Lines

One of the most challenging parts of being a blogger and writer is keeping up with the ridiculously fast pace of the news cycle. Thanks to the internet, stories spread faster than wild fire. If you don’t jump on a story right away, you can guarantee that someone else will write it. Life as a writer is busy. I always put my clients first, so often I’ll come across things in pop culture or the news that I want to write about, however by the time I have the space in my schedule to cover it on Skinny Dip, the moment has passed and it no longer feels relevant. This is exactly what happened when Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines video was released last Spring.

A year later, the video still makes me throw up in my mouth every time I see it. However, I’ve been patiently waiting for Robin Thicke to show up in the headlines again so I can write about it without seeming completely late to the party. Lucky for me, that opportunity has arrived! Last week Thicke was the target on an online petition to have him removed as one of the performers at this year’s Juno Awards (The Canadian equivalent of The Grammy’s) Shortly thereafter, Thicke conveniently backed out of the Juno performance “to rest his voice.” 

For those of you who have been living in a yurt in Antarctica and/or cut off from civilization for the past year, Thicke  has been the target of widespread criticism because of the song’s lyrics and video which promote misogyny, rape culture and the degradation of women. The lyrics of the song suggest that there are “blurred lines” when it comes to sexual consent with it’s repeated refrains of “I know you want it.”  The song’s four-minute video, an unrated version of which has racked up more than 31 million views on YouTube, features topless women dancing around Thicke, Pharell Williams and rapper T.I. However, when it comes to inducing vomit, the piece de resistance is the mylar balloons that spell out “Robin Thicke has a big dick” near the end of the video.

To make matters more disturbing, Thicke has responded to the video’s backlash by saying the song is “a feminist movement within itself.” Clearly, someone needs to school Robin Thicke on the definition of feminism. Thicke told GQ,“We tried to do everything that was taboo. Bestiality, drug injections, and everything that is completely derogatory towards women.” He later noted, “What a pleasure it is to degrade a woman. I’ve never gotten to do that before.” I find that hard to believe.

From Macleans to Jezebel to Vice, pretty much everyone has weighed in on the Blurred Lines situation. So, I’m not sure what I can add to the argument that hasn’t already been said and said very well. The video is gross and creepy. The lyrics are undeniably misogynist and “rapey.” And the whole thing just makes me want to slap the smug grin right off Thicke’s stubbled face. However, the video is merely a drop in the hat when it comes to the shift that’s taken place over the past 15 years in regards to the sexual politics of music videos.

When I think back to the music videos that I remember from when I was a teenager in the early to mid-90’s, things were different. Salt-n-Pepa suggested “let’s talk about sex.” TLC sang about “giving you the red light special” while in baggy pants adorned with condoms. Madonna discussed sexual expression, homosexuality, AIDS and asked us “Would this sound better if I was a man? Would you like better if I was?” all while proclaiming to be nobody’s bitch in the song Human Nature. Even the less mainstream R&B artists I was really into – like Adina Howard and girl group Nuttin’ Nyce – had songs that were really sexually explicit but in a way that was fun and empowering. With the exception of maybe Madonna, these women managed to do all of this while wearing what now seems like a shocking amount of clothing. Between the ample eye candy and groups like Jodeci literally ripping their shirts off on stage, if there was skin to be shown, a lot of it was male.

Don’t believe me? My inner anthropologist couldn’t resist digging up some evidence. Behold exhibit A, B, and C taken from some of my favourite songs & videos from the 1990’s.

1) One of my favourite girl groups of all time: TLC. It took me far too long to realize that it wasn’t a fried egg attached to Left Eye’s shirt, but a yellow condom. Now I think it’s cool. 2) From Salt-n-Pepa’s “Whatta Man” video – a fun, ear-worm of a song that extolled the virtues of being in the company of a good man (& provided equally nice visuals) Once upon a a time, men were shirtless in videos too. 3) From Nuttin’ Nyce’s “Froggystyle” video which features a man in a doggy collar, surrounded by a bunch of women wearing actual jackets and shirts – imagery I doubt you’d see in a music video from 2014. 

Although I don’t watch that many music videos these days, when I do, I feel like the dynamics have completely flipped over to the other extreme. Today’s videos have swapped “sexuality” for “sexy.” Miley Cyrus sings about heartbreak while nearly naked. Lady Gaga (whom I actually kind of adore) sings bubblegum pop while in get-ups that would be better at home in a futuristic Siouxie and the Banshees video. Rihanna sings about “strip clubs and dollar bills”, while women expertly twerk and spin on poles in the background. The words and images often don’t connect, resulting in a kind of cognitive dissonance. When it comes to sex and music, we’re saying less but showing a whole hell of a lot more.

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Introducing the Skinny Dip Condom & Lube Sampler by Lucky Bloke

It’s funny – I never woke up one day and said, “Someday I will have my face on a box of condoms!” but low and behold, it’s happened anyways.

I know from experience that finding condoms and lubes that actually work for you can be a challenge. I also know that having access to really awesome, body-safe products can make you feel even more empowered & sexy in the bedroom. That’s why I am RIDICULOUSLY EXCITED to partner with one of my favourite companies, Lucky Bloke, to bring you the limited edition Skinny Dip “Her Pleasure” lube and condom sampler. Curious to know what products I like to use in the bedroom? Now you can find out!

Remember those awesome Strawberry Flavoured condoms (aka the “Skinny Dip Condoms“) I was raving about last year?! Well, the sampler kit includes those (because they’re amazing) plus 10 of my other favourite condoms and lubes.

Inside each package you’ll get:

A selection of some of my favourite condoms like GLYDE Strawberry (2), ONE Bubblegum, ONE Tantric Pleasures, Okamoto 004Tryst Feel Me (quite possibly the sexiest condom wrapper ever) Plus you’ll also receive a bunch of my favourite lubes for your pleasure:  Blossoms Organics (one of my favourite lubes ever!), Good Clean Love, Sliquid “Sassy“, Sweet Cherry (flavoured!) & a packet of the very sexy überlube. You’ll also find a package of Swipes unscented wipes for ahem, easy clean-up.

Not to mention, you’ll also get a nice note of encouragement from yours truly –

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If you’ve never tried lube or haven’t found one you absolutely LOVE, this sampler is a great place to start. Same goes for the condoms – this sampler pack includes some of my tried and tested favourites (I’ve had several penises report back that they love the Glyde Strawberry condoms – just saying.)

The Skinny Dip “Her Pleasure” condom and lube sampler is part of a series featuring a handful of other awesome, sexy bloggers and sex ed superstars like Lady Cheeky, Redhead Bedhead and Charlie Glickman. I’m really honoured to be in such good company and love all the other samplers in the collection.

Not only am I proud to be working with a company like Lucky Bloke whose values are very much in line with my own, I’m also super excited that portion of all proceeds will go to support the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre. Located in Vancouver, BC, the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre facilitates positive change by providing support, basic necessities and hot, nutritious meals for to over 300 women and children on a daily basis. I couldn’t think of a better non-profit to support, especially during the holiday season.

We all deserve to feel good – whether we’re playing alone or with a partner. With this sampler you get to have great sex and feel empowered in the bedroom while also helping others. Plus, you’re sure to get major cool points from whoever receives a Skinny Dip Sampler pack in their stocking this year.

Grab one for yourself or for the sexiest person you know.

Have more sex. Save the world.

I think that’s what you call a WIN/WIN.

Thank you for your support!

xox Simone

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