Until last year I only owned two sex toys: one silicone dildo and one silicone buttplug. I bought both when I moved house and put my previous toys into storage. I was happy to replace the dildos, because they were cheap jelly dicks, bought when I didn’t know any better. I had grown extremely fond of one because it was pleasantly circumference- y (I will not use the word ‘girthy’, now or ever, so help me gods) and had come the closest any toy ever had to making me squirt.
However, neither dildo was body- safe and the older of the two had gone a very odd and rather distasteful colour after I had a no- lube crisis and used cocoa butter instead. So as a replacement I bought one, single, solitary, not- that- circumference- y dildo. It’s fine and it serves its purpose. It cost £24, maybe? I don’t remember. At the time that felt like a lot of money to spend on a sex toy, considering my cheap jelly dicks cost less than a tenner.
I cannot imagine spending upwards of £30 on a dildo, and spending £80- 120 on a vibrator is a real reach. I’m trying to think about times when I might have spent £120 in one go, and the things which came to mind were:
A quality pair of shoes
An aeroplane ticket
A (decent second- hand) mobile phone
A vibrator is pretty unlikely ever to make its way onto that list.
Why? Well, because I’m pretty much always a little bit broke. I underearn. I have a lifelong history of trauma- related mental illness, which in real terms means I was out of the workplace for several years and living on sickness benefits. When I did then return to full- time, not that badly- paid work, my discretionary income went on things like the above; quality shoes, foreign city breaks, a really nice smartphone. Things I hadn’t had before which it was nice to be able to buy without thinking too hard.
Even then, it would never have occurred to me to include a spendy sex toy on that list. Shoes and foreign holidays and shiny phones are just more expensive versions of the things I had when I was on benefits; upgraded essentials. You know, this time ten years ago I was paying 40% of my monthly income to heat my flat and couldn’t really even afford cheese- that kind of sojourn into financial embarrassment will seriously change your financial priorities in ways you aren’t even aware of for a long time afterwards.
A £120 machine devoted to nothing but giving me orgasms seemed to me a full- on luxury; I mean, especially when I have fingers, for pity’s sake. Why spend money, and potentially lots of it, on a machine that will automate something I am extremely adept at doing manually and for free? While I’d owned and enjoyed a couple in my twenties, over the course of a decade I sort of forgot that vibrators existed, to be honest. I am good at giving myself clitoral orgasms with my fingers. I’m really good at it, and for quite a few years it was the cheapest and most reliable fun I was gonna have.
But of course once I started hanging out on sex Twitter it didn’t take long before I was very clearly reminded of the existence of vibrators. The most cursory glance at sex Twitter will suggest that the vibrator market is now so overwhelmingly large and hi- tech that a cursory glance will net you only confusion. Reading a lot of toy reviews I felt intimidated by the wealth of knowledge that some toy reviewers had about their favourites.
I also very rarely found much acknowledgement that £100+ is a fuckton of money to spend on orgasms, and if I’m completely honest I felt mildly resentful about that. This resentment was followed by a momentary wave of sadness and envy, which I had to shut down sharpish because envy about other people’s spending choices feels gross and self- pitying to me. But then at one point I even wondered if not spending £100+ on a kick- ass luxury vibe on the occasions when I have had that much disposable income means I’m not sex- positive enough, that I don’t value my sexuality as much as I should.
Although that’s patently self- shaming bollocks with a weird consumerist twist, after thinking it I did very quickly commit buying a powerful vibrator at a price I could afford just to prove that part of my jerkbrain wrong. I was massively helped in this decision by a few bloggers, to whom I’d like to give an enthusiastic shout- out. @pillowprincess wrote a lengthy Twitter thread about privilege in the sex blogger community which- among other vital subjects- brought up how often toys featured in blog reviews cost an amount which is prohibitive to those on low incomes. @coffeeandkink and @auroragloryblog then wrote brilliant, exhaustive guides to good quality sex toys, full of fabulous suggestions, and I’m sure I’m not the only person who will have found their hard work enormously valuable.
So I ordered myself a basic wand from Lovehoney- and it was half price! My bargain- hunting gland throbbed happily that day. But! Then! A couple of days later I then logged on to Twitter to see the excellent @coffeeandkink generously offering to give away a spare MysteryVibe Crescendo from her collection to a new blogger, and was lucky enough to be the first person to respond. So I ended up the happy owner of two vibrating sex toys in the space of a week, and one of them was the sort of high- end luxury vibe I’d assumed I’d never get to play with. I had a lot of fun getting to grips with both, and a review of the MysteryVibe will follow very soon.
I enjoy both toys very much- but funnily enough, when my knickers are down and my legs open I still often forget they exist. They need charging, and while I love it the wand is insanely noisy, and my hands are just… there. My suspicion is that for solo play I’ll always be a Fingers First kinda gal, and that any future career as a vibrator reviewer is out of the question for that reason. I feel like I could potentially have a LOT to say about dildos, buttplugs and BDSM toys though!