We were meant to post this absolutely stellar sex toy round up in February with the rest of Sex Month. And then one million other things happened, ranging from vibrator theft (there’s going to be a very happy postal worker out there) to the various disasters that seem to be raining down on the world. But here it is and the premise is this: Five sex toys, five very different people. One objective: to get their rocks off in the name of science. Well, not science, per se, science is busy with finding a vaccine, but, you know, the blog. We were thrilled when Smile Makers, a progressive, female-focussed purveyor of vibrators offered to send us a bundle for review. They’re the kind of company who tells it how it is, delivering sex education on female pleasure and creating genuinely helpful content like Vulva Talks. They had us at ‘our mission is to normalise the perception of female sexuality’. So join us on a masturbatory marathon, all undertaken to assist you in your pursuit of the perfect vibe . Yes, we expect our MBEs presently, for selfless services to sex.

Victoria sits on her sofa holding a baby and wearing sunglasses

Victoria @victoriaeames

The toy: The Ballerina

Sex and me: Since becoming a Mum three years ago, sex has definitely become a lot less frequent. It’s still great when we do manage some intimacy but getting there can feel like a bit of a chore when you’re that knackered by the end of every day that you’d rather lay your head on the pillow than take a mouth full of penis. As someone who’s always had a high sex drive, it’s taken a bit of adjusting to, but when we do have sex, it’s always amazing so quality over quantity most definitely applies. I’ve always been into self pleasure and have used sex toys since my twenties and if the opportunity arises, I seize it and fully embrace a spot of self love.  

Sound: 6 – you won’t be waking up the neighbours with this one  

Looks: 5 – it’s a strange shape (triangular) so a bit confusing as to what you do with it but once you get the hang of it, it’s all good

a variety of multi coloured vibrators in different shapes and colours.

Pleasure: 7 – it’s an all encompassing orgasm because it stimulates quite a large area of your vulva. Quite unlike any sex toy I’ve ever used before 

Overall: 6

In summary: This is definitely a good toy to use with a partner because it’s really easy and fun to incorporate stimulation into sex. I preferred using it this way than alone.

zoe smiles in a stripey T-shirt, with bright glasses and her hands at her face

Zoe @zoes_story

The toy: The Tennis Coach

Sex and me: I’m lucky I grew up in a pretty Sex-Positive family – sometimes perhaps a bit too positive and lots of over-sharing. There’s nothing like hearing about your Gran’s sexscapades to induce buttock clenching embarrassment as a teenager. I think in a society that as a rule assumes Disabled people are sexless saints, I was lucky to belong to a family of over sharers and never had that problem! I have had doctors say ‘You aren’t sexually active are you?’ and that was a conversation nobody needs to have with a health professional. Yes, actually, doctor I do enjoy a good tumble – I’m disabled not a Nun. I have a Genetic Condition called Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS) which causes pain and reduces my mobility, but so long as you’re creative, I’ve found there’s not much you can’t solve with a few carefully positioned pillows! I began using sex toys when pain and fatigue got in the way of, well, getting off. Although at first I found the idea a bit odd and intimidating, if it’s available and makes your life easier, what’s to lose!?

Sound: It’s so quiet! I totally give this a 8/10 as the more powerful settings give a bit more noise, but it’s absolutely the quietest toy I own. 

Looks: Got to be a 10/10 for looks from me. It’s so so so cute. I don’t like toys that look a bit intimidating or too realistic, purely as a personal preference, so a colourful, non threatening design is a total must. I think that the tennis coach is the cutest thing to have ever graced my dresser draw, and it’s so soft. The plastic isn’t hard or at all rubbery and doesn’t cause any uncomfortable friction.

Pleasure: I found this toy very easy to use and didn’t experience any teething problems trying to work out what felt best, absolutely an 8/10 for pleasure. The vibrations are quite gentle which doesn’t hurt my hands, while still getting the job done! The design is very ergonomic so no wrist cramp either and it lives up to what it says on the box.

Overall: This gets a 9/10 overall from me, and I will most definitely be getting some of the other toys in their range. This would make a very good first toy for someone who is curious, but a bit intimidated by the size and shape of some of the better known toys like the wand or rabbit; while also being a worthy addition to the bedside table of the more seasoned toy user. It’s easy to use with limited dexterity, didn’t require any faffing about to work out what it does, and I didn’t have to fight for 10 years to get into the packaging either so all in all, this product rocks.

In summary:

I was intrigued by the Tennis Coach as I hadn’t seen anything like it, and thought it looked cute. I am a sucker for anything colourful and fun and boy am I glad I picked this one!I found that it’s easy to use for a good while without it becoming uncomfortable, the shape is fantastically designed for the body although looks quite different to more traditionally shaped sex toys. The only issue I found with it is having to click the button repeatedly to cycle through all the different modes as I find it a bit difficult, but the button is large enough to be easy to find without having to stop and look for it.

Remi sits at a table in a T-shirt, looking over to one side

Remi @remisade

The toy: The Frenchman

Sex and me: I’m a 26 year old bisexual woman, about two years ago I started to explore my sexuality and sex as well. In the past I often found myself having sex that met the needs of my partners but not me. I also felt like masturbation was such a taboo so I didn’t talk about what I liked or know. Then after dating women and also learning what felt good and communicating that life got better 😂

Sound: 8 – I’d give loudness an eight it was really quiet. I could hear it but it wasn’t distracting


Looks: 10 – colour, shape, size perfect

Pleasure: 6 – it was nice the texture is like a soft silicone so it’s quite flexible which is good but it also means quite a lot of readjusting, took a while to “get there”. It could have been slightly firmer and it would have been a 10

Overall: 8

In summary: Overall I would use it again but it’s not a first pick and a lot of my marks are for the aesthetics

woman in a white abstract patterned suit stands on the stairs with a navy wall behind her with lots of pictures in gold frames

Robyn @almost_everything_off_ebay

The toy: The Ballerina

Sex and me: I love sex but like all of us, my relationship with it is pretty complex. While I’ve been in a relationship for basically my entire adult life, it’s important to me that my sexuality isn’t solely centred around my husband. You can’t be a great team player if you don’t do some individual training and there are times it’s imperative you grab some personal pleasure points. Imagine the Crystal Maze – there’s your solo wank silver tokens whizzing about and the gold ones for couples copulation. Both can and should coexist cos there’s no game otherwise. Plus, in my house I get a prize if I bank more gold vouchers, much like in the show (that’s a JOKE, I don’t demand prizes for sex).

Sound: 7 – my walls are paper thin so I’m hyper aware any sound is audible. That makes me fret that any toy I use will sound like I’m brandishing a garden strimmer. I felt like this was on a par with my quieter vibes but couldn’t quite edge a top spot.

a blue vibrator in a pebble shape is pressed down with a finger.

Looks: 9 – right, it might shock you to hear this but I want a sex toy to be really, really plain. And muted. And classy. A lovely neutral, ideally in charcoal or navy. The brightly coloured ones send me under and I find them really distracting. I DON’T KNOW WHY. This was dark blue, matte and like a Bauhaus paper weight so it hit my visual G Spot perfectly.

Pleasure: 9 – Jeez Louise, this baby was a revelation. It’s got a fleshy texture which I was like ‘erm, whatevs’ about initially but what that means in reality is that it sinks into all the right spots. It’s got the optimum range of settings too, I don’t get along with toys that are just hammer drill or off. I need a setting that’s something akin to hamster-on-top-of-a-festival-amp. This beauty has got the footprint of a ergonomic mouse and ergonomic is absolutely bloody is, blissfully so. I don’t know why Emma and I have gone so rodenty. I’m desperate to mention Richard Gere now…

Overall: 9

Summary: Honestly, every household should have one.

Emma stands in a grey check blazer touching her head and smiling, in front of a grey wall with black shelves on them

Emma @thecrapflat

The toy: The Fireman

Sex and me: I’ve had some complicated sex things in my life that I’m not going to go into here, but suffice it to say that sex sometimes hasn’t felt like a safe space for me. A huge part of reacquainting myself with my sexual side has been getting to know myself and what I like again, and personal sex toys like these have been instrumental in that. It’s a just-for-me moment of sexual satisfaction. And since we’ve all been locked down and feeling like the world is a threat in itself, it might be that that rediscovery of your sexy self is something more of us will have to go through (has anybody been boning during lockdown?). So, whatever your story and whatever your sexual state, here’s me  encouraging you to dedicate a little time to your own pleasure – because it can be so much more than just a happy wank (though really, who’s turning their nose up at one of those?)

A hand holds a pink vibrator in front of a white wall

Sound: 9/10 Quiet like a mouse. I don’t want to think of a mouse like that.

Looks: 7/10 It’s pretty damn sweet and pink

Pleasure: 8/10 A gentle rolling high – great for days you’re feeling sensitive

Overall: 7/10

In summary: It’s a lovely little fireman thing and is gentle enough that you don’t feel like you’re going to lose body parts when you use it.

Top Photo by Malvestida Magazine on Unsplash

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