Playing With Fire Collection of Erotic Short Stories

Front Cover

I’ve so far talked about various types of sex toys, lube, and informational adult books, but until now I haven’t reviewed any erotica. Recently GoodVibes.com offered Playing With Fire up for review,  which is a collection of 23 short stories that all have heat as a common theme. I hadn’t read any new erotica in a while, so I decided to request it.

Published by Cleis Press and edited by Alison Tyler, the scenes and content in Playing With Fire go beyond what you’ll find in an everyday romance novel. The sex acts in these short stories are full of passion and desire, with a ample fantasy and just enough touch of taboo. All of the couples featured are heterosexual, with threesomes happening in some of the stories.

Playing With Fire Erotica

Back Cover

A variety of writers contributed to this collection, and brief author bios are included in the back of the book. The writing styles vary from direct narration to symbolic imagery that’s almost surreal, but the standard themes are covered: bondage, wife swapping, cuckolding, spanking, fantasy fulfillment, anonymous hook-up sex, sheer animalistic lust, etc.

I actually enjoyed reading all of the stories, with the exception of “Burned” which I found to be totally confusing. It’s one of those story-within-a-story type pieces about threesomes gone wrong and parallel love triangles, or something. But I’d like to point out a few of my favorites.

  • One Hundred Degrees in the Shade” is a titillating story of a couple trying to beat the heat of summer with a broken air conditioning. The sexual tension builds as they wait for rainstorms to cool them down.
  • One Hot Slut” is a first-person monologue of a wife preparing to seduce her husband when he gets home. She goes into detail about what she’s scheming and her expectations for the night, which ultimately doesn’t go as planned.
  • Where There’s Smoke” is about a married couple, and the wife is having an affair. Her husband starts asking about her secret lover during sex, and in the process of answering his questions, they have the hottest sex ever.
  • In “Just Add Water” a couple realize their voyeuristic and exhibitionist tendencies thanks to the installation of a new shower curtain.

Most of the stories are really short, so this is a perfect book to pick and read even when you don’t have a big block of time. While nothing in Playing With Fire is too extreme, some of the stories explore a few boundaries. Page turning while having sex or enjoying some solo play time isn’t really practical, but I often read erotica to help me get in the mood, and many stories are useful inspiration.

Papaya Tattoo Strawberry VibratorNot long after I started reviewing sex toys I caught sight of the colorful and uniquely designed vibes from Papaya. Made from top-quality silicone, Papaya Toys feature powerful motors and easy-to-use controls. You can check out the entire collection on their company website, and please do because they come in a variety of fun styles, and they’re all waterproof.

The company has also been recognized for quality and innovative design. Having coveted one of these vibes for many months, I am thrilled to tell you all about the Tattoo Strawberry they recently send me to try.

As for the packaging, it’s a completely discreet, simple square box with product information printed in English on a slide-off outer sleeve. The same information is in German on the back of the box itself.

Papaya Tattoo Strawberry Box Front Papaya Tattoo Strawberry Box Back

Rather than having a lift-off lid, there’s a top flap that extends down to the box’s front panel where it closes magnetically. Inside is a tray holding the vibe and its satiny storage pouch, with the user’s manual/instructions (printed in several different languages) sitting on top.

Papaya Tattoo Strawberry Packaging Papaya Tattoo Strawberry Packaging Papaya Tattoo Strawberry Packaging

There’s nothing underneath the tray, which seemed to me at first to be a waste of space. Then I realized that this is a nice sturdy box, that’s also quick and easy to open with the magnetic flap, so it’s great for storage. I’m currently keeping charger cables and instruction books for other sex toys in there. Plus, a square box doesn’t look like sex toy packaging, so it’s ideal for gift-giving.

Tattoo Strawberry is a good size for multiple purposes. The rounded tip is smaller than the typical wand massager, but it’s still very effective for clitoral stimulation. The shaft gradually increases in girth, but it stays within a pretty average range that should suit most users. On either side of the shaft is a raised tattoo-like design which adds some texture.

Papaya Tattoo Strawberry Measurements
The shaft also has a very slight, nearly imperceptible, curve, which makes effective G-spot stimulation possible. I didn’t think it was working that well for me when I first used it internally, but I soon figured out where to position and how to move it. I’m not always a big fan of internal vibrations, but I love the feel of this one on low because it’s so nice and rumbly.
Papaya Tattoo Strawberry Measurements

Then, when I need some powerful throbbing on my clit, I can just ramp up the power because the controls are super easy. Well, at least they are now that I’ve finally figured them out. For some unknown reason I had trouble working them at first. I kept hitting the wrong button and getting confused, which is silly because there are only two buttons, one on each side of the raised bow-tie on the vibe handle.

Just press the left button once to turn the motor on and cycle through the two pulse settings. Press and hold the same button to increase the vibration speed/intensity. To decrease the vibration strength, press and hold the right button. To turn the motor off at any time, press the right button once.

Papaya Tattoo Strawberry Measurements Papaya Tattoo Strawberry Shaft Papaya Tattoo Strawberry Measurements

This vibe is surprisingly powerful considering it only takes two AA batteries. The battery compartment itself is rather interesting, and Papaya Toys won an innovation award for it. The batteries go in a cartridge that works no matter which way you install it. How fantastic is that? No more fumbling trying to figure out which way the batteries go in, or frustration over having to take them out and try again. I can see where this would be especially helpful when in a darkened room, or a hurry.

Honestly, I’m very impressed with the Papaya Tattoo Strawberry. I’m amazed at the motor’s power, and I love its rumbly vibrations. It also has a good range in vibration strength, and the size and shape make it an ideal all-purpose vibe and a new favorite. Thank you to Papaya Toys for sending me this one to review!

On Natural Arousal Oil For Her uses a proprietary blend of essential oils and botanicals to create a safe, natural arousal effect unlike any other.There’s one type of product I don’t typically review, and that’s arousal enhancement gels, ointments, creams, and other concoctions. These sort of things generally don’t appeal to me. Usually they contain glycerin, which I try to steer clear of, and some other ingredient(s) that are basically irritants.

They work by stimulating blood flow, thereby engorging whatever area you apply them to. I don’t like the idea or putting irritants on my genitals. Also, often products like this are garishly packaged, and that puts me off.

On some level I almost resent how arousal products are marketed. The assumption seems to be that women are so frigid that they have to rub chemicals on their clit to get aroused. Um, no. Maybe they just need more and/or better foreplay, because simply rubbing the clitoris will usually get its attention, without any kind of arousal product. Honestly, I see these things more as novelties: something new to try if you want to add some fun and variety to sex, but otherwise superfluous.

But then I caught a glimpse of On 4 Her, which is an arousal oil for women. I first saw it when I made a pilgrimage to the closest quality adult store to me. Sitting on the counter by the cash register, in a classy little point-of-sale display, was a collection of tiny black boxes, all with shiny silver lettering and the word “on” printed on the front. Curious, I picked one up and read the fine print (because that’s all that will fit on a box this small).

And that’s when I began to rethink my preconceived notions about arousal enhancement products. Obviously not all come in tacky packaging, and how would I know they’re just a marketing scam to trick women into touching themselves when I’ve never actually used any of them? As a sex toy reviewer, I should have more of an open mind about these things.

I was intrigued enough by those little black boxes to briefly consider buying a bottle on On 4 Her. But then I remembered that I really don’t like to pay for things and avoid having to do so whenever possible. Instead, I added it to my running list of items I want to try, so that if/when I see them offered for review I can request them. Lucky for me, I didn’t have to wait long because EdenFantasys.com recently sent me some. The tiny .17 oz bottle is discreet, travel-friendly, and contains up to 50 applications.

   

On 4 Her is a natural and menthol free arousal oil made from Sweet Almond Oil, Cinnamon Cassia, Natural Tocopherols (that’s Vitamin E), silica (often used in cosmetics to increase viscosity),  Phenoxyethanol (a preservative), Ethylhexyglecerin (preservative and skin conditioning agent–often used instead of parabens), and Rosemary oil extract. You can really smell the rosemary, which I think is awesome. I love the smell of rosemary–in the morning or any time.

Inside the box is very detailed product information and use instructions printed on a slip of paper. I almost didn’t see it, due to the way it was folded and tucked into a corner of the box. Click the pictures below for a bigger view.

This stuff is super easy to use. Just apply one or two drops to your clitoris, and within a couple of minutes you should feel a warm, tingling sensation. My sex drive fluctuates depending on where I am in my monthly cycle, so in order to really test the effectiveness of this arousal oil, I used it over the course of several weeks to see how my body responded. Here’s what I found out:

  • Leading up to and during ovulation, On 4 Her was extremely effective, but then that’s when my libido is as its highest anyway, so really no surprise there. During those days of high horniness, all I needed was just a drop applied in the near vicinity of my clitoris, and in 90 seconds I was ready to go. I didn’t even need to rub it in.
  • Post ovulation, when my sex drive was subsiding somewhat, I did need to rub the oil on my clitoris for a few seconds, and usually I would apply two drops. It was still effective but wasn’t so much of an “instant on”for me during those days.
  • A few times I was just not in the mood due to stress, fatigue, or whatever else I had going on in my life that was hindering my ability to get turned on. On 4 Her still produced a warm, tingly sensation on my clit, which helped get me more in the mood, but I also required quite a bit of foreplay.
  • My only negative experience with this product was when I applied it soon after shaving. Bad idea! The warm tingling turned into painful burning. On 4 Her is oil based, so even after washing it off I could still feel residual burning. Lesson learned there.

As with any personal care product, experience and effectiveness and will vary by individual because we all have different body chemistry. While I’m glad I got to try it, I don’t think On 4 Her is something I’ll use all the time or with any great regularity. Rather, I see this as a helpful product to use during times when I feel my libido flagging or as a great tool for making the most out of quickies.

LELO Siri Luxury Vibrator ReviewI used to have a Lelo Iris, which I enjoyed immensely. It was my first luxury sex toy, and I was sad when it quit working. But thanks to Lelo’s 10 year product guarantee I was able to return it and purchase a Siri for half price.

I chose the Siri because it’s a vibe I’ve been pining for wanted to try for a long time, and I was really curious to know how it compared to my other favorite clit vibes, Fun Factory’s LayaSpot and Je Joue’s MiMi.

I already posted photos of the outer packaging on Tumblr, so you can check them out there or in the video below. Basically, Siri comes in a very discreet black gift box encased in glossy red paperboard. Inside, the Siri is sealed in a blister pack.

LELO Siri Vibrator Packaging LELO Siri Vibrator Packaging

To open it, cut or tear off the top along the perforation. Which isn’t what I did. I tried to gently pry it apart. I don’t know why.

LELO Siri Vibrator Packaging LELO Siri Vibrator Packaging LELO Siri Packaging

Anyway, underneath is where you’ll find all the accessories. There’s a user’s manual (instructions printed in multiple languages), product warranty information, charger cable, and a satiny storage pouch. While it’s charging, the button controls will flash on and off. When the battery is fully charged, the buttons stay lit. It only takes a few hours to fully charge, and it lasts a long time between charges.

LELO Siri Vibrator and Swag LELO Siri Rechargeable Vibrator

Siri has a tapered tip covered in awesome velvety silicone, and it carries the powerful, rumbly vibrations from the motor very well. Siri is also a great size, because it’s small enough to fit nicely in my hand and not get in the way of other activities. The shape is a little different in that there’s a contoured bulge on the underside, and it works quite well for me.

LELO Siri Measurements LELO Siri Measurements

The control buttons are a squishy, clicky material, and because they have a different feel than the surrounding hard plastic they’re fairly easy to find and operate even with slippery fingers. The only trouble I have is thinking that my finger is on a button that it’s not actually pressing, which then causes the vibe to do something other than what I really want, but I’m sure with more use that will happen less. I do worry about lube and residue getting trapped in the spaces between the buttons and hard plastic, though, especially since this vibe isn’t waterproof.

LELO Siri Control ButtonsPress and hold the + button to turn the vibe on and increase the speed/vibration intensity. The – button slows the motor down and turns it off, and the up and down arrows navigate through the various settings.

There’s constant vibration, a busy signal pulse, a faster pulse, a revving/rollercoaster mode, a slightly different, shorter rev, and a setting whose pattern I can’t really define, but they’re all fun to play with, and you can change the vibration intensity on all of them. Considering how powerful and rumbly the vibrations are, Siri is deceptively quiet.

Here’s a quick rundown comparison of Siri, MiMi, and LayaSpot:

  • Both the Siri and Layaspot are ergonomically shaped with a contoured bulge on their undersides. I prefer Siri’s shape over LayaSpot’s. It’s more subtle and fits up against me better. The MiMi is smooth and symmetrical, with a flatter design that tapers more towards the tip, which is better for pinpoint stimulation, but it doesn’t nestle in between my labia the same way.
  • Siri (partially) and MiMi (entirely) are covered in soft, velvety silicone, and I personally think that feels better than the Layaspot’s smooth elastomer.
  • The controls are distinctly different on all three, and I prefer the two-button simplicity of the LayaSpot over the small (and tricky to operate with lubed up fingers ) buttons on MiMi. I like that Siri can be turned off quickly, but I often get confused which button is which and end up telling it to do something other than what I need. Also, as I mentioned before, the small gaps around the buttons worry me.
  • Siri and MiMi are more powerful and rumbly than the LayaSpot, and they have the added advantage of being rechargeable.
  • Siri has more vibration possibilities than the other two because the speed can be adjusted at each setting, but it’s not waterproof! Technically, neither is the LayaSpot, but at least it’s splashproof and therefore easy to clean.
  • I’m not one to do a lot of traveling, but the controls on Siri can be locked so the buttons don’t get bumped and accidentally turn the vibe on while it’s packed away. Also, Siri comes with a storage pouch, which is nice, but the opening isn’t big enough to allow the charger cable to fit inside. I don’t know why they wouldn’t make it so that you can store everything together in the same pouch.
  • Layaspot is the most economically priced at around $60, but it then requires ongoing battery purchases to power it. Considering Siri costs around $100, it really should be waterproof. I think MiMi is the best value for money, and you can typically find them for under $80.

If only I could amalgamate all three into the ideal clit vibe. I’d have Siri’s shape, power, vibrations, and lack of noise, Layaspot’s buttons–with the addition of an instant off option, and MiMi’s magnetic charger, waterproofness, and all-over velvety silicone. Somebody is working on that for me, right?