Dueling trade shows and a recalcitrant recession tested the mettle of buyers in 2009, a year when new products raised the bar as well as eyebrows when it came to innovation and quality. Due to space limitations, I can only list 20 noteworthy items that come to mind—though picking a hundred would have been easier. To see images of the productions, click here.
Already impressed with this ingeniously designed series of disposable male masturbators first spotted in Berlin in 2008 and introduced in the U.S. earlier this year, the last thing I expected from Tenga was an egg. But they really outdid themselves with this diminutive sleeve (if you can even call it that) tucked inside a plastic egg. No word as to whether or not Tenga plans to design a toy in the shape of a chicken, but it would settle an age-old argument.
The Swedish design company noted for its high-end “pleasure objects” has of late introduced a number of knockout products for men. The latest, a P-spot vibrator called Billy, doesn’t come with cufflinks like the upscale models of their non-vibrating Bo Gentleman’s plug, but with its flange-based silicone shaft, powerful motor, and variety of stimulation modes, this rechargeable is another step in the right direction for LELO and good news for adventurous dudes with disposable income.
Fleshlight Sex in a Can
Few pleasures in life go together as seamlessly as beer and sex (especially in Red States), so it’s only natural that Fleshlight would package their bestselling orifices in an easy-open beer can. Not to be confused with sex in the can, Sex in a Can functions as both a terrific gag gift and a suitable substitute for human companionship.
OhMiBod’s Freestyle came in neck-and-neck with their Club Vibe, which sports wireless remote-controlled vibrating panties—pretty fucking cool! But the Freestyle is the next step in the evolution of OhMiBod’s signature line, and we all know the joys of going cordless, whether it be a phone or a mouse or a game controller. Now you can come to your favorite tunes without worrying about coming unplugged.
The Big O Glow by Screaming O
The Screaming O has managed to create dozens of successful variations on a theme—starting with affordable vibrating cock rings—but the Big O has a unique kind of ’70s disco appeal all its own with its colorful flashing red light. Put it on, crank it up, and you won’t know whether to blast Ring My Bell in your boudoir or find the closest runway so you can wave in a jumbo jet with your illuminated wang.
Evolved Bottle Rockets and Nocturnal Emission
The upstart innovator that took the market by storm in 2008 continued its mission to bring affordable, quality toys to the masses in 2009. With its signature steel packaging and alluring designs, Evolved introduced a number of winners in the past 12 months. Our faves include the creatively packaged Bottle Rockets and the Nocturnal Emission model of the Dream Maker rabbit line, with its uniquely shaped disks.
Body Spa Personal Vibrating Mesh Sponge
This seemingly innocent body scrubber hides a powerful waterproof bullet that allows the user to come clean in more ways than one. Tastefully packaged, affordably priced, and appealing to female customers, this is one of those crossover products that’s perfect palatable for the mainstream. Stock it, because cleanliness is next to Godliness.
Sexy Body Graffiti from Lover’s Choice
This was another tough pick because Lover’s Choice also manufactures the superior Ophoria line, but there’s something wonderfully un-PC about “kissable” spray paint that you can use to deface your lover’s body (or your own should you be so inclined as to tag your crotch) without fear of reprisal by the local authorities. As far as clever product design and marketing goes, this stuff takes the cake.
If Whole Foods carried a signature line of personal lubricants, Sliquid Organics would be it. But just because these lubes are 100 percent glycerin free, paraben free, propylene glycol free, glycerol free, cruelty free, and totally vegan-friendly doesn’t mean they’re for tree-huggers only. Folks in the Red States will also find satisfaction from Sliquid Organics, whether at home or in the Minneapolis Airport men’s room.
Nomi Tang’s Better Than Chocolate
First, the name. Better Than Chocolate is better than … just about any other product name we can think of, and beats the usual sex-toy clichés by a country mile. Second, the design, which looks like a Star Trek weapon but just so happens to lie perfectly within the contours of a woman’s vaginal lips—and does an exceptional job of stimulating all it comes in contact with. Third, the name again. Anyone with a sense of humor that whimsical is probably a good sex-toy designer as well. In this case, it’s true. Available from Entrenue.
Steel Vineyards O-Pleasures Magnetic Nipple Clamps
These ingenious aluminum rings house two retractable rods that use the miracle of magnetism to grasp the nipple. We’re not sure which is more exquisite: the design or the pain. Available in two grip strengths (heavy and light) and two colors (black and polished aluminum), might we also suggest you buy them two at a time?
Cal Exotics Inked Vibes and iTap
Always quick to hop on a hot trend, Cal’s Inked Vibes are simple yet powerful vibes with colorful tat designs. Perfect for those who want a tattoo on their genitals but don’t want to endure the pain. The iTap line gets a nod for its simplicity of design. Nothing fancy here—literally. Touch technology replaces all buttons and knobs, which makes for a smooth ride.
Not to be confused with Dr. Evil’s “good” twin, Dr. Love is the latest and greatest lube from Dieter Laros, the genius who almost single-handedly created the silicone lube market. His latest masterpiece eschews Cyclomethicone and Clycopentasiloxane for a pure blend of dimethicone and dimetheconol. Shorthand: This is good, slippery stuff. (Also check out their DL line of lubes, discreetly packaged in sophisticated, cosmetic-style boxes.)
It had to happen sooner or later: a vibrator you must crank up before you can get off. It’s supposedly part of the whole green movement, but those of us who live in Los Angeles really know what it’s for: This is an earthquake vibrator. After the Big One, when electricity is out and all the batteries have been looted from the local 7-11, you’ll still be able to buzz yourself to blissville in the privacy of your own pup tent. Get yours from Entrenue.
K-Y Yours+Mine and Intense
With advertising budgets that dwarfed the total annual revenue of some lube companies, Johnson and Johnson’s K-Y line made two giant leaps for mankind and womankind alike with smart, funny primetime commercial spots for their combo lube Yours+Mine and their Intense arousal gel. They aren’t the only products like this on the market, but they are the only ones being touted during Larry King Live.
Belladonna’s Foot Soldiers from Doc Johnson
Belladonna built a formidable career on her famous anus, but her new Foot Soldiers from Doc Johnson prove once and for all that there’s more to the talented actress than just a pretty rectum. Molded from Belladonna’s very own adorable tootsies, these realistic feet are sheer heaven for foot fetishists and a great paperweight for the rest of us.
X: The Erotic Treasury
No one can cull an erotic anthology quite like Susie Bright, and here she set her sights on assembling the definitive be-all-and-end-all collection of prose written specifically to elicit heavy breathing. Ms. Bright knows her stuff, and these 40 stories contain something to keep just about anyone up all night. As if that weren’t reason enough to stock this book, it’s also got a real purdy cover. (Full disclosure: this books is published by Chronicle, who also publishes my book, L.A. Bizarro.)
Head O’ State from Ozam and Beatin’ Barack from Pipedream
First, Ozam introduced a dildo with the President’s face on the head, but it looked more like O.J. Simpson. Disturbing, but funny. Then Pipedream gave us “Beatin’ Barack” another weak facsimile of our Commander-in-Chief, this time in the form of a wind-up masturbating guy. Funny, but disturbing. We can’t wait for “Jerk-Off Joe,” a wind-up model of Joe Wilson that not only jacks off but also shouts “You lie!” when he comes.
April Flores Voluptuous Cyberskin Pussy
The first plus-sized celebrity molding is a 7.9-pound socio-political statement that you can fuck. Read more about it here.
G-Ki by Je Joue
What is it about the British? They’re far kinkier than we’ll ever be, and they do it with so much more … panache. Je Joue is not the first UK sex toy company to impress us (Emotional Bliss has that honour), but their Sasi set a new standard for high-tech pleasure. Now, in the 11th hour of 2009, comes the G-Ki, a fully articulated vibrating G-spotter that can also be adjusted for simultaneous clitoral simulation. Brilliant, as they say, and just as irresistible as its first-born sibling. Score another resounding triumph for our friends across the pond.
This article originally ran in the December 2009 issue of AVN.