Review: Je Joue Uma

Welcome, dear readers! I know, I know, it’s been a while. After an incredibly difficult summer and a recent whirlwind move to a new state (complete with a new job, new apartment, new everything), I’m finally ready to return to Formidable Femme and work on putting out regular content. That being said, I’m also trying this thing where I attempt not to make myself feel bad about taking time away from here so soon after I launched the site – this frame of mind doesn’t always work, but if I’ve learned one thing in my short stay thus far in the sex blogger community, it’s that people want you to put yourself first. They understand when life gets in the way and you need to spend all your energy taking care of yourself – and they’ll still be here when you get back. So, before we get started, I’d like to give a massive thank you to this amazing community for being supportive and always offering me kind words of encouragement over the past few months. And now, I declare my blogging hiatus officially over!

Before I get started, I must give a million thanks to AfterDarque for sending me the Uma to review and for being so patient and understanding with me while I navigated the past few months. If you’re looking for a fantastic, 100% body-safe online shop run by compassionate and caring people, AfterDarque is the place to go!

Je Joue’s Uma

The Basics

Je Joue’s Uma is a versatile vibrator that offers opportunities for both internal and external stimulation as well as a wide range of vibration patterns and speeds. My Uma arrived quickly in a discreet, unmarked package (thanks, AfterDarque!), and I was pleased to find that the vibrator itself was contained in a sleek black box with only the Je Joue emblem emblazoned on top. Inside the box is the Uma, a magnetic charging cable, and an instruction booklet.

The Uma comes in four colors – black, fuchsia, lilac, and purple – and is completely body safe, waterproof, and is made out of smooth, velvety silicone. It is seven inches long and features a slim design that gets gradually girthy at either end of the toy with the magnetic charging port located at the bottom. Uma’s charger easily becomes displaced from the port, so it’s important to place Uma on a steady surface to avoid any charging mishaps.

The Uma has three buttons on the bottom of the toy: +, -, and ~. Holding the + button down turns Uma on and pressing it allows you to cycle upwards through the five vibration settings. Holding the – button down turns the Uma off and pressing it allows you to cycle downwards through the five vibration settings. Pressing the ~ button in the middle allows you to cycle through the seven vibration patterns (including the steady vibration mode.) These buttons are incredibly hard to push – when I first received my Uma, I thought it was broken because the buttons weren’t turning the toy on. Later I found out I just wasn’t pushing hard enough. (Seriously, y’all, these are intense buttons.)

One of this toy’s most notable features is its unique set of vibrations. Uma’s vibrations are a sort of pulsing rumble, not strictly on either size of the rumbly-buzzy spectrum, but instead residing somewhere in between towards the rumbly end. This pulsing rumble moves slightly towards the buzzy side of the spectrum when cycling through to the higher speeds, but even on the highest level, the buzzy quality is not overwhelming by any means.

While the Uma isn’t the loudest vibrator I’ve ever heard, it’s not the quietest either. Its unique set of vibrations is accompanied by a unique sound unlike any vibrator I’ve heard before. I’m not exactly sure how to describe this sound – the best I can do is “fluttery rattling.” (A coworker of mine said Je Joue toys sound like angry beetles. I can’t really disagree.)

My Experience with the Uma

All unforeseen life events aside, it’s taken me a long time to figure out how exactly to write this review, particularly this section. Despite the versatility this toy offers, Uma just didn’t do it for me.

To begin with, I’m not a huge fan of internal vibration, so it’s no huge surprise that I didn’t find the Uma super stimulating for my G-spot. Hoping that the Uma would fare better externally than internally, I turned to my clit for the answer, but still came up short. Additionally, Uma was uncomfortable to insert without warming up first. This was particularly surprising to me given Uma’s relatively slim size and velvety silicone feel, but it happened time and time again.

I’m one of those rare people (I’ve come to find out) who truly appreciates and enjoys buzzier vibrations. While I do also like rumbly vibrations, it’s usually the high, buzzy settings of a vibrator that push me over the edge. Even though Uma’s vibrations strike a balance between rumbly and buzzy, the buzzy vibrations aren’t strong enough for my liking, even on the highest setting. Furthermore, I usually prefer softer, dual-density toys for internal use, which may have been why Uma’s sturdiness didn’t quite hit the spot.

It’s important to highlight here that my experience with the Uma are based on personal preference. It just so happens that what Uma brings to the table – internal vibration, hardness, and a unique, rumbly vibration set – just doesn’t jive with what gets me off. However, I do think this could be the perfect vibrator for someone else! To read up on some other positive reviews of the Uma to see if this may be the vibrator of your dreams, check out reviews by Dizzygirl and Emmeline Peaches.

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Uma features a nice G-spot curve.

Final Thoughts

As I’m sure you can tell by now, the Uma wasn’t for me. That isn’t to say, dear reader, that the Uma isn’t for you! As mentioned above, if your tastes are different from mine, I strongly encourage you to check out the above reviews and Uma’s product page on AfterDarque to read more about this vibrator.

If you’re thinking about getting an Uma for yourself, please consider purchasing your toy from AfterDarque. AfterDarque kindly provided the Uma for me in exchange for my honest review, and I can say with complete honesty that they are one of the kindest and most considerate companies I’ve had the pleasure of working with. Even if you’re in the market for a new toy other than the Uma, AfterDarque is sure to have what you’re looking for – with a sexual wellness collection that is entirely non-toxic, you can feel safe, secure, and comfortable shopping with them. As an extra treat, you can get 10% off at AfterDarque with the code “FEMME”!

Giveaway: Pure Enrichment Peak Wand Massager

I am so excited to launch my very first giveaway! I’m still super new in the sex blogging world, but I’ve met so many fantastic, helpful people and wanted to give back to this amazing community in some way.

I am giving away my absolute favorite vibrator, the Pure Enrichment Peak Wand Massager. The Peak Wand Massager may not be known as widely as other sex toys, but I’m trying to change that! It remains my favorite toy in my toybox and I want to share some of that love with you all. Trust me, this is one vibrator you’ll want to try.

Furthermore, this vibrator is in line with my commitment to affordable and accessible sex toys. It retails at about $60, making it on the lower end of the sex toy price spectrum. I’m giving this away, so price isn’t really an issue here, but I still want to promote products that are lesser known and affordable while still being body-safe and wonderful.

The Pure Enrichment Peak Wand Massager
The Pure Enrichment Peak Wand Massager

The Rules:

  •  You must be 18 or over to enter this giveaway.
  • Since I’m shipping this myself, it’s open to residents of the USA and Canada. If folks from other countries would like to enter, I will ask you to help pay shipping costs.
  • No giveaway only accounts, please. I will be checking when the winner is chosen.
  • The giveaway ends at midnight East Coast USA time on July 12th, 2015. The winner will have 5 days to contact me to claim their prize. If the winner doesn’t contact me within that time frame, another winner will be chosen.

Good luck!

Pure Enrichment Peak Wand Massager Giveaway

Review: Come Again: Sex Toy Erotica

I am a tried and true lover of erotica. Erotica has always been my preference when it comes to getting off – while I definitely love and appreciate (ethically-produced and feminist!) pornography, nothing gets me going like a steamy story. Also, as a new sex blogger, I’m always on the lookout for any kind of product to review. With those two things in mind, you can imagine my delight when I saw this pinned tweet on Cleis Press’ Twitter timeline:

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I immediately e-mailed Cleis Press and was met with fantastic customer service and a copy of Come Again: Sex Toy Erotica already in the mail to me the next day. Cleis Press is known for publishing queer, sex-positive books across a wide variety of genres, so naturally I was super happy for the opportunity to review something from them. Furthermore, the editor of Come Again, Rachel Kramer Bussel, is a seasoned writer, editor, and blogger in the sexuality world. I’ve been a fan of hers a while, making me even more thrilled to review Come Again, which is her latest work.

Come Again: Sex Toy Erotica was only published in March, but it’s already gained a lot of hype in the sex blogging/sex writing community – and for good reason. It’s not too rare to find toy use in erotica here or there, but an entire anthology devoted solely to sex toys? Awesome. Furthermore, before receiving Come Again, I’d heard a general buzz (ha!) about the book’s commitment to diversity and showcasing a range of sex toy experiences. These points were the most important for me – as a queer woman, I crave more than the typical heterosexual pairings most often seen in erotica. Representation is important. Also, while traditional vibrator and dildo stories can be fun and sexy, reading about a Magic Wand a dozen times in a row gets a bit old. Luckily, Come Again definitely lived up to the hype – let’s dive in!

Come Again: Sex Toy Erotica
Come Again: Sex Toy Erotica

Come Again: Sex Toy Erotica features 24 short stories from a wide range of authors. There’s something for everyone here – the sex ranges from vanilla to light kink, and every story included reads in a genuine way. You won’t find any hokey, overly-sentimental euphemisms for genitals or sex acts in Come Again, which was definitely a huge plus for me. Reading through Come Again, Rachel Kramer Bussel’s commitment to inclusion begins to shine through immediately – no two stories are similar, and the collection features characters of many identities and backgrounds. Even though Come Again is much more diverse than your typical erotica, the collection lacked many explicitly stated characters of color, differently-abled characters, and fat characters. One of my favorite stories featured a trans* man of color and another favorite featured a queer woman with a physical disability, but I didn’t see much diversity in these areas beyond those two stories. (I don’t want to assume these characters didn’t exist because they weren’t explicitly stated, but again, representation is important.)

As I mentioned above, for me, this book’s draw comes from it’s inclusion of queer stories and commitment to showcasing non-traditional sex toys. Out of 24 stories, 8 of them featured queer characters, and 9 of them included sex toys you wouldn’t be able to find in any sex shop. Come Again is as intersectional and diverse in regard to queer folks as it is imaginative, which can be a rare find in the erotica world! Most of the queer-focused stories featured queer women; one featured a trans* man and another featured a gay man. (So, keeping that in mind, if you’re looking for queer erotica outside the realm of queer women, this may not be the book for you.) Furthermore, the non-traditional sex toys featured in these stories range from vegetables to an incredibly inventive Simulsphere where the user can create and live out any sexual fantasy in a virtual world. The stories included in Come Again aren’t only sexy and steamy – they’re brilliant. These two factors combined – the queer stories and the inventive and intelligent sex toys featured in the collection – made Come Again extremely hard to put down. After each short story ended I was hungry to see what fantastic new invention or queer encounter was waiting on the following pages.

Reading one of my favorite stories while I was supposed to be moving into my new apartment. Needless to say, I didn't get a whole lot of work done.
Reading one of my favorite stories while I was supposed to be moving into my new apartment. Needless to say, I didn’t get a whole lot of work done.

While I honestly enjoyed each story in Come Again, I truly loved, and was even moved by, a select few. My favorite story in the collection was Gift by Dena Hankins. Gift features two women in their 60’s and 70’s exploring lesbian sex for the first time. They have been sleeping together for a few weeks, but the story focuses on a new toy they test together, leading to a new level of pleasure neither woman has ever experienced. Gift not only turned me on, but deeply moved me as well. In the story, one of the women deals with physical disability and mobility issues. With the introduction of the new toy, she is able to reclaim her sexuality in spite of her limited mobility and engage fully with her lover for the first time. For the first time, my eyes welled with tears while reading erotica – a true testament to the undeniable beauty of Gift and Dena Hankins’ talent as an author.

I also especially enjoyed Vegetable Love by Susan St. Aubin, Lost and Pounded by Zee Giovanni, Bikery by Oliver Hollandaize, The Cure for the Common Lay by Valerie Alexander, Standard of Care by Sybil Rush, and My Life as a Vibrator by Livia Ellis. The stories in Come Again never failed to get me off. I would certainly recommend this collection to any erotica lovers and/or sex toy aficionados. You will not be disappointed!

Huge thanks to Cleis Press for sending me a copy of Come Again: Sex Toy Erotica in exchange for an honest review!

Real Neat Blog Award!

Last week, three truly lovely people I admire in the sex blogging world – Emmeline Peaches, Miss Ruby Reviews, and Kinky Kitten – nominated me for a Real Neat Blog Award! I was shocked when I received my first nomination, and even more so when I got my second and third. My website has only been up and running for a little over three weeks, so I feel quite honored to be nominated! I’ve been blown away by the truly amazing and supportive community I’ve found since I started my blog and incredibly thankful to all of those who nominated for the Real Neat Blog Award.

For folks who don’t know about the Real Neat Blog Award, it gives you all, my wonderful readers, a chance to know a bit more about me, how I came to be a blogger, and what I envision for the future of my website. A couple of the nominations I received featured different questions, so I’ve tried my best to combine those nominations here while still keeping things relatively short and sweet. I hope you all enjoy!

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1) Why did you start blogging?

I started blogging to give myself a platform to express myself in a way I could never do before. I’ve worked for sexuality-focused companies and written extensively about sexuality and sex education in college, but I never had a safe space (and a brave space) that was all my own before I started Formidable Femme. This desire to carve out my own corner of the internet was borne out of a personal pleasure-based journey I’ve been on for the past year or so in an attempt to reclaim my sexuality after an abusive relationship. I was so inspired by the countless amazing sex bloggers I was reading day in and day out. When I finally realized that this was something I could do too, it didn’t take me long to purchase a domain name and get to work on setting up my site.

2) If your site had a goal, what would it be? How do you feel you’re doing with that goal, right now? How do you feel you’ve done with that goal over all?

Well, as I’ve only been blogging for a little over three weeks, I’m not as far along with my goals as I’d like to be. However, my overall goal is to offer a unique lens on sex toys and sex blogging in general through the lens of my intersectional identities – as a queer femme woman, as a survivor, and as someone living with a mental illness. While I’ve only posted a couple of reviews so far to get started, I want to get in touch with those intersectional identities through not only how I feel about (and use) sex toys, but also in a “Personal Musings” section where I discuss my thoughts about sexuality, gender, and feminism. I love writing reviews, but I’m really looking forward to writing about social justice issues as well. So far I think I’m doing pretty well with my goals considering how young my site is! (I also want to work on building an educational section of my website beyond the content I include in reviews or musings, but that’ll be a work in progress. Ideally, it would be focused on sexuality education as it relates to the intersectional identities I mentioned above.)

3) How has blogging influenced your life?

Again, even though I’ve only been blogging for a short amount of time, it’s already influenced my life in profound ways. On the night I bought my domain name and began to set up Formidable Femme, I felt a huge weight lift off my shoulders. Just having a place to call my own was incredibly freeing, and I felt so comforted by taking that first step. Over the past few weeks, that freeing feeling has only gotten stronger – I feel more empowered than ever before about my sexuality, my queerness, and my femmeness. Having a shareable, interactive safe space is amazing!

4) What is your favorite part of blogging?

My favorite part about blogging is the extremely welcoming, open, and supportive community I’ve found over the past few weeks. Everyone in the sex blogging world is unbelievably helpful and willing to get new bloggers up and running by giving them as many tools, tips, and tricks as possible to help them succeed. There’s no competition here – only love, support, and mutual understanding. I was surprised to be welcomed with such open arms, but I’m so, so thankful that I was, and every day I’m happy to interact with all the lovely humans in this community. Of course, I also love the educational aspect of sex blogging in general and can’t wait to work a bit more on that part of my website.

5) What website on the entire web, besides your own, do you spend the most time on?

Tumblr! I’ve been super involved on Tumblr for the past six or so years and I think it’s a fantastic place to learn, grow, and cultivate new interests. Tumblr helped me immensely with my coming out process and also helped me find a supportive queer feminist community when I hadn’t yet found one in college. (That being said, if anyone would like the URL for my personal tumblr, just let me know through Twitter or e-mail!) I also spend a lot of time on Twitter, especially my account for Formidable Femme, and Facebook.

6) Are you kinky? How did you come to this conclusion?

I’m still trying to figure this one out!

7) What do you want to be when you grow up?

When I grow up, I want to continue doing the kind of work I’m doing now, just on a larger scale. My roots are in pro-choice activism, queer advocacy, and sexuality education, and are all tied to political work and grassroots organizing. My full-time job is in the reproductive justice movement. In a couple of years, I’d like to go to graduate school for a program that combines all of my passions, so I’ll likely end up studying human sexuality or something politically-based with a focus in women’s, gender, and sexuality studies. We’ll see what happens after that, but ideally I would love to be senior-level staff for a reproductive rights organization. I could also see myself going on to get my PhD and becoming a professor. Only time will tell!

8) What is the most important thing about you that you want everyone to know?

This is supposed to be about me, but I’m making it about you. I want you, dear reader, to know that I think you are worthy, you are loved, and you are enough. For too long, I was made to feel like I was unworthy, unlovable, and inadequate, and I never want anyone else to feel that way. Along with writing reviews and musings, I also want to provide a safe, brave space for my readers to feel accepted, understood, and heard.

Here’s the part where I’m supposed to nominate other folks for the Real Neat Blog Award – however, I’m pretty sure that all of the bloggers I had in mind have already been nominated! (Also, admittedly, I’m a bit late in writing this post – I’ve been moving into my new apartment and then on a beach vacation – so I’ve had some of these folks in mind for the past week or so.) So, while I think all of these wonderful folks have already been nominated (and some even nominated me!), there’s no harm in posting my list anyway: Emmeline Peaches, Artemisia FemmeCock, Sugarcunt, Miss Ruby Reviews, and Bex Talks Sex. You all are fantastic and so deserving of this award!

If you made it to the end of this post, thank you so much! This was such fun to write, and again, I’m incredibly honored to be nominated.

Review: Good Clean Love Almost Naked Lube

As an ardent lover of sex toys, I’m always on the search for new, fantastic lube. When I was younger, I’m sad to say that I did not love lube as much as I do now, something I credit to a lack of education through sex-negative, abstinence-only sex ed programs. However, ever since I discovered that lube makes everything sexier and safer, I’ve never looked back, and I’ve been trying to make up for lost time by experimenting with different lubes to see what works best for – and with – my body.

I first stumbled upon Good Clean Love when I started writing for Unbound, an amazing sex toy subscription box company based in New York City. They sent me a lovely care package with some small gifts from previous boxes, and Good Clean Love’s Almost Naked Personal Lubricant was included in the mix. I was instantly drawn to the way Almost Naked felt – completely natural, just the way lube should.

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The Basics

Good Clean Love prides itself on making all-natural, organic lubes that respond to the user’s own body chemistry and natural lubrication. Almost Naked is Good Clean Love’s baseline lube – it doesn’t have a designated flavor like the Cinnamon Vanilla lube, and is different from the Bio-Match line (more on that at the end of the post). It’s also water-based, making this lube safe and compatible with latex and any and all toys.

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Almost Naked’s ingredients are conveniently listed on the back of its tube and include no petrochemicals, no parabens, and no glycerin. It’s edible and marketed as having an “almost undetectable scent”… well, we’ll talk about that in a minute. In addition to being all-natural and organic, this lube is also 100% vegan and not tested on animals, only adding to my love for it.

Good Clean Love Lube in Action

When thinking of how to describe how Almost Naked feels in use, I’m immediately reminded of a quote from Hey Epiphora’s first lube review: “My dream lube would melt with my body’s lubrication so well that I would forget I was using anything artificial.” Well, that pretty much sums up how I feel about Good Clean Love lube. Almost Naked enhances my own natural lubrication and feels invisible during use. Furthermore, when I’m cleaning up afterwards, I don’t feel the urge to immediately wash this lube off or hop in the shower. There’s no filmy or gunked-on feeling left over on my body after use, which is a major plus, and definitely speaks volumes to the naturalness of Almost Naked.

The consistency of Almost Naked is one of my favorite things about it. It isn’t watery or liquidy, but rather comes out of the tube as a gel. This creates a lovely, full-coverage feeling during use, and is especially fantastic with penetration. Almost Naked is also long-lasting (I very rarely need to reapply) and isn’t sticky at all.

Check out this consistency! And it doesn't slide off!
Check out this consistency! And it doesn’t slide off!

My only complaints about Almost Naked are the smell, taste and the slight film it leaves on my toys after use. Almost Naked has a sweet, lemon-vanilla smell, as explained on its product page, but Good Clean Love’s claim that Almost Naked’s scent is almost undetectable is not exactly true. While the smell isn’t horribly overwhelming, it’s definitely there. It’s not too discernible during use, but during application it’s noticeable, and leaves a sweet smell left over on my hands. Almost Naked also tastes sweet and lemon-vanilla-y, but this isn’t a huge issue for me as I’m currently not using this lube with a partner(s). If you use lube during oral and dislike flavored lube, this could be a problem for you.

Finally, Almost Naked leaves a very slight film on my toys after use. While I don’t get a filmy feeling on my own body after use, I find that this lube dries with a bit of film outside of my body. Cleaning up my toys isn’t difficult after using Almost Naked, but may require a bit of special attention to make sure there’s no film left over. Again, this issue isn’t a deal breaker for me, but for others it could be a problem.

Final Thoughts

Overall, I definitely love Good Clean Love’s Almost Naked lube. While I have some minor issues with it, the natural feeling of Almost Naked makes it my number one go-to lube of choice. I would recommend this product without hesitation to anyone and everyone who wouldn’t mind the smell, taste, or slight film the lube leaves outside of the body.

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While I obviously adore Almost Naked, I’d be remiss if I didn’t briefly discuss another kind of Good Clean Lube I’ve tried and found more serious problems with. As I mentioned above, Good Clean Love also has a line of Bio-Match lubes that seek to “mimic the body’s natural equilibrium” and match healthy vaginal conditions. One of these Bio-Match lubes is Restore. While it’s similar to Almost Naked in terms of its gel-like consistency and natural feeling, Restore has a distinctly different smell and leaves much more film outside of the body than Almost Naked. Restore’s smell is almost chemical, and the film it leaves on my toys is a major issue for me. I can definitely see how Restore and Good Clean Love’s Bio-Match products and mission in general could be beneficial for some, but for me it creates problems that are too large to overlook.

You can find Good Clean Love’s products on their website, over at SheVibe, or at Unbound’s online shop.