Wednesday, February 26, 2014

"Oral Sex" in a vibrator? LELO Ora review

"Oh, please, please, please let me review the LELO Ora!" I begged the wonderful folks at Good Vibrations. A toy that simulates oral sex, made by the luxury vibrator company LELO, sounded like a winner.

The description and video (bottom) made it sound lovely: silicone, beautiful design, with a nubbin that worked as a simulated tip of the tongue -- swirling and flicking. Lots of patterns -- some with all-over vibrations plus the "tongue," some alternating, some just the tongue -- and an intensity setting that claimed to be 30% over the manual settings.

Great idea, lovely design, but Ora doesn't live up to the claims, at least in my bed. The tongue flicks and swirls are very nice, but the nub is so small and the motions are so delicate that they don't come close to doing the job for me. You might love it, if your clitoris is so sensitive that light flicking and swirling are all you need, but I I found the "tongue" way too subtle for any more than a nice warm-up. The vibrating patterns felt really good, especially at the strongest settings (which weren't turbo, but still very enjoyable), but at the highest vibrations, the flicks and swirls were barely noticeable. (See update #4 below.)

The box and the marketing messages claim an "ultra-intense power setting at the touch of a button." I couldn't find any "ultra intense" setting, because as many times as I pressed the "+" button, the highest setting was intense, but not what I'd call "ultra intense."

So maybe, I told myself,  I didn't understand how to find that highest setting.

I turned to the "user manual" and quickly became cranky: The so-called manual had warranty, safety and charging information for all LELO products  in 12 languages -- but nothing specific to this product and no instructions!

Finally I found it -- all but illegible with its itty bitty grey font on grey paper, it said to go to and click on Customer Care to download the manual. Come on, a $169 toy can't have a page of instructions? A luxury sex toy company makes the "go to" notice practically impossible to read? Hello, LELO, I hope you're listening.

Here's where the LELO manuals are, so you don't have to hurt your eyes trying to find it. Except -- whoops! There is no manual for the Ora! I wrote to LELO:

Where is the user manual for Ora? It's not listed, and the included "manual" has no information whatsoever about using this specific product.

I had no problem figuring out how to turn it on, cycle through the patterns, and turn the intensity up or down. But how do I access that mysterious "ultra-intense power setting at the touch of a button" that the box advertises?

I got a prompt but unhelpful response from LELO, telling me how to turn the Ora on and off and cycle through the patterns. I knew that -- as I had told them. I still wanted to know where the "ultra-intense power setting" was that was supposed to gives 30% increase on the standard maximum power at the touch of a button. If we were just supposed to cycle the "+" button until it could go no higher, then tell us that!

Undaunted, I wrote to LELO again with that question. I added:

I have many sex toys, including many LELO products. I wonder how someone receiving this product as a first-timer would know how to use it when there are no instructions included, and the promised manual is not actually there.

2/10 update #1: LELO wrote me this:

Dear Sir or Madam, 
Thank you for your email. 
 If you press the center button, it will change mode, but if you press and hold it for 3 seconds, it will change to the ultra-intense power setting.

Aha, there's what I wanted to know. Why isn't this in the instructions? Oh, right, there are no instructions. Then why isn't this printed on the box? We're just supposed to intuit that we press and hold the center button for 3 seconds?

I'll try it and get back to you. Didn't want to make you wait for this piece of the puzzle.

2/11 update #2: LELO answered my "Why isn't this information provided on the box, in the instructions (whoops, there are no instructions), or in the video? How are users supposed to know this?" with this:
Our intention was let our customers "discover" it, however I will suggest our departments do some changes about the instruction in case more customers cannot find it.

2/21 update #3: Just received a lovely, personal email from Kathryn Catney, Communication Specialist at LELO, who actually read my review here (and is a "big fan" of my blog). She apologized for the lack of instructions and the useless responses from the Customer Care rep. She said that I must have received an early sample (true), and that all the purchased Oras come with a full "How to Use" manual, which is now online here.

2/26 update #4
I've retested Ora twice with the new knowledge of how to find the "ultra-intense power setting." Yes, it's better with that setting, definitely. However, the shape of the vibrator, while gorgeous and enabling it to stand upright when not in use, prevented it from working right for me. The "tongue tip" section is recessed. I would have preferred that it balloon from the vibrator rather than recede. The vibrating ring of the vibrator was very nice, but the "tongue" part was still barely noticeable. Sorry, LELO. 

We're all different shapes and sizes, including our genitals, so this might be just right for you. Clearly a lot of research, development, and attention to design went into this lovely product. It felt nice, yes, but in the end, it didn't do the job.

All in all, I think the Ora is a great idea, but if your idea of the perfect vibrator is the Magic Wand (reviewed here), you'll be disappointed. However, if you prefer a lighter touch and the idea of subtle swirls and flicks makes you quiver, the Ora might become your new best friend.

Thank you, Good Vibrations, for sending me the Ora and always being supportive of older-age sexuality.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Seeking LGBT reader quotes

Update: The book is done and going through the publishing process. Thank you for your help!

Needed: more LGBT reader quotes for my new book, The Ultimate Guide to Sex after Fifty (to be published Dec. 2014 by Cleis Press).

This book will be a valuable self-help guide for people over 50 of all gender identities and sexual orientations. However, right now, most of the experiences, comments, and questions that readers have sent me are heterosexually focused.

Can you help me fix that?

If you're over 50, identify as LGBT, and you're willing to share comments for publication, please email me or comment here with a few sentences about your experiences or views about any of these that strike your fancy. (Don't try to answer them all -- choose one or two and send me a paragraph.) Please include your age.
  • What has changed about your sexuality lately?
  • How has aging affected your sexual behavior, attitude, and enjoyment? 
  • What are the special LGBT issues related to sex and aging?
  • How do you keep the spark going in a long-time relationship?
  • If you're single now, how does age impact finding a partner or having sex with a new partner? 
  • What myth about sex and aging would you like to change?
  • What medical conditions have impacted your sex life, and how have you dealt with them?
  • How did your doctor react when you brought up a sexual concern? Did your doctor ever say something that offended you or led you to switch docs?
  • If you were having sexual problems, resisted going to a doctor or therapist, then finally did, and there was a treatable explanation for the problem, tell me your story.
  • What else would you like to share?

By emailing me or posting a comment here, you're giving me permission to use excerpts in my book if they fit. What you tell me may help others significantly.

If I use your comments, I won't identify you in any way, and I'll be careful to delete any details that might lead someone else to identify you.

Thank you for helping me make this book the best and most inclusive guide to sex and aging!

-- Joan Price 

Friday, February 14, 2014

Valentine's Day Reflection

For many of us who have had many decades of relationships, Valentine's Day is a time to reflect.

Personally, I am glad for every relationship in my life, whether or not it turned out to be right for me. Each one helped me refine who I was, what I had to give a partner, what I was looking for, and what sustained me and stimulated me vs. what boxed me in or hurt me.

I've remained close friends with past lovers and my first husband, and I treasure them in my life now. These are men whom I've loved and love still, and I know they feel that way about me, too.

Other past lovers I've lost touch with, but would love to bring back for a conversation about the past and the present.

Of course Valentine's Day is also about missing Robert, as it is for you if you've lost your love. But instead of today being all about loss, let's let it be about what we've found over our long life of loving.

I'd love to involve you in a discussion of how we see past and present relationships, what we've learned from them, what we see -- or hope to see -- in our future. Please comment and get the conversation going.

If you don't want to use your name, please identify yourself with a first name of your choice -- let's not have a string of comments from "Anonymous," okay? Please include your age.

(Do I really need to say that "please comment" is NOT an invitation to be spammed by purveyors of pills, porn, jelly toys, escorts, or other products and services? I moderate comments, and my community trusts me to keep the spammers out of the conversation. If, on the other hand, you're an author, educator, or blogger in a relevant field, I'm happy to have you include a link with your comment.)