Darling Nikki is Rebellious Magazine’s resident sex toy reviewer. While she writes her reviews from the perspective of a cisgender woman, she wants to remind her readers that any sex toy can be for any body!
I know, it’s been awhile, but pelvic pain can seriously slow down one’s sex toy reviewing process! My last two installments of Darling Nikki were about internal and external sex toys that worked for me while I was in treatment for hypertonic pelvic floor dysfunction. I may be out of treatment, but I still deal with pelvic pain everyday. Even if I’m not physically in pain, I’m still thinking about it and regularly doing my exercises and stretches so I don’t end up back in physical therapy.
There are several products, though, that have been helping me on my road to recovery for the last few months, and I’m going to do a quick round-up of a few in this post. They aren’t all toys, but I put them all under the “pleasure products” label. The theme here is versatility—because all of them have been helpful for medical reasons, but they all have fun/sexy uses as well!
I have a bit of experience with dilators and dilating—a process by which one uses dildo-like insertables in graduating sizes to help stretch the vaginal canal, sometimes due to vaginismus, pelvic floor dysfunction, or after gender affirmation surgeries. Until I came across Crystal Delights’ glass dilators—created in collaboration with Dr. Peter Pacik, a plastic surgeon who started treating vaginismus in 2005 (he’s since retired)—I’d only seen and used silicone or plastic dilator sets. (In fact, I even recently helped assess a set of forth-coming silicone dilators from Blush Novelties!)
I was curious about glass, especially because silicone lube is frequently recommended to pelvic pain patients—it’s great for people with very sensitive skin and it’s incredibly slippery. But you can’t use silicone lube with silicone toys! Shellie from Crystal Delights was kind enough to send me a set of their glass dilators for review and let me tell you—they’ve been an experience to work with. First of all, there are six different sizes altogether (although they are labeled as numbers 3, 4, 5, 6,7, and 8) ranging from slightly larger than my index finger to Wait, that’s gonna go where?! Dilators numbered 3, 7, and 8 are sold individually, while 4, 5, and 6 come in a set together—the latter three are the sizes that will work for most people, while #3 may be for those who need to start very small, and #7 and #8 may be for people with larger than average partners OR folx who just want something to aspire to, I guess. Both are noble goals!
There are many things that set these dilators apart from every other set I’ve seen. While the glass’s lack of “give” creates a very full feeling, it glides in so much easier than any other material. The bases are ergonomically designed with a rim that sits closer and more comfortably against the vulva for longer-term dilation, and the wide range of sizes is nice. The dilators also don’t exceed a length of four inches, the average length of the vagina, while most other dilators get increasingly longer as they get wider.
It’s also really easy to play with the temperature of glass by running it under warm or cool water. Be careful, though, as these can get hot or cold very easily, and glass retains heat for awhile. Honestly, playing with temperature, for me, is more about fun than practical application. I never used to consider dilating fun, but Crystal Delights has changed that for me. It can still be clinical if that’s what I want, but with glass, there’s more room for playfulness.
The first time I cleaned them, I also noted the fact that they’re hollow. Have you ever been interested in seeing what the inside of your vagina looks like? As the dilators size up, they give you an interesting vantage point! (If you’re interested in medical play, they could definitely add some fun to a scene.) Because of the shape, I’ve also used this vibrator against the bases of larger dilators, which feels really nice and actually helps me relax/open to take more of the larger dilators in. (For the record, I’ve used numbers 3 through 7, but I’m not sure when/if I’ll make it to 8!)
These glass dilators by Crystal Delights are beautifully made and have really changed how I feel about dilating. You can tell how much thought and precision went into creating them, and Crystal Delights is quite rightfully proud of this sexual wellness product. More expensive than typical silicone dilators, if you want a more luxurious and versatile dilating experience—or find that silicone is too painful to use for dilation—they are well worth the investment. The set of sizes 4, 5, and 6 come together in a black satin storage bag for $170, while the other sizes are sold separately. You can purchase them directly from Crystal Delights or the official Pacik Dilators site.
If I had a dollar for every time a customer at Early to Bed asked me what the Sili Saddle was in my first few months of working there, I could probably purchase a Sili Saddle. The Sili Saddle is a little silicone disc with a familiar origin story. So many products for vulvar or pelvic pain were created by women themselves when they couldn’t find what they needed (including Crystal Delights’ glass dilators and Ohnut), and Sili Saddle is no exception. Developed by a woman coping with vulvar pain, the Sili Saddle may look simple, but a lot of thought went into its design. It can sit comfortably against the vulva for a number of uses…
I haven’t been able to wear tight pants for months, so I put it in my undies one day and wore my tightest yoga pants. It was super comfy! (Silicone isn’t breathable, though, so it can only be worn for a short period of time.) Sometimes I run it under cold water and use it as a soft, cool compress against my vulva after dilating. It’s even great as a buffer between a vibrator and the vulva if you can’t take direct stimulation. (It is the PERFECT companion for my Doxy Die Cast, which you’ll read about next.)
If you’re too sensitive for skin-to-skin contact, smear some water-based lube on it and use it as a non-vibrating “pleasure pad” for solo or partnered play. But wait, there’s more! The Sili Saddle is also great as a barrier between the base of a dildo and the pubic bone during strap-on sex to reduce pubic bruising. Because it will absorb shock from any friction, it can even be used as a protective barrier for healing perineal scars postpartum when sitting down (though I don’t have personal experience with this use).
Handmade by “beaver loving Canadians,” the Sili Saddle is incredibly versatile and can be used for both sexy and less-sexy times. Even if I’m not experiencing external pain, sometimes I just slip it in my undies because it’s that dang comfortable. Which is maybe a little strange, but it feels like my vulva is being hugged or sitting on a cloud. My vulva likes hugs and clouds. You can buy a Sili Saddle directly from them for $42 or, if you’re local, stop in at Early to Bed and pick one up for $38. And say hi if I’m there!
It’s no secret that during Chicago’s winter months (and let’s face it, there are a lot of them), I loved my WARM from Warm, Inc. Their latest product, TOUCH, is a heated lube dispenser. You read that right: heated lube (or massage oils) on demand! It’s a wonder it took so long for something like this to make it to market. It’s such a smart design—it takes under five minutes to heat your lube, and then with a wave of your hand (under the laser-activated automatic dispenser), you’re ready to go. TOUCH was super helpful for doing my internal stretching by myself; reapplying lube to gloved fingers is not an easy feat. (The fact that it was also warm was a bonus!) I want to note that while this product seems perfect for folx who have trouble squeezing lube out of a slippery bottle, it does require (suggested) monthly cleaning, which isn’t the easiest process, although TOUCH does all it can to make it as simple as possible with an included funnel for cleaning. Betty’s Toy Box sells TOUCH for $119.
The Doxy Die Cast is probably the most powerful wand vibrator on the market and with an aluminum body, it’s also the heaviest. The weight won’t work for some people and for others (myself included), most settings will be much too powerful. But the lowest setting is almost gentle—and I don’t always use it for clitoral stimulation, either. Time to get real: symptoms of hypertonic pelvic floor dysfunction can include constipation and perineal or rectal pain. At one point, my physical therapist suggested trying a vibrator on the perineum and I thought the Die Cast would be perfect because of its broad head and rumbly vibes. I was right—it eased some rectal discomfort. Keeping in mind the powerful wand can be used on any sore muscles, it’s an incredibly versatile toy and quite frankly, it’s pretty to look at. The original Die Cast was brushed aluminum, but Doxy also offers a few very sparkly colors. (Mine is purple!) (Another note for you kinksters out there: the Die Cast is so powerful, it’s great for forced orgasms.) You can get a Doxy Die Cast for $190 from SheVibe.
Columnist’s full disclosure: I wouldn’t be able to provide quite as many reviews without the occasional generosity of manufacturers and, sometimes, online retailers whose missions I can get behind [insert obligatory sex joke here]. However, my reviews are always honest and unbiased.
This month I’d like to thank Crystal Delights for providing the Pacik Dilators for review, Betty’s Toy Box for providing TOUCH, SheVibe for providing the Doxy Die Cast, and Sili Saddle for providing their amazing product as well. Deepest gratitude to each of these companies for supporting the work I’m doing surrounding sex toys and pelvic pain.