In our pursuit of reader service and cheap thrills, we passed out sex toys to a group of volunteer reviewers. Here are their undercover findings.

Salamander sex

Love Jel-Lee Pleasure Kit for 2, $35.95

For the couple on the go, here’s just the thing: four push-button, remote-controlled sex toys. None of that awkward and annoying foreplay that wears out your tongue and twists your neck. With the Pleasure Kit for 2, just plug the Fantasy Unicorn into one of the two variable-speed, interchangeable controllers and watch its little horn wiggle. The hard part is not laughing.

“Love Ring of Desire” looks like a sea urchin with giant, silver testicles. “The Enchanter,” a bulbous banana, was so daunting that we didn’t find out if it really was “a captivating anal rendezvous in the expression of love.” While the toys may appeal to men by combining the thrill of power tools with the joy of holding the remote, they’re more like having sex with Day-Glo pool toys buzzing with the enchanting call of an electric razor. They have a skin-like feel–if you’re a salamander.

But then we discovered … the Magic Wand. Maybe they’re onto something. It’s a giant lavender cucumber that vibrates, offering “spell-binding sensations for a vaginal state of euphoria.”

“Umm, that feels pretty good,” she says. “Maybe I can find my G spot.”

Just as soon as I find the remote.

‘What’s that growth?’

Cyberskin Wireless Cockring, $19.95

From a pair of young newlyweds:

He said: First of all, the material it’s made out of is great. It’s nice and soft and very stretchable.

She said: It definitely stretched. But I found it extremely distracting on a purely visual basis. If he came at me with that thing on without me knowing, I would seriously think to myself, “What’s that growth?”–and I don’t mean that in a good way.

He said: However, that said, the hole for the testicles was a little too small for my tastes and gave the feeling that your balls were being squeezed tightly by a mysterious third hand.

She said: I’ve gotta be honest–watching him get the thing on was difficult. There’s nothing sexy about watching him try to squeeze flesh-colored rubber around his balls.

He said: The actual vibrating sensation felt pretty good and the great thing is that you can adjust the rate of vibration intensity to your specific tastes.

She said: That thing could hardly be called a vibrator. My cell phone has more vibration than that.

He said: The biggest complaint I have is that the cockring makes it harder to get deep penetration; it just feels too shallow with it on.

She said: I agree. Mostly, it just felt like it was in the way. It was a lot of extra bulk for a little added pleasure. We ended up taking it off in order to get what we really wanted.

True love

The Chloe Jones Masturbator, $26.95

At first I was dubious. The “Genuine UR3 Realistic Skin” is a lurid purple color and smelled strongly of new plastic. Not very sexy. The packaging says that the sex toy is a perfect likeness of porn star Chloe Jones, whose silicone hypersexuality is to me the epitome of repulsive exaggeration.

I gently heated Chloe up in a bowl of warm water and applied personal lubricant inside. I turned the lights down low, and hmmmmm … Chloe didn’t look half bad! She looked just like someone I have fond memories of. Much to my surprise, I discovered that Chloe, despite her namesake’s profession, was a virgin and that I was truly her first. Her manufactured maidenhead eventually yielded to my amorous advances, whereupon I discovered that Chloe’s internal anatomical detail is also excellent; she is realistically and pleasantly textured inside.

Regretfully, I doubted her at first, but now I am soooo in love … I cannot find the words. She will always be tucked away in a very special corner of my sock drawer.

Pushing limits

Male Attitudes Metallic Jel-Lee Anal Chain XL, $12.95
Boi toyz, Cyberskin, The Docker, $12.95

We’re a gay couple, together for over a decade, with a little freaky side now and then. We had just undergone the process of purchasing a new vehicle, kicking tires, choosing colors and options, so we decided to take these babies for a test drive, too.

The Anal Chain: Sleekly designed, with four cone-like “bullets” linked in a “chain” with a ring at the end in a lovely two-tone metallic rubber-like compound Jel-Lee–yes, it had that funky smell these toys all seem to have. Each “link” of the chain was nicely contoured smaller to larger, then suddenly returning to the connecting piece. It was not quite what was marketed on the packaging, thank goodness. The log chain shown there was ridiculously large and outstretched across young, muscular buttocks. We worked up to accommodating three of the four bullets, which was plenty. It was great. It did just what it was intended to do … push limits. It came with a free sample of Spice Lubricant. We decided to pass on that option. It was like ordering heated seats in Florida. The chain itself was more than enough.

The Docker: Unassuming at first glance. Nicely packaged clear, five-inch-long sleeve of a rubber-like compound, Cyberskin–not too much of the odd odor this time. The purpose of this item is for docking. We’re not talking boats here. Please do your own research as to what docking specifically involves. Ask a gay man or Google it. There was a full definition with phonetic spelling on the front. Wow, what fun. This allows men of any circumcision status a way to enjoy the sensation of foreskin. This is a fun, warm-up item. It can be shared or used one at a time. A great value with plenty of uses.

There were plenty of things going on to keep any and everyone happy. It was like having a mini-orgy with just us. ‘Twas lovely.

Bigger isn’t better

Waterproof Krystal Fantasy Vibe, $14.95

Just for grins, I requested an item of a size that would make my boyfriend of two-plus years feel personally insecure. Two days later, I received an absolutely majestic pink jelly vibrator: the Waterproof Krystal Fantasy Vibe. The Krystal Fantasy is bright pink, see-through, waterproof, ribbed, bumped and veined for your pleasure and features “a handy wrist strap for portable thrills.” It uses two AA batteries which were not included, and the vibration ranges from subtle to Richter scale.

I nicknamed the monster “Big Pink.” Length and girth are not the way to think about this bad boy; one really must consider total cubic displacement. I’ve never seen anything of this size in plastic or in person. The standard response from most people upon seeing the vibrator was “Oh my God” or “Ow.” (One gay male friend said, “Honey, that’s just a warm-up,” but he’s a size queen). Also remarkable was the disagreeable aroma of rotten burning rubber, certainly not a smell I associate with pleasure. It was so appalling that I decided to encase Big Pink in a condom before any testing could commence.

On a recent Saturday afternoon I decided to, um, take the plunge. It was not a carefree undertaking. I have enjoyed several vibrating toys in my time, but this one was just too wide, and it kind of hurt even with plentiful lube. In the interest of scientific testing, I did give it the old college try with some success, but in this case bigger is really not better. (Had the shaft portion been just slightly thinner, it would have been heavenly.) On the plus side, I was pleasantly surprised at the low noise level of this vibrator. For those to whom size really matters, this is a must-try! Alas, for me the negatives outweighed the positives, and Big Pink will not be invited to live in the special nightstand drawer with the other toys.

Pyrex pleasure

Tickle Wand by Phallix, $40

If putting a glass toy in your special no-no place sounds unappealing, think again. I, too, was a skeptic until my partner and I had the chance to review the “Tickle Wand” by Phallix.

Phallix is the Mercedes of the glass toy world. All of their products are made of medical grade borosilicate glass–the same stuff Pyrex dishes are made from. All Phallix toys are non-toxic, can withstand extreme temperatures, and are, most importantly, dishwasher safe.

The Tickle Wand is one of Phallix’s more basic models, and at 40 bucks, it’s safe to say this line isn’t cheap. They are, however, substantial and beautiful pieces of glass … and as I was soon to find out, well worth every penny.

The Tickle Wand is clear 7-inch-by-1-inch glass with a curved tip at one end and a “ball” at the other for easy gripping. At first we were intimidated by its lack of flexibility, but soon realized that that wasn’t an issue. Its rigidity, coupled with the extreme smoothness of the glass, worked much to our favor.

My girlfriend jumped at the chance to use the Tickle Wand alone in the shower and was delightfully surprised at how well it retained heat. (The same can be said for using it after it’s been chilled for a while in the fridge.) And after accidentally dropping it in the tub, we were both impressed by its durability.

Needless to say, the three of us had a fabulous time, and I would encourage anyone into adult toys to add one of these showpieces to their collection. They come in a rage of colors and styles–many so intricate and beautiful, you’ll feel guilty hiding it in the nightstand drawer.

Dong and vibe

Ready-4-Action Toyz Strap-On with Clitoral Stimulator, $39.95

Having never used a strap-on together before, when I brought the “Ready-4-Action” home to my girlfriend, we were both a little intimidated. Nevertheless, after a couple of glasses of wine one evening, we retired to the bedroom to gear up for some fun.

Ready-4-Action consists of a seven-inch purple jelly dong with veiny detailing and a “clitoral stimulator” that looks a little like a bunny. It has two ear-like projections that, when a bullet vibe is inserted, are supposed to tickle your naughty bits into throes of ecstasy.

I can safely say that this contraption had its advantages and disadvantages. If you’re a fan of deep penetration, Ready-4-Action isn’t for you. The bunny ears not only impede depth, but if you’re not careful, they can also skewer the delicate areas they’re supposed to be titillating. The nylon straps are fashioned as a thong rather than a jock strap, and are a bit uncomfortable for the wearer.

We found the best way to approach this toy was to put the receiver in total control. That way, they don’t have to worry about being stabbed by the bunny ears. The next time we use this toy we plan on cutting the ears off. Once that’s done, the combination of the dong and the vibe should prove to be a good time.

Bunny head

Supersoft Honey Bunny Cock Ring, $15.95

This hot-pink cock ring and vibrator combination had the consistency of a gummi bear left out in the sun too long: A little too soft and slightly sticky. Was this why it is called the “Honey” Bunny? Worse, it smelled funny: a mix of rubber and industrial cleaner. Luckily, after we washed the toy with the included “Toy Wash,” the smell faded somewhat. Still, it was going to take a couple of strong drinks to get excited about using the Honey Bunny.

We put the battery in the three-inch hard plastic vibrator and turned it on; it was slightly louder than expected but had plenty of horsepower for its size. Beware: There is no on/off button and if you twist it too far, it opens up and the battery falls out. We assembled the toy by inserting the vibrator through the head of the bunny: The toy instantly changed from cute to psychotic.

We wondered: Who came up with the concept of defiling cute animals by turning them into sex toys? (We’ve seen butterflies, dolphins, kitty cats and bunnies.) Wouldn’t most people prefer a cock ring without a smiling face on it? After all, two is company, three is a crowd … (at least for us).

After another glass of wine for her and a scotch and soda for me, we were ready to try out our little bunny. The concept of this toy is great: Basically a hands-free vibrator for her and a cock ring for him. But under recommended usage, the toy is less than perfect: The vibrator doesn’t hit the right spot for her and the hard plastic vibrator was kind of uncomfortable for him.

Roman helmet

Clito-Brush, $7.95

The Clito-Brush isn’t at the top of our list of favorite toys. The packaging is totally insane. Some of my favorite elements are: a woman with breasts so disproportionate to her body she might collapse under their weight; another woman who has no nipples; a picture of a turgid plastic purple penis with the Clito-Brush in place (so you can figure out how to use the toy); and several American flags.

The toy is more difficult to describe. The Clito-Brush is the color of Barbie Doll flesh and is made of slightly firm latex. Basically, it is two rings; one goes around the twig and behind the berries, the other just around the twig connected with a skinny patch of rubber fingers designed to “Stimulate the Woman to Exquisite Climax.”

Clito-Brush should probably be renamed “Piece of Crap That Doesn’t Do Anything for Either Person.” The rubber fingers aren’t sturdy enough do much stimulation for her, and the added silicon definitely didn’t do anything for him. My spouse and I got a lot of laughs out of this toy: It looks absurd once you put it on. It reminded me of Roman soldiers’ helmets with the bristle across the top. It is crazy looking, inexpensive and sensational, but definitely not practical for creating intimacy.