When I was managing editor for a small press, my boss would often walk into the office and say (somewhat sarcastically) to my colleague, “How’s it going, George?1 Living the dream???”
I’m thinking about this saying because—even though I actually did enjoy that job a decade ago—now I’m truly living the dream: I work from home, and a large chunk of my time is devoted to sex toys. Every day, I analyze toys, write about toys, discover new toys, search for the best toy prices, and of course use toys.
To be honest, I’m still surprised by how interesting my life has become—it’s a world away from my vanilla past—so I decided to open myself up to questions about it. What did my Twitter followers want to know about my sex blogging lifestyle? Here’s the scoop on all your most-asked questions!
ASK ME ANYTHING: I'm doing something different on Twitter thru Friday!
Do you have any questions about what my life as a professional sex toy reviewer is like? If so, reply here, and I'll do my best to answer them!
Q&As may be transformed into a blog post! pic.twitter.com/B4P3QEE8L5
— Felicity (@PhallophileRev) February 27, 2019
How Did You Get Started?
This is the single most common question I’m asked—maybe because this work is so damn cool, and all you open-minded folks out there are wondering how to get into it too. ☺
You won’t be surprised to hear that I didn’t grow up dreaming of being a sex blogger. I also didn’t use toys as a teen, or even in college; it was only in my mid-twenties that I realized that enjoying sex was OK—and more than just OK. Pretty fucking great, really.
When I get involved in something, I get really involved. My interest in toys and masturbation became a passion, and I wanted to learn more and more. My first sex toy purchases were total flops, and after that, I kept looking for better options for my body—that’s how I discovered body-safe sex toys and began reading review blogs. I was on a mission, and my mission was dildo-centric.2
Phallophile Reviews was born out of my desire to spread the word that body-safe silicone dildos can be really, really different from one another. That there’s a whole world of colors and textures and firmnesses out there waiting! I wanted people to have what I’d been looking for: lots of specific details about silicone toys, all collected in the same place. As my blog grew and my favorite online sex toy stores & makers started sending me more products, I was able to refine my dildo guide—WAY beyond what it would’ve been if I’d kept buying the occasional toy or two for myself. I have a dildo suitcase and a couple dildo shelves now, for starters!
So What Was It Like at the Beginning?
I was nervous at first, because I was sharing something intimate with total strangers on the internet. I also didn’t know what I was getting myself into, because it isn’t like sex blogging is a four-year degree plan. But I decided, What the hell, my opinions are worth something and this’ll be fun. That’s when I started writing reviews of toys I’d already owned, plus I began the silicone dildo firmness guide. Then, one Friday, I figured out how to buy a domain and a self-hosted WordPress site; I chose to pay for a month’s worth of hosting, because this blogging thing might be a terrible idea.
It took me two days to set up the bare bones of the site: choosing a theme, publishing a few posts, uploading photos, customizing and arranging menus, designing a sidebar, and more. But by the end of that weekend, I had a site that looked…OK. Not too bad, I guess. I began signing up for affiliate programs and creating social media accounts so I could let other people know about my idea. The next week, I promoted my firmness guide on Twitter for the first time, and I was super-duper excited when the Big Gay Review was my first follower!
Tantus was the first company to offer me a toy for review, and I chose the Vamp Super Soft—for me, a welcome break from the firmer silicone dildos of yore. I also hit the jackpot—seriously, the timing couldn’t have been any better—when Peepshow Toys decided my site didn’t suck too much and asked if I wanted one of this new line of softer, realistic dildos they’d just added. I ended up loving the toy, and the ColourSoft dildos are still one of my most-read reviews! After that, I reached out to more manufacturers and retailers, and I was on my way.
How Many Hours a Day Do You Spend on This? (What’s a Sex Blogger’s Routine Like?)
Sex toy reviewing isn’t a full-time job, for pretty much every pure reviewer out there. I also work as a freelance copyeditor and copywriter, providing services for groups as different as a seminary and a tax foundation, in between taking sex toy pics. Often I can set my own schedule, but deadlines come and go. Sometimes I get to spend a whole week in a row analyzing sex toys! And others, I manage to check my social media a few times a day and answer a couple blog-related emails.
Just another day at the office, right???
The beginnings of a tiny dildo army (with other squishy reinforcements) has gathered around my computer as I conduct blog business. We fight for quality body-safe silicone! pic.twitter.com/VcV7zuXVXB
— Felicity (@PhallophileRev) March 6, 2019
Blogging (and writing in general) might look fairly simple from the outside. It’s not technically difficult to create a blog post. But there are a hundred little details that go into a thorough, professional-looking review. Plus there are those times when your theme updates and your bullet points randomly disappear sitewide, so you spend the next three hours researching the CSS that might possibly fix it.
Sex toy reviewing is a fascinating mix of writing, editing, photography, photo editing, graphic design, web design, market research, social media outreach, product knowledge and comparative analysis, customer (=reader) support, creativity, blind luck—and masturbating. It’s expanded my horizons, and I don’t regret any of it.
What Do You Do with All Those Toys? You Can’t Use Them All!
So yeah, there are a lot of them that either sit on display or—worst-case scenario—live in my unloved toy suitcase. A good number of these are display-only dildos:
This morning I was enthusiastic enough to try to create *a little* order in my crazy sex toy closet!
Not pictured: Suitcase full of unloved toys, backpack of cheap suction cup dildos I let some friends throw at a door, assorted restraints & thrusters on another shelf, etc 😄 pic.twitter.com/K8tTDRg1LA
— Felicity (@PhallophileRev) February 2, 2019
So why keep them all, rather than selling them or even giving them away? It’s because I want to be able to analyze the fuck out of every new product that comes my way. Sometimes that involves pulling that vibe that I haven’t used in 8 months out of its hidey hole; charging it; and comparing it to a similar, newer vibe.
I’ll definitely have to add more shelves to the upper half of my closet sometime in the not-too-distant future!
What’s the Hardest Part of Sex Toy Reviewing for You?
My biggest struggles are these two:
- Balance. My writing tends to be dense; I want to pack in so many details, to give readers all the info they need to make the most informed decision possible. But I also don’t want to bore anyone who’s not so interested in shore durometer or non-porosity. Many reviewers report not having a ton to say about any particular plain dildo, but I’m the opposite: I could easily go on for a couple thousand words in each and every silicone dildo review I write. And vibes, of course, have even more functions to discuss!
- Pictures! Taking photos is my least favorite part of reviewing. First, I’m always working to find new backgrounds that are appealing. Plus lighting, and all that lint that silicone collects…I want a quality toy to look as good as I know it feels, but photography is less rewarding for me than writing is.
And Finally, My Favorite Question:
My mum always said that making your favourite hobby into your job would ruin the joy of it. What’s your opinion Felicity?
— Becs Williams 🏳️🌈 (@nijntje239) February 28, 2019
Does turning pleasure into work diminish the fun? In some ways. I don’t get so excited when I open a new sex toy’s box anymore, because I know there will be more new ones—whenever I’m ready for them. And there’s bullshit in every line of work. Like conflicts between coworkers, there are most certainly disagreements within the sex toy industry, between bloggers and retailers and manufacturers, etc. Personally, I try to do my own thing, and really own the writing I’m producing.
But really, I do love the work I do here. This site is my creation, and it’s a joy for me to see it grow. Plus, no matter how many new dildos, vibes, and other toys that come my way, I’ll always enjoy comparing the new one to my past experiences. There are still new things under the adult-novelties sun! I’m lucky to have gotten into this industry at a time when vibrating motors are getting better, toy materials are getting safer, and quality options are getting more affordable. I’ll say, “YES!!!” to all that, any day of the week. 💖
(I’ll answer unless you’re asking for nudes, offering me low-quality toys, or trying to pay me to put your words on my site! 😉)
* * *
- George wasn’t his actual name; all identities have been changed. ☺
- Possibly because I’d only experienced seriously unfortunate vibes that I got nothing out of, whereas I could always come on a dildo. Of course I’ve now expanded into reviewing vibes that don’t suck. (With occasional unfortunate exceptions!)