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The Scent of Jasmine   by Greta Christina

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Reviewer Greta Christina has worked in and around the sex industry for over a decade writing about it, editing books about it, and living it. She edited Paying For It, a collection of articles by all kinds of sex workers: dommes, escorts, peep show girls, T-girls. Her novella called Bending is out in Susie Bright's book Three Kinds of Asking For It (published by Simon & Schuster and can be found at amazon.com). In response to overwhelming member requests for reviews of sex toys, sexy films, and other sex whatnots, Ms. Christina brings her girl-about-sex wisdom twice monthly to Adult FriendFinder. You can check out Ms. Christina on her web site, gretachristina.com.

Jasmine Vibrator
$129.00
Available at Good Vibrations, http://www.goodvibes.com/


I’m so glad I gave this one a second chance.

It’s funny. I just finished writing an online workshop about sex toys [look for it and many more sex workshops in our upcoming Sex University], and in it, one of the top pieces of advice I give to anyone trying a new sex toy is to give it a second chance. If it doesn’t live up to your fevered expectations the first time around -- try again. Try using it in another way, in another position, at another setting, or just another time, when you’re not so wound up.

And yet, I have a tendency to ignore my own advice. Especially when it comes to vibrators. I’ve been so disappointed by so many vibrators in the past -- weak-ass hunks of plastic that hum insipidly to themselves, designed (I’m guessing) by men who wouldn’t know what a pussy wanted if there was one picketing in front of their office holding up a sign in giant red letters. (Hm, there’s a vivid image...) So if I don’t like a new vibrator right out of the box, I have an unfortunate tendency to toss it aside after five minutes and try to find some nice conceptual artist who can make sculpture with it or something.

I’m so glad I resisted the urge this time. The Jasmine vibrator isn’t a perfect vibrator -- but it has an awful lot going for it. And while it did take a while for it to get me off, it got me off harder and longer that any vibrator has in a good long time. In fact, the thing actually got me ejaculating -- something I almost never do when I masturbate.

But it took me two tries to decide that I really liked it.

Let’s get a few stats out of the way so you know what the heck I’m talking about. Made by a company called Emotional Bliss, the Jasmine is one in a line of vibrators designed -- and packaged -- with women’s bodies and desires in mind. It’s shaped in a curvy, groove-y shape that’s designed to feel good sliding over a woman’s clit and vulva, and the contact area is stippled all over with soft little stipply nubs. You can set it to vibrate steadily, with five different intensity levels -- but you can also set it with an assortment of fluctuating or pulsing patterns, if you prefer a little teasy variety instead of (or in addition to) your basic relentless thrum. There’s eight different patterns plus the steady state, and each one can be set with the five different intensities. So that gives you 45 different settings if you do the math. Plus it’s on a rechargeable battery, so you’ve got the portability -- well, almost -- of a battery-op vibrator, with the strength -- well, almost -- of a plug-in.

And the design is a good one. The curvy shape really did feel great on my pussy -- it’s a bit reminiscent of Candida Royalle’s Natural Contours vibrators, if you’re familiar with those -- with a slippery, sensual feel that was as comfortable in my hand as it was on my clit. The motor is stronger than the Natural Contours, though, and the stipply nubbins on the contact pad give the toy just enough friction to amp up the intensity, without being so friction-y that they chafe or annoy. And the fluctuating/pulsing patterns add a sweet note of teasy unpredictability, which makes a nice change from the jackhammer pounding I get from my usual vibrator.

So why did it take me two tries to give it a thumbs-up?

For one thing, it’s not quite as strong as I typically like a vibrator to be. It’s certainly more powerful than your average battery-op piece of crap... but even at its top setting it’s nowhere near as well-muscled as the plug-ins I love so well, and it was just barely strong enough to get me off. Granted, I’m an intensity freak -- but I’m not the only one.

There’s a reason the Hitachi Magic Wand is a consistent best seller for sex toy vendors everywhere.

But while the “just barely strong enough” thing is what made the Jasmine take so long to get me off, it’s also -- positively, with no doubt in my mind -- the reason it got me off so hard and ferociously when it did.

See, like a lot of people, I have much more intense orgasms when I build up to them gradually. If I’m being teased -- if I’m being built up and let down a bit, and then built up and let down again -- then when I finally come, it hits me like a screaming banshee and shakes my bones like an electric bass set at 11.

When I masturbate, though, I don’t usually bother. I know, I know, masturbation is like a sacrament to my sexuality, I should be making love to myself with the same patience and devoted attention I give to my lover, etc. etc. And sometimes I do. But I masturbate almost every day, and if I turned it into a sensual adoration of my inner sex goddess every time I whacked off, I’d never get to work on time.

But the Jasmine forced me to take my time. It was strong enough to get me off, but it wasn’t strong enough to do it in two minutes flat. It made me be patient... made me luxuriate, and tease, and build myself up slowly.

The “just barely strong enough” thing also encouraged me to actually rub the toy around on my clit, instead of just finding a sweet spot and holding it there like I usually do... which I’m glad I did, since the texture of the toy is remarkably pleasant. A lot of sex toys with texture tend to go overboard, with a “more is better” philosophy -- but the little nubs on the surface of the Jasmine are soft enough, and subtle enough, to give a gentle little kick of extra sensation without being irritating.

The pulse/fluctuation settings helped immensely with the teasy build-up thing, too. After some trial and error, I settled on the “up up up UP down” pattern (I called it the “Sisyphus” pattern), which brought the vibrator up slowly to its full intensity and then dropped it like a rock back down... over and over and over again. It was excruciating -- but it was excruciating in the best possible way, a tantalizing seduction that wound me up as tight as a fiddle string. Eventually I was having tiny little orgasms every time it hit the top level... and that’s when I started ejaculating, with small but ferocious squirts, like my body was trying to squeeze every possible bit of pleasure into every orgasm before the power dropped back down again and I had to start climbing the hill again.

Over, and over, and over again. For I don’t know how long. I wasn’t watching the clock.

After a while, though, I’d had it with the tiny little orgasms. I wanted one big fierce one, to finish me off. I fumbled around with the controls, to get back to the steady-state, full-intensity, no-fucking-around get-me-off-now setting. And that brings me to my second problem with the Jasmine, the one that really irritated me the first time around -- the fact that the controls are a little fiddly.

More than a little fiddly, actually. You have to push the buttons pretty hard to get them to toggle over, and then it takes a couple of seconds for the toggling to commence. And if you want to switch over from one of the teasy pulsing/fluctuating patterns to a steady pounding -- which a person might well want to do once they’re done with the teasing and are ready to just come already -- you have to switch the thing completely off, and then back on again.

I hadn’t realized this my first time out, and I spent a frustrating couple of minutes cycling through the patterns and trying to find the steady, solid, Just Vibrate Already Damn You setting. By the time I’d figured it out, my tiny orgasms were well behind me and my mood was long gone, and I gave up on my One Big Final Orgasm and settled -- somewhat peevishly -- for the dozen or so little ones I’d already had.

So that was my first session with the Jasmine. What was different the second time around? Well, for one thing, by my second sessions I had R’d the FM (“read the fucking manual”), which I realize I should have done the first time, and I’d figured out how to make it go to the settings I wanted with a minimum of fuss. I could have my cake and eat it too -- I could have my tantalizing buildup and my tiny spurty orgasms, and I could have my final big one as well.

But more importantly, I’d accepted the vibrator for what it was. I’d stopped looking for it to get me off in a big fat hurry and get me out the door. Instead, I was looking for it to slowly wind me up into a frenzy and leave me limp and gasping in a damp puddle (literally). It was almost like having sex with a partner, with the surprises, and the teases, and the little imperfections that catch you off guard and grab you by the throat.

Once I’d accepted that, it was much easier to enjoy it.

Now, there are plusses and minuses to almost any sex toy, and the Jasmine is no exception. The control buttons really are kind of fiddly, even when you’ve R’d the FM, and the “turn it off and then turn it back on again” thing to switch from pulsing to steady is just dumb and annoying. And while like many rechargeable vibrators it combines the best features of battery-ops and plug-ins, it also combines some of their worst features as well -- it only holds 60 to 90 minutes of charge when it’s charged up, and it takes several hours to charge, so it’s not as long-lasting as either a battery-op or a plug-in.

And a rather serious minus is the cost. At $129.00 (the Good Vibrations price), this is not the most expensive vibrator in the world... but it ain’t cheap, either, and there are plenty of perfectly good vibrators out there for less than half the cost of this one. Of course, the important question is: Is it worth it? And I really can’t tell you that. I got mine as a free sample, so of course I think it’s worth what I paid. But if I’d spent three figures for a vibrator that makes me soak the bed but makes me work like crazy to get there? I don’t know. I have a freelance writer’s budget and several drawers full of sex toys already, so for me, maybe not.

But I liked the Jasmine an awful lot once I got the hang of it, and I think it’s going to make it into the regular rotation. So maybe it would be worth it to you. You’ll have to decide that for yourself.


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