My Magazine > Editors Archive > Sex Secrets > Try, Try Again
Try, Try Again   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 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,

The Butterfly Effect, $45.00
Available at Good Vibrations and

When you've been buying and reviewing sex toys for as long as I have, you pick up some biases against certain basic designs. A lot of sex toys are good ideas in theory but don't hold up in practice: you keep seeing them in toy catalogs, and you keep thinking to yourself, "God, not that again. Doesn't everyone know by now that those don't really work?"

And strap-on, hands-free, butterfly-style vibrators were always at the top of that list. The straps couldn't hold the vibrator against your clit firmly enough, and the vibrator was one of those weak-ass battery things anyway, and the toy couldn't get you off if you were having sex with God herself.

Recently, however, I've had to admit that two of my more entrenched sex toy prejudices -- the one against little battery-powered vibrators, and the one against remote control toys -- were seriously out of date. My lovely testing assistant and I had a delightful time with the remote control vibrators we got from Extreme Restraints. And the little Pulse-Right Bullet Vibe from Good Vibrations has actually made it into the regular rotation. In a household loaded with eighty zillion sex toys, most of which we've used once or twice and then forgotten about, the Pulse-Right almost immediately jumped into the treasured spot in the bedside drawer. Sex toy technology has clearly improved since my prejudices were first established.

So now I'm on a mission, to re-test some of the toy styles I'd given up on years ago. And The Butterfly Effect seemed like a good candidate. The Good Vibrations website had nothing but good things to say about it, and while I don't always agree with Good Vibes, their recommendation will always make me perk up and take notice.

Let me back up for a moment, to fill in the audience members who are just joining us. The Butterfly Effect is a butterfly-type vibrator: a battery-powered vibe that straps onto your pussy, with an elastic strap that goes around your waist and two more straps that go around your thighs. The idea is that you get vibrations on your clit and your labia without being anchored to an electrical outlet -- and without having to use your hands. So the question of the day is: Does it work? Is the Butterfly Effect a genuine improvement, or is it no better than the crappy butterfly vibrators of old? Does it stay in place firmly enough, and vibrate strongly enough, to actually get you off?

I'll say this first off: The Butterfly Effect is a damn sight better than any butterfly vibe I've tried in the past. For one thing, it stays in place a whole lot better: it has a little curved hook that goes inside your pussy, and while that's largely meant to tickle your G-spot, it has the very important side effect of keeping the toy in place. Between the hook inside my pussy and the adjustable straps around my waist and thighs, the vibrator stayed very snugly against my clit. It wasn't quite as firm as I might have liked, but it was making me pretty damn happy.

But of course, the G-spot hook means you can't wear this toy during standard intercourse -- which for lots of people is probably the main point of a hands-free, hassle-free vibe. That doesn't mean it's not a useful toy, of course. It just means you have to think outside the box (as it were) of penile-vaginal intercourse. (More on that in a moment.)

As far as the strength issue goes...

Well, yes. It's significantly stronger than any butterfly toy I've tried before. The Butterfly Effect had me wiggling, squirming, slowly pulling up my shirt to play with my nipples, frantically stripping off my shirt to get it the hell out of the way, sprawling on my back with my legs open, scrambling to my hands and knees to get my ass in the air... you get the picture. It was a pretty darned good time.

But it wasn't quite enough. Not on its own, anyway. The Butterfly Effect was strong enough to get me very turned on indeed... but it wasn't quite strong enough to take me over the edge. The toy has ten speeds (steady, pulsing, and escalating), but I immediately cranked it up to the top level, and it still didn't quite do the trick. Not by itself. Now, I'll admit that I like seriously intense jackhammer vibrations... but I also know that I'm not the only girl who does. (The Hitachi Magic Wand is a consistent best-seller for a reason.) If I couldn't get off with the Butterfly Effect, there's a lot of other women who won't be able to, either.

So if it's not designed to use while you're fucking, and it's not quite strong enough to get you off by itself, what on earth is it good for?

I'll tell you what it's good for. It's good for getting fucked in the ass. And it's good for getting whipped. (Or spanked. Or otherwise wailed on.)

Seriously. When I was on all fours getting it up the ass, I was thrilled to have the toy strapped to my pussy. Especially with clamps hanging from my nipples and my ass tingling from a good lashing. It made my clit feel pampered and petted instead of hungry and neglected. It added a good, steady jolt to Greta's Sensory-Overload Follies. So, with a bunch of other stuff going on, the vibe offered just enough stimulation to nudge me over the cliff. And it was surprisingly liberating to have a vibrator that just went about its business without me having to screw around with it.

Yeah, sure, I could have used my hand to hold a vibrator in place. But that's such a hassle sometimes, especially when I'm getting it from behind. It's uncomfortable, and it's awkward. And sometimes it's just flat-out impossible. I can't hold a vibrator with my hand if I'm on my hands and knees, or crawling on the floor, or fondling my lover, or if my hands are tied to the bed.

There are other pleasures the toy might work with as well. Blowjobs, say, or tit-fucking. But I think where the Butterfly Effect really shines is in getting done from behind. See, when I was bent over my bed, or sprawled on my belly on a pile of pillows, I could grind my pelvis against the pillows or mattress or whatever, giving myself just a little more pressure and a little more oomph. When I wasn't bent over and grinding the Butterfly into hamburger against my clit, I found that the pressure wasn't quite enough. And if I were on my knees, say, giving a blowjob with this thing strapped on, I think I'd be annoyed instead of excited, and still craving just a little bit more.

A couple of other quick disclaimers. While the curved hook does provide a certain amount of G-spot stimulation, it doesn't provide tons. That didn't bother me particularly, but if the G-spot hook is the main thing you want from this toy, look elsewhere. And while the Good Vibes Website claims that the Butterfly's tail teases the anal opening, that didn't work for me in the slightest -- the tail hardly vibrated at all, and anyway it wasn't long enough to reach back there. This toy works on your clit and on your labia, and to a lesser extent on your G-spot. Don't expect more than that.

So what's my final verdict? Is The Butterfly Effect a good idea whose time has come, or is it back to the drawing board? I'm kind of on the fence about this one. The butterfly design is seriously improved since the last time I tried one -- but it still needs a few refinements. It's fun, but it's still a little frustrating, and it would be enormously improved by making the vibrator even just a little bit stronger.

I think this one mostly depends on you. If you're devoted to firm, serious, no-prisoners vibrations, or if the hands-free thing isn't that big a deal for you, you might want to take a pass -- at least, until the design's had a couple more upgrades. But if you're okay using a vibrator with a lighter touch, or if a vibe you can set and forget fits especially well into your sexual repertoire, then the Butterfly Effect is probably worth your while. Just don't expect miracles.

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