Sex & Relationships  
comments_image Comments

I Signed Up for 5 Sex Toy and Lingerie Mail Subscriptions -- It Was a Little Bit Sexy, and a Whole Lot of Yucky

Probably not the best way to spice things up in the bedroom.

Continued from previous page

 
 
Share
 
 
 

The Fantasy Box

At $59 a month, this one is the priciest of all and — surprise, surprise — by far the nicest. Finally, a Birchbox-for-sex that doesn’t seem like the result of ransacking a seedy adult store! It came with a sleek, attractive vibrator (the kind that doesn’t scream, “put a condom on me!”), a decent-sized soy-based candle that doubles as a massage oil once it starts to melt, a small bottle of “hot pink” lube, a blindfold and a bright-red lace camisole with a matching thong. The products were all lovely — but that isn’t the best thing about this service, which also offers a platinum $159 monthly package. Its standout asset is that each box includes instructions — one might even call them dares — for ways that couples can increase intimacy, communicate and experiment.

But it isn’t enlightened in all ways: It’s completely hetero-centric with directives “for him” and “for her.” Big boo.

Before I got to the goodies, the box instructed us to complete two enclosed surveys and then discuss our answers after a romantic dinner. Some of the multiple-choice questions were a wee bit ridic. For example, one prompt “for her” begins, “I am turned on by” and offers the option “walking into a room lit with candles & music playing & you there standing with a rose.” Which is to say, the survey portion frequently veers into the cliché and formulaic, quickly becoming reminiscent of a 3rd grade slumber party — or “The Bachelor.” But points for encouraging couples to candidly share their feelings about everything from public displays of affection to anal sex.

It’s the second part of the instructions where things get interesting. You’re told to agree on who will be the “follower” and who will be the “leader” for this exercise; it also, to its credit, encourages establishing a safe word, even though nothing extreme is suggested. The leader is told to open the box, hand the blindfold to the follower (and the negligee if the follower “is a woman”) and tell them “where to go, what to wear … & how to wait for you (lying on the bed, kneeling on a pillow by the door, etc.).” The leader is encouraged to make use of the toys in the box: “Light the massage candle if you have decided to use it. Start to touch them lightly. Kiss up their leg. Trail something light across their stomach. Maybe bind their hands with a necktie.” Not revolutionary stuff — but there is something freeing about having outside instructions provided to you. It feels like a dare and, weirdly enough, takes the pressure off. If that necktie move bombs, it’s on that stupid box, not you.

It might have had its moments of cheesiness, but this one certainly came with the highest percentage of things I will not throw away, and my highly-skeptical partner actually offered, “I might be into subscribing.” That’s about as positive of a review as any of the current Birchbox-for-sex companies are going to get.

 

Tracy Clark-Flory is a staff writer at Salon. Follow@tracyclarkflory on Twitter.

 
See more stories tagged with: