50 Shades Toy Collection: A Review
4th OF October 2012
It's been the only book anybody's talked about this year (sorry, Booker Prize finalists).
And now E.L. James has brought out a range of intimate toys specially tailored to match her bestseller.
The question is: are they any good?
The collection, 'curated' by British online toy retailer LoveHoney - one of the best in the world, and an exclusive seller of things like the Happy Rabbit - comes in a variety of sets, from the small to the more elaborate.
They also, importantly, come with instruction manuals, which hopefully include tips about consent, cleanliness and use. Too many intimate toys are sold without any indication of how to use them healthily and with respect.
The entire range is, obviously, in black and grey - so what's on offer?
It runs the gamut, from the everywoman normal things - a mini G-spot vibrator, a bullet and a larger conventional vibe - to the more elaborate, BDSM accessories of the novel.
All the segments have names drawn from parts of the novel, from Hard Limits to You Are Mine to Inner Goddess.
Points for including two kinds of restraints, both a bed restraint kit and one designed purely for ankles and wrists.
Lovehoney had a problem to solve with this collection: that it has to satisfy people curious about very hardcore intimate acts, while still being accessible to beginners. They've mostly achieved that by sheer range.
There are degrees of difficulty here, from G-spot vibes up to feather ticklers and a 'first time bondage kit', and then to the flogger, spanking paddle and Ben Wa balls.
Hopefully people will take the hint to progress up slowly, taking on what they're comfortable with, rather than diving straight in and risking pushing their limits.
For instance, people who are used to soft restraints or no restraint at all might find it hard to stomach the You Are Mine metal handcuffs. There's a reason many intimate handcuff sets are soft or feathery - actual hard metal can be dangerous.
The material of the actual bondage kit itself - the flogger, paddle and riding crop- looks serviceable, but maybe a bit too soft. Pleather or imitation-leather surfaces wear very fast, are hard to clean, and can get dirty quickly.
The main disadvantage of the entire kit? It's been designed by Lovehoney itself, not by recognised separate brands - meaning that it's essentially a serviceable, discount version of what's available.
A better plan might have been to collect products from a range of retailers and designers, so that potential buyers could read reviews and ask advice before they buy.
It's crucial to read reviews of intimate toys to figure out their materials and if they're right for you. Lack of information might mean making a less informed choice that doesn't quite fit a need.
There's a reason why intimate toy reviews are some of the most-read on the internet; you can't return them once you've tried them out!
The best way to use the 50 Shades Of Grey kit? Look through the product list. What do you have? What do you want?
Then look at all possible options for the product you'd like. Ben Wa balls, for instance, are often best bought high-quality, as are glass massage wands and leather products. Others, like blindfolds, only need to pass muster.
Also maybe don't buy the whole lot at once. Novelty in the bedroom is great, but getting overwhelmed with toys without knowing how to use them judiciously can change things for the worse.
Total review: a fantastic selection for beginners - more advanced players may want more quality or niche products - but kudos to Lovehoney for such a big and unabashed range of toys.
Image: LoveHoney's 50 Shades Of Grey range.