These beads are made of TPE, a polymer blend that is more porous than silicone, but less so than jelly. I was initially worried since the package makes no mention of this material being phthalate-free; however, I did some research on Eden and concluded that TPE does not contain phthalates. However, it is still porous, and therefore not the best choice of material for a toy that is meant to be used anally.
The TPE material feels like a glossy, smooth, firm rubber. I compared this toy’s material to that of my Severin Small, and the Severin’s silicone feels much squishier than the Anal 101 beads do, although the spaces between the beads are flexible. The beads themselves almost feel like a hard plastic, but they do have much more give to them. I sniffed the toy and could not detect any perceptible odor coming from it.
My Advanced Anal 101 beads are a bright blue color, although they are also offered in orange and pink. The string offers about 10” of insertable length, and the safety ring is about 1.5” in diameter. The beads themselves are very small, to the extent that intermediate or advanced players won’t feel most of them. The smallest is a mere 0.25” in diameter, while the largest is slightly less than an inch in diameter. I own much larger plugs and have had anal sex, so this size is well within my abilities, perhaps overly so. I would say that the “Advanced” word in the title is misleading, but the advanced user would likely have larger, more expensive, and better-quality toys in their arsenal and wouldn’t look twice at these beads.
When I selected this toy for review, I expected the beads to be pliable enough to stay straight without being held that way. However, they come out of the package curved and are determined to stay curved. It took some work to measure this toy’s length since the toy resisted my efforts to straighten them. I also examined the beads closely and noticed that there is a tiny seam running lengthwise across them; however, it's not noticeable to the extent of causing discomfort during use. The toy is also designed with a retrieval ring that is intended to keep them from getting lost, but I’m not sure how reliable it is – more on that later.
I would not consider this toy discreet, since anyone with basic knowledge of sex toys would be able to figure out where these beads are supposed to go. However, they are suitable for travel, won't create any suspicious buzzing sounds in your luggage, and are waterproof for your convenience.
As I mentioned earlier, I don't think that TPE is a suitable material for anal toys, given that it can't be sterilized and may harbor bacteria. However, the design of the toy itself is another important performance issue if you're going to put it up your butt, since anything lacking a flared base or other secure retrieval mechanism could lead to an embarrassing ER visit, and I don't think anyone here wants that. I immediately tested this with my Advanced Anal 101 beads by examining the ring at the base of this toy.
Upon initial impression, it seemed to be relatively firm, and I experimented by giving the ring a good, firm tug. Nothing seemed to come loose or break, and it is large enough that it shouldn't be difficult for even larger fingers to grasp and hold onto when covered in lube. However, I did notice that the ring is very flexible, perhaps TOO much so. I could very easily squish it in half lengthwise, with only two fingers, so that it is smaller than the diameter of the largest bead. In use, this could translate to the ring following the beads inside the unfortunate user’s rectum. I would hope that no one would be foolish enough to try this, but with all of the toys on the market and the number of people who buy and use them, you never know.
TPE is less porous than jelly but more porous than silicone, and therefore it can’t be fully disinfected. The material also is not heat-resistant, so it can’t be boiled or thrown into a dishwasher. I cleaned my beads with antibacterial soap and water, although you could also do this with a commercial toy cleaner as well. I used water-based lube, but these beads are compatible with silicone-based lubes as well.
I’m not happy about the fact that this toy is made of a porous material, since this is the first non-silicone anal toy I’ve ever used. I plan on storing my beads in a plastic baggie or the original packaging. I’m a bit paranoid about how clean this toy is now that I’ve used it, and don’t want to just throw it in my toy box.
The packaging for this toy is in no way discreet. It’s a typical clamshell-style case, with the toy visible through the clear plastic on both sides. The front proclaims the name of the product, “Shane’s World Advanced Anal 101”, in large letters, and features a picture of what is supposed to be a college girl in a skimpy t-shirt and panties.
In use, this toy is comfortable and easy to insert. I personally could not really feel the first three or four beads, but the larger ones created more of the pleasant popping sensation that I expected from this style of toy, and they felt very good. Even the larger of the beads required relatively little effort and lube (don’t get me wrong, you still obviously need lube for ANY anal toy), and presented little if any challenge for me. Once I fully inserted the toy, I could definitely feel it inside me, but I did not feel full or stretched by any means and I definitely wished that the largest bead was a lot bigger.
When I had inserted the toy up to the ring, I was relieved to find that it was indeed wide enough to stop the string of beads from going all of the way inside. The ring remained nicely tucked between my cheeks and safely outside of my body, alleviating any worry that I had, but I'm still unconvinced that this ring is secure enough to withstand more vigorous play or an excess of lube. Upon removing the beads, I experienced some more pleasurable sensations, but the last few were so small that they came out in one big heap instead of popping out individually and gradually. In my opinion, the design and size of this toy would have been perfect had the smallest bead started at about the diameter of the fifth or sixth bead from the bottom, and increased in size from there. I also would have preferred that the ring be made of a stronger material.