Exotic berries - anal beads by Cal Exotics - review by Vamp Ire

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Excellent Bang for the Buck

This is a safe, exceedingly pleasurable, and simple toy to use. I think the texture and size is perfect, and I'd love to find something like it in 100% silicone now that I know how much I enjoy it. I think that it will be perfect for beginners!
Easy to use. Phthalate-free. Feels fabulous!
Smells after use. Can't boil. Can't use with silicone lubes.
Rating by reviewer:
extremely useful review
You may have seen traditional anal beads|Traditional Anal Beads before. They usually consist of a few hard plastic beads knotted along a string, perhaps with a plastic loop at the end used to pull them out. As you can imagine, those are often a nightmare to clean and can be fairly uncomfortable if seams are left in the plastic. Due to those issues, I've always avoided them. I'm a bit of a neat freak, and the idea of trying to get the string clean just made me tired thinking about it.

I'd thought about purchasing stalk beads before, which consist of a long shaft of material with beads along the length that can be more easily cleaned. I had difficulty finding beads that seemed like a good beginner's model though, since they were often made of cheap materials featuring potentially dangerous phthalates or higher-end (and higher-priced) toys made of silicone. Since I wasn't sure about whether I'd like them all that much, I just stuck with my silicone butt plug|Silicone crystal cote™ butt plug and didn't bother.

Imagine my delight when I found these Exotic Berries|Exotic berries from California Exotic Novelties, which are phthalate-free and priced at the lower end of the spectrum. They would be easy to clean, and safer to use. I jumped at the chance to review them!

When they came to me in the mail, I was very curious about what they'd smell like. I didn't notice any odor at all. That was fabulous! Unfortunately, I have found that after anal play they do smell. I've cleaned mine multiple times, and they still smell more than a bit like fecal matter upon close examination. Really though, how often must you examine them that closely?

They are made of silicone-based TPR, which means that at least 10% of the product is silicone. The rest is made up of thermoplastic rubber that is phthalate-free. TPR is a slightly porous material, and it shouldn't be used with silicone-based lubes. It is higher quality than jelly, but not as great as silicone (which you can boil to clean). This sort of toy is cared for by washing it with antibacterial soap before and after play, which is nice (but not as thorough as the boiling method available for 100% silicone).

The berries are extremely soft and stretchy, and very easy to maneuver during sex play. I liked the fact that they were firm enough to insert without difficulty, but soft enough that I could easily bend my body or walk around with them in. That is important, because the insertable length of the toy is about 8 1/2 inches. That may sound like a lot, but if you take things one bead at a time it is really easy to use the whole length without discomfort.

The berries are graduated in circumference. The largest one is around 2 3/4 inches at the widest spot. I think that even someone relatively new at anal play will have no issue with that girth, since it is worked up to gradually (and isn't that much different in size than the girth of a woman's thumb).

The soft nubs on the berries feel absolutely exquisite. I was worried that they'd be rigid or rough to me, but they were so flexible and soft that all they contributed was pleasure.

The handle was easy to grasp, and it was made of the same flexible material (so it never gouged into me during sex play). My only caveat about it is that since it is so flexible, it doesn't completely serve the purpose of a proper flange. It is possible for someone to push all the beads and the handle inside of a person's body if they are determined enough, even if it isn't likely. Needless to say, that wouldn't be recommended.

Something to keep in mind about this toy is that it is somewhat porous, and it wouldn't be that easy or safe to cover it with a barrier. So, I really think it is best as a one person toy. It could be used with couples if they are fluid bonded, but otherwise it is so cheap that it is worth getting one for everyone.

It is also worth mentioning that any anal toy can get a bit messy, and since this is a flexible toy with a lot of stretch you don’t want to “pop” this out of your bottom and potentially get sheets or surfaces dirty. So, I suggest using a towel or something when you finally decide to remove the last bead. It makes clean up a lot easier! I also recommend that even fluid bonded couples think about wearing nitrile gloves during this sort of play.
I have used this toy in solo and couple play now. Although it was a lot of fun to use by myself, it really shone with my partner! In both cases the beads were prepped by slathering them in a nice layer of water-based lube, and then slowly working them into my body. If you are a woman new to this, you might find that it helps to use a vibe on your clit while inserting the beads (or having a partner do it). I find that it relaxes me, and that it helps create a pleasant association right away. I think being on your back or bent over on your knees is easiest, but your mileage may vary. I asked my partner if he had any difficulty sorting out how to insert them into me, and he said it was very easy. He felt that the process was really aided by my honest feedback though, since I often explained what I needed at any given time. That always helps!

Once the beads are in, what do you do with them?

Well, as a solo toy I mostly ended up leaving them in or tugging on the handle slightly while maneuvering my other toys (a Johnny Dildo and Hitachi Magic Wand). This created a sense of fullness, and a bit more of a "textured" feel to the vaginal penetration. I wanted to pull these beads out slowly while I had an orgasm, but honestly I've yet to be able to time this right during solo play. I'm usually so lost in orgasm that I don't think of getting fingers in the handle and pulling them slowly out to prolong things. I will say that it is fun to do after the fact though!

During couples play, my partner was pretty darn active with these. He said the trick was to leave the last bead in at all times, so you can slide the beads in and out slowly without having to start from scratch every time. He was also able to time things a bit better, so when I was having an orgasm he carefully pulled them out one by one in a steady straight line. I thought the feeling would be good, but I was unprepared for just how good. It sent me through the roof! I wondered if he felt any benefit from the beads, since I definitely felt a difference in penetration. He said that I felt maybe slightly tighter than usual, but most of the benefit he gained from them was enjoying how actively and obviously turned on I was by the experience.

I really enjoyed this toy, and I think it is an excellent one for beginners. The only downside I can see about this product is that you can't boil it, and after use it will definitely start to take on an odor.
This product was provided free of charge to the reviewer. This review is in compliance with the FTC guidelines.
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  • Cock Wrangler
    Nice review!
    I've heard that toys only need to have 5% silicone to use that label on packaging, but who knows... either way, it's certainly not enough silicone. :)
  • Thanks!

    My source for the figure of 10% based it on their understanding of labeling laws, it unfortunately did not come directly from the sex toy manufacturers. I would be more than willing to share my source with you (if you would like to write me privately). I would love to get any information that you may have on the topic.

    In the meantime, I wrote to both California Exotics and Dow Corning (a major producer of rubber polymers). I'm hoping to get a statement from one or both of them on the topic of the percentage of silicone often found in silicone-based TPR. When and if they answer my query, I will be posting the results here! :)
  • Great Review! It's nice to see how much you enjoy using this product :)
  • Essin' Em
    I really appreciate the trouble you've gone through to talk about materials and safety!
  • Excellent review. You give a well rounded opinion and I feel like I can make a truly informed decision about this product.
  • Jimbo Jones
    Fun Factory's Flexi Felix is probably the most similar item that is made out of silicone. This sounds like a good entry to anal beads though. Thank you for the thorough and honest review.
  • Nashville
    I have a few TPR silicone toys... well, more than a few and I'm able to use one with silicone lubricant. The crystal cote butt plug, it's definitely compatible. I try to do a spot test on my toys to see if they're compatible, while most get gummy it never did and this toy and my silicone lubricant have been inseparable since.

    Incredibly thorough review, this has to be without a doubt one of the more impressive first verified reviews I've seen on the site. Welcome to the reviewing community!
  • Vamp Ire
    Thank you so much for your comments!

    Sleeping Dreamer, I am intrigued by what you have noticed in your personal testing. As is well known, silicone lubes will break down silicone toys (as is discussed in edenfantasys.com Lubes and Lubrications section). I'm wondering if what you have noticed simply means that there was a very low percentage of silicone in that product? Maybe the break down is hard to notice in the short term? Otherwise, I can't honestly make sense of it. I'm intrigued!

    I am currently waiting on a more complete answer from California Exotic Novelties. They have contacted me, but haven't answered my question yet. Dow has also contacted me, and I am very eager to share what they have to say on the matter. I am checking with Multibase (the part of Dow that would perhaps have more insight on this material). Needless to say, I currently have a bit of a mystery on my hands.

    Who knew that anal beads would lead to investigative reporting? HA! :)=
  • Jimbo Jones
    Sleeping Dreamer brings up a good way to test toys that contain silicone for compatibility with silicone-based lube. The general rule of thumb is: if the toy contains or may contain any amount of silicone, don't use silicone-based lube with it. Tantus is a popular toy manufacturer that only makes 100% platinum grade silicone toys and their testing has indicated that quality silicone lubes are compatible with their toys, but suggest that the lube/toy interaction be tested before jumping in head first, so to speak. That being said, I have always thought that silicone blends like TPR silicone are more likely to react with silicone lube, but Sleeping Dreamer's test has shown that this is not always the case. I would definitely suggest that you test the silicone-based lube with the toy if there is any possibility that the toy has any silicone in it, just in case.
  • Epiphora
    Oooh, these look really cool. And your review covers all the info I needed to know. Thanks for such a great review!
  • Airlia
    Wow, thanks for all the info on the materials. This is a beautiful review.
  • Dragon
    These are similar to what I reviewed Small Anal Beads by Tantus. Only those were silicone. Enjoy.
  • ZenaidaMacroura
    Those Small Anal Beads by Tantus have been discontinued. I wonder why. They looked kinda good to me.
  • ToyingCouple
    Don't know how we missed this review so long......you did an awesome job covering these beads. At the low price we may get two sets!
  • Viktor Vysheslav Malkin
    Nice review! Big smile
  • Kcito
    excellent review
  • Lady Neshamah
    thanks for the review
  • Eucaly
    Great review!
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