No, that's not the name of my next story, though I do have one in the works that hopefully will show up here. Not any time soon, though; I currently work for a small video-games company and we are amidst a major push to get our next product out the door. It's exciting: we're trying to make the first hardcore RTS for iPad. E-mail me for details if you so desire. But no, that's not what I came to talk about here.
If you're on this website, you probably have, you know, needs--or, as I like to call them, "manly urges," because 'manly' is an inherently funny word. Also, if you are at thi swebsite, you may have difficulty fulfilling your manly urges: for optimum fulfilment, one desires womanly co-operation, and womenfolk are sometimes uninterested in aiding a man in this quest. So, one turns to alternative, sometimes artificial, means.
All of which is simply a fancy way of saying, This is a post about sex toys.
Most sex toys designed for men are tacky, absurd, occasionally frightening, and--most importantly--some combination of "awkward", "unsatisfying" and "expensive". Since the seventeenth century man has struggled to make himself an artificial sex partner, generally succeeding in some ways but failing on others. The most basic ones for sale today are hand-held and typically made of rubber, silicone gel or some other semi-stretchy material. They range upward from there to full-blown silicone dolls, five feet or more in height and close to 100 pounds in weight, and costing thousands of dollars. All in the search of something to boink when you can't find someone to boink.
Almost all of these products have serious shortcomings. Smaller ones are portable but sacrifice almost all of the "simulation" parts of the toy; you move the thing up and down and it feels like you're jacking off. Additionally, unless you're using a Japanese "meiki" toy (see toydemon.com), the inside of the object might not bear any resemblance whatsoever to an actual vagina. For a more realistic feel, you have to scale up into larger and larger toys... which gets more expensive and more unwieldy. There's the Fleshlight, which is about as good as the handheld ones get; there are larger products designed to resemble the hips and rear end of a woman, typically a porn star; there are larger pieces like Pipedream Products' "Fuck Me Silly" line; and finally the sex dolls, which are full-body silicone instead of inflatable transparent vinyl. The RealDoll, generally accepted to be THE best sex doll around, may give you a full-size fake woman to actually fuck, but how easy is it to manipulate "her" (it) into the positions you want? And how do you clean it up when you're done? And how do you store it?, in an economy where roommates (or--gasp!--living with parents) have become the norm rather than the exception.
And let's not even talk about temperature. These things cool to room temperature--I mean, duh--and that's not necessarily fun to stick your dick in. You can warm them, sure, but the larger the object is, the harder it is to heat. Most toy manufacturers advocate submerging their products in warm water, but that can take ages depending on the size of the object (RealDoll anyone?), and it almost never works anyway: they float. Besides, the moment you take it out, it acts like any wet object does in open air and begins to cool down--especially on the inside, the one place you want it stay warm but also the one place you can't towel off.
All these problems apply, in greater or lesser amounts, to all the products listed. Simply put, the bigger a toy is, the more fun it is to do, but the harder it is to clean, hide and (in some cases) use.
And that's where we finally get round to the title of this post: the Soloflesh. It's the best of both worlds.
Most products are made with pure silicone rubber, but Soloflesh takes it in a different direction by being, essentially, a water balloon crossed with a double-walled drinking cup. The outside curves inwards to create the, well, vagina, creating a semi-hollow object which can be filled with water. It gets up to remarkably life-size proportions; if you use warm water, it also heats up to body temperature, without any of the mess described above. The resulting object does have a water balloon's fragile, unwieldy nature, and the instruction manual (it has an instruction manual) warns not to rest full body weight on it, but you don't have to fill it up to full capacity, and it's arguably easier to use if it isn't.
The water makes it heavy, but also lifelike--the object has pretty realistic physics (which is understandable when you consider that humans are about 60% water by weight) and is fun to spank, if you're into that. Additionally, water changes the sensation of the toy. Most fake pussies create stimulation either through tightness of diameter (some vaginal "openings" are too small to even stick a pinky finger into), really silly interior textures (see: Fleshlight) or by just giving up and providing you with something motorized, like a vacuum pump or a bullet vibrator. The Soloflesh, instead, does it with water: it pushes on the inside passageway, causing it to tighten but also allowing it to expand when penetrated. It's an excellent sensation.
Finally, because of the physics of water, you can lie on your back, stick the thing on facing whatever direction you like, set it rocking... and then go hands-free. There's no other toy on the market which can do this.
No toy is without flaws, and the Soloflesh is no exception. One big one is that it's hard to inflate--you have to create a seal on the faucet with your hand and "overcharge" the object with water to achieve intended functionality. It is fragile and heavy, limiting the ways it can be used, and if it pops you're going to have a disaster area. It's not discreet, since you have to take it to and from the bathroom both before and after use; it can be filled with air, or even used empty, but given that warm water is so much of the device's charm, I can't imagine it would be nearly as satisfying. It does not have an anal opening; I suppose they might create an alternate version which does, but an all-in-one-der is unlikely, given the interior engineering. The texture of the vaginal canal is... well, there isn't one; it's basically perfectly smooth. That isn't a downside per se, but a good interior texture can elevate a toy from "good" to "great" (the Cyberskin Intimates Virtual Sweetheart is nothing but interior texture, but is the most lifelike product I've found) and I feel like an opportunity was lost. And finally, it's rather realistic in visual design, down to the pussy lips, which can be a turn-on for some but a turn-off for others, depending on how you handle the uncanny valley.
I've gone through hundreds of dollars in the past on a quest to find something that works and works well. I think the search is over. The Soloflesh is unlike any other product available, achieving an excellent compromise between practicality and satisfaction. I hope this company goes far, and I'm doing my bit to help them. And for everyone out there who's looking for a different angle on a sex life that is rather more lonely and desperate than they'd like to admit; this is for you too. I've been there, and it sucks. But while we're stuck in this pity party, we might as well have some fun, right?