Earlier this year my initial toy purchases started my “tiptoe through the tulips” and I’ve had a liking for them ever since. So when a tweet popped up inviting me (and a whole lot of other people) to purchase a “pleasure toy”, from Australian company Downunder Toys I quickly decided to put up my hand, mentioning a longstanding desire to encounter their particular Tulip in an up close and personal manner.
As a result of this exchange I was offered the toy at a substantially discounted price in return for an honest review. This was a proposal I happily accepted, given that the toy retails at the time of writing for AU$139. While this is very reasonable for the quality of the product, my finances are quite stretched at the moment, so I might have left purchase till later if not for this. Now I’m so glad I was feeling adventurous that day! Read why below…
Unpacking the Tulip
The package arrived within a week, sent in an anonymous postal envelope via Australia Post. Now the Downunder Toys website states that shipping rates are AU$18 flat rate postage within Australia and AU$25 overseas, but on my bill the shipping was AU$19.80, so make sure you double check this cost when ordering.
Inside the parcel the item was secured in bubble wrap. The toy itself was contained in a clear flexible hard plastic container, enclosed in a printed matt paper sleeve which largely obscured the contents from view. The front of the sleeve provided basic details of the contents and featured Downunder toys orange and hot pink logo, while the rear included succinct references to the contents including the battery operated controller, as well as claims about their product, and a tiny image of the Tulip presumably intended for quick identification when stocked in stores. Downunder Toys claims that their toys are ergonomically designed to fit a woman’s natural contours when reclining, and the information on the printed sleeve goes on to further state that the design is developed in consultation with customers. They make a further commitment that their products are made from “the safest, quality, silky, silicone”. Mention is also made of the “battery powered, removable 7 speed vibe, attached to a long lead for convenience”. This vibe arrived inserted into the base of the Tulip. When I unpacked the box I found the vibe, the cord and the Tulip nestled together in a clear plastic ziplock bag.
Once free of the ziploc bag I was able to appreciate the colour, heft, size and shape of the Tulip. I had ordered the “Blue Iris” colour from a selection of six colours – none of which I was pleased to note, was the candy pink so beloved of so many toy manufacturers, and I am pleased with my colour choice. The purplish blue has an attractive metallic sheen which gives the toy an attractive faintly mottled sheen. This colouration, combined with a small hair-like line on the rear of the “bud”, some tiny air bubbles, swirls on the base and a little roughness near the opening for the battery reassure that the toy is indeed a handmade item without detracting from it aesthetically or physically. Up close the organically curved lines which converge on the bud of the toy, give further aesthetic and sensual appeal, while suggesting textural pleasure when inserted. The over all silicone surface of the toy yields to touch in a manner which feels somewhat rubbery, but is none-the-less very pleasant to my way of thinking.
In my hand the Tulip felt solid and as “firmly dense” as promised; the “medical grade silicone” has both firmness and pliability, and its length and girth were comparable to other toys (and penises) I have encountered before. Average but with interesting prospects… As such it might not appeal to size queens, although I found in use it felt satisfyingly full, perhaps because of its shape.
According to the manufacturers the shape of the Tulip is “ergonomically designed for a women’s body when reclining”. What this means is that the Tulip is a statement in offset curves, with a smaller swell at the base in front and a more substantial swell half way up in the rear. This in turn leads to another smaller swell as the Tulip “bud” emerges, slightly oval in shape and curved forward for G (or P) spotting. Downunder Toys translates this into measurement on its website: “tulip tip is 1.4″ at the widest point tapering down to 1.2″ at the neck of the tulip. The shaft is 1.6″ diameter at the widest point with the smaller eliptical side being 1.53″ the total insertable length is 6.5″.
It is possible to bend the shaft of the toy in an arc by applying firm hand pressure, but the resistance of the silicone avoids any suggestion of floppiness. The base is solid and flares out to enable the toy to stand upright. This same structure also means that the toy could be used safely not only vaginally but also anally; inserted either by hand or using a harness.
The other component of the Tulip as presented is the Ultra 7 vibrator, which comes securely inserted in the base of the toy. Although Downunder toys mentions on the packaging that the vibe is removable, you need to read their “Product Care” link on their webpage in order to find out how to do this safely, as tugging on the lead is a big no-no. A simple statement such as “Please refer to Product Care section on our website for care of your new toy” on their accompanying paperwork would be helpful.
The lead is around 800 mm’s or 31″ long, and plugs into the hand-held controller using a small jack. The controller, made from hard purple plastic with a menu, the control buttons, an in-use indicator light and the Downunder Toys TM on the upper face, is packed for transport without batteries and feels sturdy but lightweight in that state. However once the sliding battery compartment on the rear is loaded with 4 AAA batteries it takes on a comfortable weight, resting solidly in the hand. It took me close to a fortnight to test this toy partly because I was unwell and partly because I had no batteries on hand (I try to avoid using them); and kept forgetting to buy them on my rare forays to the supermarket.
The control buttons consist of a clearly marked on/off button and a button which allows the user to cycle through the seven speeds on offer. While the control buttons are close together, in practice I found it was not difficult to distinguish between them as they are slightly different shapes which are aligned at right angles to each other. The vibration speeds provide variety in the form of the following: three different speeds of steady vibration, an escalating vibe, a pulsating vibe and its faster, more intense level, and finally a setting which provides both escalation and pulse. In use the vibration mostly feels closer to rumbly than buzzy, though the two higher speeds of the steady vibe feel distinctly buzzy to me. I have a distinct personal preference for rumbly vibes so the lowest speed of the steady vibe, the escalating vibe and the combined escalation and pulse were my preferred options in use.
THE TULIP IN USE…
For the purposes of this review I used the Tulip on two separate occasions several days apart.
On the first occasion I coupled the toy with Sliquid water-based lubricant, and found that I needed to reapply the lubricant three or four times in my hour and a half session, although this runs contrary to what the manufacturers suggest on their website. However now I am in my 60’s I find I routinely need to reapply lubricant generously so this was not overly unusual, and is not so much an issue with this product. I do this because I dry out more quickly with some toys, and also because I take longer to come, and must take at least one toilet stop along the way.
Out of interest I then checked out alternative lubricants online but eventually decided against using anything which wasn’t water-based for fear of damaging the toy. However a subsequent conversation with the company assured me that using an oil based lube would be fine, as the medical grade silicone is completely inert. I had already decided to purchase some Sliquid Sassy, to see if this thicker formula lasted longer, so I went with that the second time around. The lube worked fine in action, and I only needed to reapply once, but it proved to be a shorter session so that may have had something to do with it.
In use the silicone toy was grippy but not in an unpleasant way, and the textual grooves on the toy scarcely registered. What did register was swelling of the Tulip “bud”, which was delightfully noticeable. Downunder Toys refers to the Tulip as a “mid-arousal” toy, and given the generous (but not oversized) head of the toys, and the previously mentioned shape I find this statement reasonable. I also found that the swollen tip worked very well in stimulating the lower half of my vagina, especially using short measured strokes, was very stimulating around my g-spot and also worked effectively in my A-spot area when using harder thrusts. Because of its pliability and size it is easy and quite pleasurable to turn the Tulip while it is inserted so the hump is pressing against the upper walls instead of the tip.
Normally I find I need to hold onto a vibrator or dildo most of the time when in use in order to keep it in place, or to manage the patterns, speed and timing of my thrusts. However with the Tulip but I found that the combination of grippiness, the base flange and the corded controller meant that i could often clench and move myself rather than the toy in order to experience pleasure. When I did feel the need to hold the toy, a pincer movement of finger and thumb using the flange and the hole in which the vibrator is inserted worked very well, and did not tire my hands as much as a normal handgrip. I contribute the speed of my orgasm the second time I used this toy to that firm grip. Not having to hold the vibrator all the time also meant that my hands were free to touch other parts of my body such as my nipples, which was a nice change from my habitual practice.
As mentioned earlier the Tulip did a great job of internal stimulation, and at one point during the first session I found myself squirting after vigorous stimulation of the G-spot. G-spotting is something that is very hit and miss for me, obvious come hither motions like the Mona Wave leave me uncomfortable during and after sex, so I am often indifferent to its pleasures, unless I’m using a glass wand.
As my preferred orgasm is a blended one, around this point I introduced a clitoral stimulator to the mix, and the vibrator and clitstim worked well together as I could insert the vibe fully, tuck the flange under and ride the vibrations.
However the Tulip had one more pleasure to contribute to during the first test. Because of it’s malleability, I felt safe enough to introduce an anal toy into the process, in the form of a long slender glass wand. With another, more rigid toy already inside my vagina, this would simply not be feasible. This is because the walls between my vagina and anus are much thinner than they used to be, and a couple of times in the past when I’ve attempted this, I have been uncomfortable during and for several days following the activity. The Tulip however, accommodated the other nicely and together with the clitstim, contributed to a long lasting, intense and very pleasurable blended orgasm.
The second time, as I mentioned above, I took just over half an hour to come, simply using the Tulip and clitstim. This is a welcome change from my usual practice, and the build up to the actual orgasm was longer and quite intense.
What was extra nice in the first session was that as I had the vibrator on the lowest setting at that moment I could leave it quietly rumbling away, rather than feeling the need to quickly switch it off at once, as I do with other vibrators. I did however feel the need to drop the setting down the second time around but once again it was very nice on the lowest setting. The whole experience was not only very pleasurable in the build up but also a nice way to come down.
The base of the toy should not be immersed while the vibe remains inside, but my clean up was simple using liquid soap and water, and my toy brush to work the grooves. Downunder Toys Product Care advice also suggests several other options for cleaning the inert silicone including toy wipes, and boiling for two minutes after removing the vibe for a deep clean.
QUESTION(S) FOR THE COMPANY
– Are replacement controller units/vibes available in the event of accident?
– Your paper sleeves covering the toy boxes look like they are printed using vegetable dye inks, is this the case or am I dreaming?
– What are the current postage rates for your products?
QUICK SUMMARY: DOWNUNDER TOYS – TULIP VIBE
PLUS MINUS INTERESTING
*Australian made/manufactured *Flat rate postage- rates update needed *Minimal, discreet packaging
*Pure Medical grade silicone *Battery powered *Hand held controller
*Ergonomic contours *Some vibrations buzzy *Colour choices
*Hand held controller * Removal instructions for vibe? *Aesthetically pleasing
*7 speeds *Combines well with other toys
*Versatile *Flanged base easy insertion/use
*Flanged base and central hole for the vibe
allows a firm finger/thumb grip for intense thrusting
After playing Tiny Tim’s version of this on repeat while writing this review I turned to an older vision for relief! Enjoy