Cleopatra is said to have invented the first vibrator by filling a hollow gourd with angry bees. You may be thinking, “That is awesome!”, but really – just think about it for a second. A hollow gourd filled with angry bees sounds… well, BUZZY, which is the last thing I want for a vibe. And Tenga Vi-Bo toys feel like super tiny gourds filled with extra-teeny, extremely irate bees.
There are many questions about Vi-Bo, and most of them are simply, WHY? Other such burning questions include:
- Could there possibly be a more visually offensive, skin-crawling shade of purple than the one chosen for the Stick Orb?
- Will companies ever stop making one-speed vibrators?
- WHY ARE THESE NOT MADE OUT OF SILICONE?
Yep, that’s right. Vi-Bo toys are not actually made out of silicone, like their Iroha line; these are made out of elastomer. Although elastomer may be phthalate-free, it is a porous material, meaning you will never be able to fully sanitize these sex toys – bacteria and mildew can get trapped in the pores on the surface.
Vi-Bo toys consist of differently shaped elastomer “Vi-Bo Covers,” which have round cavities where ABS plastic “Vi-Bo Base Orb” spheres are placed. Since the Base Orbs are all the exact same one-speed vibrating balls, this doesn’t create a modular sex toy system (which would actually be a neat idea if done correctly). So, what is the point of being able to pop out the balls? I can only guess that the removable balls simply make the products cheaper to manufacture.
While laughing and cringing with Epiphora over these toys, we noticed that the Base Orbs look like creepy plastic eyeballs, and are about the same size, too. She held one up against her eye – it hurt. Our scientific advice: Highly not recommended for eyeball stimulation.
The Vi-Bo battery replacement procedure is an intense surgical operation. Base Orbs require precision eyesight to open and close – my roommate accidentally shut one improperly and we couldn’t get it to turn off, until close examination of the ball finally revealed that the cap had been replaced without perfectly lining up the microscopic engraved dots. Each individual Base Orb ball requires three watch batteries, with the additional challenge of prying these tiny batteries out of the ball to replace them. Attempting to stuff Base Orbs back into the Vi-Bo covers takes more effort than is reasonable, which includes carefully realigning power buttons to match up with the covers’ holes. Also, the maximum battery life according to Tenga is 30 minutes, so you better stock up on LR44 batteries and a pair of pliers.
So, how do these toys actually feel when in use? The answer is: slightly uncomfortable buzz. Not as buzzy as the OhMiBod Lovelife Discover, but enough to feel mildly ticklish on the clitoris – but only mildly, since the Vi-Bo’s single speed is far less powerful than even the lowest setting on Discover.
TWIN ORB: The Tenga website claims: “You can use the two orbs simultaneously thanks to the flexible body!” But really, what is this floppy yellow shape supposed to do? It isn’t long enough to reach between two nipples, unless you squoosh your breasts together. I tried sticking one end in my vagina and bending the other around to hit my clitoris, and… it felt like nothing. The Twin Orb is so pointless that the fact it is yellow (I desperately want more yellow toys in my life) does not redeem this toy even the slightest bit.
STICK ORB: According to Tenga, “The two orbs double-up the intensity of the stimulation!” However, this horrendously-hued purple toy just feels stupid inside my vagina. The intensity is not “doubled-up” if you use this externally: one ball goes on your clit, and the other ball goes… well, nowhere. Internally, the toy feels narrow and boring, the two lumps don’t really do anything, and the weak one-speed vibration is barely detectable. Also, when Stick Orb is inserted, the vibe controls are located inside of you. The whole thing is just mind-boggling poor design.
As if it wasn’t already bad enough, Stick Orb comes with what is called a “Safety Cover” – a creepy purple condom-like thing that is supposed to stop the Base Orbs from randomly popping out when inserted vaginally. Tenga vehemently informs users not to use the Stick Orb internally without the Safety Cover (which is also made of porous elastomer) or covering it with an actual condom. Not only is the Safety Cover terrifying, it is also a major battle to put on and get off of the vibe. Since Base Orbs are waterproof, the whole concept seems to be lawsuit prevention, if the vibrating balls did somehow manage to actually explode out of the Stick Orb while lodged inside someone’s vagina.
This seems unlikely to happen, since it requires great effort to remove the Base Orb balls from the covers by hand, but only further demonstrates how Tenga doesn’t particularly seem to care about the user’s actual pleasure when creating toys for vulvas. And of course, Tenga also states for good measure: “We can not be held responsible if you choose to insert the device into your body” as well as “We can not guarantee the safety of use with condoms and other third party products.”
Besides Twin Orb and Stick Orb, the rest of the Vi-Bo line includes:
- FINGER ORB: “Place on your finger, to increase the stimulation of your touch!”
- RING ORB: “You can place this around a man’s penis to share the stimulation during sex!”1
- HAND ORB: “Placing the bands around your thumb and little ring, your palm stimulates while your rings are free to move!”
And then, there is the overall purpose of Vi-Bo, as explained by the Tenga website:
VI-BO aims to be an item that isn’t used for “one person to stimulate another person” but more as a tool for two people to stimulate each other, for greater communication to support coupled intimacy.
Does this make even the slightest bit of sense to you? Yeah, me either. Please, Tenga, just stick to developing sex toys for penises, unless you’re actually going to DO IT RIGHT. Vi-Bo is a dismal line of vibrators that are poorly designed, poorly manufactured, and a huge waste of money.
Tenga Vi-Bo can be summed up with one simple word: WHY?
These horrendous toys were loaned to me by excellent blogger friend Lorax of Sex. Thanks!
- A man’s penis, mind you. Please refrain from placing this on a penis belonging to a person of any other gender identity [↩]