On the morning of December the 19th I took to Twitter over issues I had with the language used about the Pulse, a new toy from Hot Octopus that had been rolled out earlier in 2014. By the end of the day I’d been gifted a never before used Pulse from a friend who had no serious interest in it. Who says miracles don’t happen?
Despite my earlier criticisms I was excited to give the Pulse a shot and see if it would make up for my annoyances with its publicity and media language.
The Pulse is a weird little creature that looks like a hunchback stingray that hugs the external genitalia (what some call “penises” but what I’ll refer to as my “clit” when talking about my personal use.) Its hugging arms, or “Expanding Wings,” wrap around the user’s genitalia while the “Oscillating PulsePlate” stimulates the frenulum with the intention of providing what Hot Octopus modestly describes as “the most powerful and unique orgasm you’ve ever experienced.” This orgasm of apparently epic proportions comes from its use of oscillation instead of traditional vibration. They’re very proud of this oscillation tech and talk a lot about how they’re the first company to take this from the medical world into the sex toy market.
While I had my issues with the Pulse’s marketing and publicity there were enough rave reviews out there that I had some hope for a toy that would be enjoyable. Apparently I’m in the minority of reviewers because I found it to be mildly pleasant at best and downright annoying at the worst.
My main issue is that I just couldn’t get this toy to stay put. My clit is of average to larger-than-average size and yet the Pulse continually slipped off when I wasn’t firmly erect. Even when hard it would move around unless held in place. If the vibrator, sorry, oscillating pulseplate was stronger this wouldn’t really be an issue but whenever it wasn’t on my frenulum I could barely feel it. Honestly even when it was on my frenulum its oscillations were nice but didn’t do much (even on the highest setting) and I kept finding myself thinking longingly of my beloved Hitachi. At one point I wondered if my clit just preferred stronger motions but after being brought to orgasm by a wand on a lower setting than my Hitachi I feel safe in saying that I can enjoy softer vibrations/oscillations when they’re not being delivered by the Pulse. The motor does feel pretty strong to my finger so maybe I’m having a hard time getting my frenulum to make actual contact with the pulseplate? My only other thought is that my issues with the Pulse could be related to the fact that I’m not circumcised and that my foreskin just kept getting in the way (I don’t know of any reviews where people mention being circumcised so this is currently based on my own speculations. I’ll update this if I get more information.)
Hot Octopus recommends trying it with lube and jacking off with it and while lube definitely improved my experience I can’t say that it was enough of an improvement for me to win me over. Jacking off with this as a masturbator was fairly irritating in general. Even with lube I found it dragged in ways that occasionally got pretty unpleasant and the oscillations didn’t extend much into the silicone wings so most of the sensation came from the pulseplate as it moved along (The oscillations do extend into the back of the toy however and holding onto it for longer than a minute would end up with my hand being shaken into numbness.) The pulseplate also seems to be pretty sensitive so whenever I pressed harder to try and milk as much vibration as I could I just ended up stopping the motor.
It’s touted as a great couple’s toy but my experiences with the Pulse were so disappointing and cumbersome that I didn’t want to subject any partner to hearing me swearing a blue streak at a hunk of silicone, plastic and metal.
It’s made with silicone which is great but it’s also not waterproof which is not great. I have this (potentially unreasonable) expectation that if a toy is sold for anything over $20 (ok, let’s say $40) it really should be waterproof and honestly I’m not sure why the Pulse isn’t. It seems like the motor is pretty well sealed up inside the toy which as far as I can tell is one of the basic requirements for a waterproof toy. The Pulse is also so sensitive to water that you can only clean it with a wipe or a damp cloth. It’s a massive lint magnet which isn’t that unexpected because it’s silicone but unlike my other silicone toys I can’t blast the lint away with a stream of water or soak it off with a bath. The two buttons used to control the power are on the side of the toy and are just small enough to be irritating when you’ve got slippery lube hands but large enough to accidentally hit when you’re holding it. Also it’s damn loud, something that people with thin walls should definitely be aware of.
There are some positive elements of the Pulse: It has a good battery life (USB rechargeable!), it’s made of silicone (I already said that though), and… you can masturbate with something that looks like it’s from a bad 80s sci-fi film? (That’s actually the best selling point for me.) These few selling points really aren’t enough for me to recommend it to anyone; particularly when considering that it retails for $99. I’m much more likely to recommend buying a good wand (The Hitachi is a great option and more affordable to boot!) which can stimulate the frenulum in the most delightful ways. The only time that I’d recommend the Pulse is for people with limited wrist/hand mobility but I think this is pretty sad commentary on the state of accessibility in the sex toy world.