This Bawdy Bookworms review all started as part of a conversation with the amazing Thien-Kim Lam on Twitter. Knowing I was both a romance author/reader and a sex toy aficionado, Thien-Kim contacted me about reviewing one of Bawdy Bookworms‘s curated subscription boxes. I said sure, of course, and she sent me the delightful “Hurts So Good” box to try.
Reviewing a subscription box is a bit different than reviewing a sex toy, so I’m going to talk about the individual items but also about the overall composition of the box, since a subscription box is valued by the sum of its parts more than just the parts.
Bawdy Bookworms combines some of my favorite things: steamy romance novels and sex toys. Focused on women’s sexual empowerment, the company was founded by Thien-Kim Lam as a natural outgrowth of her work doing in-home sex toy parties and her love of book clubs. (Yes, Bawdy Bookworms also has a virtual book club.)
The boxes come quarterly, although you should try and come more often if you’re so inclined. Heh. They include at least one book and “sensual adult product” as well as a variety of other themed items related to sexual pleasure and personal indulgence.
The Box, Itemized
Knowing I’m a kinkster, Thien-Kim sent me the “Hurts So Good” box. The box itself is a plain white standard shipping box from TKL Enterprises, so your nosy-ass neighbors aren’t gonna know what’s inside.
I opened the box upside-down at first like a dumbass and got showered with crinkle-paper confetti for my idiocy. I flipped it over and started taking photos.
Thien-Kim left me a nice note. I don’t think she does that for every single package, and if she does, maybe don’t tell me? I like to feel special.
Bawdy Bookworms has a kick-ass slogan, which is “Every woman deserves a happy ending.” I love a good double entendre, folks.
Once I removed the note and tissue paper, this lovely plethora of fun items greeted me.
Look at this beautiful setup! There’s so much stuff in here! It was all beautifully arrayed, too. Here’s the complete list of products:
- Book: The Flirtation by Tara Sue Me
- Dona Aphrodisiac and Pheromone Bubble Bath in berry scent
- Midnight Lace Crop
- Pocket Bunny Vibrator
- “What’s Your Pleasure” communication cards and pencil
- 50 Positions of Bondage Sex Cards
- Doc Johnson’s BDSM Guide
- Item list, business card, stickers, and bookmarks
I’ll take these items one by one and talk about them, then the box overall.
The Flirtation by Tara Sue Me is the tenth book in her Submissive series, but it’s stand-alone readable. The box included a note from Tara Sue Me explaining a bit about the back story of the series and assuring recipients that it’s a stand-alone book, which was nice. Fitting the theme of the box, The Flirtation is a BDSM erotic romance. I must confess, dear readers, I haven’t read it yet. My TBR list is a mile long, and this isn’t a book review blog. The premise is promising, though:
“Lynne has not wanted for anything since she began working as Nathaniel and Abby’s nanny–until the night they invite her to a group BDSM meeting. The abrupt breakup she had with her last Dom made her turn her back on the lifestyle, but now she’s ready to dive back in. When she starts chatting on online BDSM message boards, she’s shocked to discover Simon, her former Dom, is a frequent poster–and even more shocked at herself when she creates a secret identity and strikes up a conversation.
After messaging with a mysterious submissive online, Simon forms an immediate connection. Lynne and Simon’s D/s relationship grows in intensity, but can their relationship survive after the truth is exposed, and Lynne’s identity is laid bare?”
I do plan to read this book, and it’s a great fit for the box theme.
Folks, this stuff smells amazing. I’m not sure about its qualities as an aphrodisiac or a distributor of pheromones, but it’s pretty and pink and smells like a berry dessert. With the number of baths I take — it’s a lot — I am here for this. The scent is “blushing berry.” Cute.
I took a bath with this last night and it was lovely, and the scent was neither overpowering nor too subtle. Thumbs up.
Midnight Lace Crop
This crop is a pretty, short little impact toy that has far more thwack than sting in its arsenal. It’s aesthetically beautiful. The keeper (the hitting part) is woven with a lace ribbon for aesthetics, and the handle feels nice in-hand. It’s got a Sportsheets label on it, and they make lots of fun kink products.
What I like so much about this crop is that it’s loud and yet not very powerful. Since it’s short, the sting is less pronounced than a longer-handled crop. I whacked myself pretty hard and barely felt it, but that’s different than being hit by a partner. But a toy that sounds really loud without being too scary? Really fun, and perfect for the “making your fantasies come true” theme of the box.
This crop is also the perfect length if you want to spank yourself. It can be hard to do impact play alone, especially with toys that have long handles. The short nature of the Midnight Lace Crop means you can hit your own ass without much trouble. Nice job.
Pocket Bunny Vibrator
The Mini Bunny finger vibrator is a small sleeve designed to fit over a bullet-style vibrator. You put your fingers through the other sleeve, and you can use the bunny itself as well as your own vibrating fingers to stimulate your clitoris, nipples, etc. It’s a fairly straightforward concept.
I had some doubts about material quality when I saw this mini bunny finger vibrator. Most telling was the note that this toy was not to be stored touching other toys, which is a red flag. Sadly, my suspicions were confirmed. The side of the package confirms that it’s made of “TPE and ABS.” TPE stands for Thermoplastic Elastomer, and ABS is a type of plastic (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene). Now, there’s a lot of debate out there about TPE, and a lot of sex toy companies insisting that because it’s pthalate-free, TPE is body-safe. In truth, TPE is better than jelly rubber, but it’s also moderately porous and therefore can’t be sanitized. It’s also going to break down and degrade over time. As a result, I don’t use any toys made of TPE. Sorry, mini-bunny, but you’re gonna have to hop back into that box.
I don’t expect a curated subscription box to be able to afford silicone vibrators all the time without a significant increase in price point. The Bawdy Bookworms have definitely offered some silicone toys in the past. I’ve seen them on the website! Also, you might be fine with TPE. So don’t let this one mini TPE bunny put you off the box overall, as I certainly wouldn’t.
Communication Cards (and Pencil!)
These cards are so fucking cute, and I love them. Back when I was getting into kink, my husband and I filled out one of those multi-page surveys about our kinks, interests, hard and soft limits, etc. These cards are like the shorter, more user-friendly version of that survey. Brightly colored, fairly detailed, and non-threatening, the cards (there are two; one for each of you) let you mark your sexual interests for a play scene (or more) together. These are wonderful and really help promote healthy communication with kink. Plus they come with a little golf pencil.
50 Positions of Bondage Sex Cards
This deck of cards is a game where hopefully you end up having bondage sex. Whoo! Each card has a drawing of a couple on it doing some kinky activity, and the back of the card describes what that activity is (in four languages). You’re supposed to play the game and create a hand of five cards, one of each color, to describe your fantasy.
The cards are kind of diverse, but really not. There are some people with varying skin tones but when I looked, it seems like the only brown-skinned people are men. I don’t think I missed any. Also, all the couples are male/female, so it’s targeted toward hetero couples. But they do give equal credence to male top and female top, so whatever your preference, you can find a card for it. It looks like a fun little game and I wouldn’t mind playing.
Could also really spice up my next game night, just saying.
Doc Johnson’s BDSM Guide
This is a pretty decent little flyer that goes over some basics of BDSM, including the lingo, “before you play,” and “sexy BDSM moves to get started.” It’s obviously geared toward rank beginners, but that’s great. It’s not condescending, it’s straightforward, and it’s formatted like an old composition book. This is a wonderful item to include.
The Box, Together
The “Hurts So Good” box is a really fun, friendly introduction to kink for someone who doesn’t know where to start. Without being overwhelming, the box gives several introductory opportunities. You could read the manual and fill out the conversation cards, dig into the book for some sexy fantasies, play a game with the cards, hit yourself with the crop, etc.
In my opinion, it’s worth the money. Is every item alone going to be a hit? No. I’m not fucking myself with that rabbit, for example. But one “meh” item in a whole box of “yes please” is a subscription box jackpot. I had so much fun going through all the items and now I’m having fun using them.
This box is not for people who are already experienced kinksters, so don’t go into it expecting that. But for my readers who are dipping a toe in the water, this is perfect. The other boxes, from what I can tell, are similarly offering a sampling of sexiness on a theme.
The Bawdy Bookworms subscription box sits at the center of the Venn diagram of some of my interests: hot romance and sex toys. What a great place to be.
This subscription box would be a wonderful gift for a close friend, if you’ve got friends you talk about sex with. I hope you do. It is also a great gift for yourself and a fun way to indulge. After all, every woman deserves a happy ending.
Thanks to Thien-Kim Lam and Bawdy Bookworms!