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May 18, 2007

I Test Sex Toys for a Living

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Putting Job Perks to Work

I've turned many friends on to my most-favorite gadgets, but I love telling them about things they already have at home that can spice up their sex lives. Olive oil, for instance, is one of my favorite body lubricants. (Note: Do not use oil with condoms -- it can weaken them and cause them to break.) A healthy sense of humor also helps. I also like to use Reddi-wip -- just spray it on your partner and lick it off. At only $2 a bottle, you can get a big bang for your buck (no pun intended).

Before I started testing condoms, I avoided using them in monogamous relationships, because I thought they got in the way of sex. But once I began asking myself, How can I make this thing sexier?, I actually enjoyed using them. My favorite brands are InSpiral and Pleasure Plus. They are both baggier than standard condoms -- tight at the base of the penis but loose around the head -- and they create more sensation for the man and the woman. Trust me.

I'm still a huge fan of the basic, plastic vibrator. One episode of Sex and the City mentioned a vibrator with a bunny rabbit attached to the head for extra clitoral stimulation. It does feel good, but that product goes for nearly $70, while a basic vibrator costs only $15.

Also, the idea of penetrating yourself with a dildo is overrated. There are so many other things you can do with one. You can rub it against your vulva, caress your breasts with it, explore it with your mouth and use it to tease a partner. Women who have an easier time achieving orgasm through clitoral stimulation over vaginal penetration are better off using a vibrator.

This job isn't making me rich, but it does help pay the bills while I put myself through grad school. (I make from $150 to $250 to test and critique a product.) I also get to keep everything I test -- a nice perk.

My boyfriend loves what I do. We've been together three years, and our sex life has never been better. But don't get me wrong: It is work. Sometimes, our marathon sex sessions feel like we're just punching the clock -- one toy down, four more to go. And sometimes, testing so many products can get tiring. Plus, as soon as we finish, I have to reach for my notepad and start analyzing the experience. Nights when we don't have any products to test are often a welcome break. That's when we get to act like most other couples -- and just fall asleep watching TV.

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