January in Montreal means many things: frigid weather, atrocious driving, and from a commercial perspective, Valentine’s day prep. There is no clearer demonstration of this than at the annual Salon de l’Amour et de la Seduction.

Sponsored by MyFreeCams.com, it’s held every year towards the end of January and is a massive combination of trade show, educational conference, and performance festival. The rules are that it’s eighteen plus, you must be respectful and mindful of consent, and though you’re welcome to dress to impress, you must keep your genitals covered at all times. Inclusion and open minded-ness are the name of the game, and the Salon does a lot to make sure its disabled attendees are comfortable, with ramps and seating areas for those with visible and invisible illnesses.

As a reporter who’s had the honor of covering the event every year, the differences between this year and last year’s Salon did not go unnoticed. One of the biggest changes was clearly due to Canada’s recent legalization of recreational marijuana.

Though in previous years, vendors of bongs and pipes had one or two tiny booths, this year their presence was much grander. One massive booth offered pipes, vapes, and bongs in a variety of materials and price points. Another booth was devoted to HighonLove.ca, a Canadian company that makes hemp-based massage and bath oils, lubricants, and even chocolate body paint.

Though their products seem sound, their prices are quite high, with a bottle of massage oil going for as much as sixty bucks. The representative I spoke to said that this was because the product contained no fillers, though it is clear that their prices are also driven up by their fancy packaging, which gives it the appearance of a luxury brand.

Among the sex educators present this year was Morgan Thorne, author of A Guide to Classic Discipline, Exploring BDSM: A Workbook for Couples and Medical Aseptic Technique for BDSM. Thorne is not only a sex educator who runs BDSM workshops and offers Couples Education and Coaching both in person and online, but she is also one of the only visibly disabled exhibitors present at the Salon.

Morgan Thorne

She spoke to me in depth from her wheelchair as I leaned on my cane about the difficulties disabled women face getting treatment for pain issues. The impression she gives off is one of empathy and open-mindedness and also has free BDSM educational videos.

Among the many sex toy vendors at the Salon this year was Bliss, which had a second booth for their other company Spank Toys. Of all the vendors at the Salon, their prices for vibrators were some of the most reasonable, with a decent model going for as little as thirty dollars.


I noticed upon arrival that there were fewer exhibitors this year. A representative of the company named Jeff told me that this was because the cost of exhibiting at the Montreal show – the Salon also has events in Las Vegas, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Regina, Red Deer, and Toronto – was particularly high this year. Despite the high cost, some smaller vendors were also at the Salon to showcase their works.

One such vendor is DicksWithWicks.com, which sells penis-shaped candles. I asked their representative whether her products were modeled on a real penis and she told an amazing story. She was on social media one day when a man sent her an unsolicited dick pic. Her horror and sense of violation quickly turned to empowerment.

She asked him for more photos of his junk from different angles, which he freely and willingly provided. The photos were then used to make the mold for the candles. When the man in question saw the products, he demanded a share of profits, to which she rightfully replied that he sent the images freely and with no presumption of privacy and she therefore owed him nothing. In the era of #MeToo, we need stories like hers more than ever, and it is companies like these that we need to support.

Another small vendor present was Exotique Spa Candles, a company that makes blacklight sensitive candles for sex play. Designed to not burn you when the wax is poured on your skin, the proceeds of their products go to the Alberta sex positive education and community center, a sex ed group that gives courses and workshops on consent and sexual health.

Their representative spoke to me in depth about how there is still a lot of shame tied to sex and sexuality in Canada and that the shame keeps people from having healthy discussions about it. A lack of discussion and health education has led to such problems as the increasing rates of gonorrhea and syphilis among people over the age of fifty. Information about their non-profit can be found at Aspecc.ca.

In addition to vibrators, dildos, candles, and lingerie, the Salon features the latest sex toy tech. La Marquise Sex Toys had a lifelike sex doll on display. Their rep said the entire doll costs around ten thousand dollars, but they also had lifelike hips with vagina and anus built in for four hundred dollars.

.Another company, Robot Sex Machine, had two machines in operation, demonstrating how their technology could be used to rhythmically move dildos and pocket pussies.

One of the biggest disappointments of the Salon this year was their kink corner. Though in the past the kink section had ambient lighting and tamer displays of kink, this year was a demonstration of mismanagement and a lack of discussion about what should be shown.

When I arrived the kink corner on Saturday around 2 pm, the area was impossibly dark due to a lighting issue that had never been resolved, and the displays of kink were too hardcore even for this crowd.

Many who come to the Salon and check out the kink corner are not kinky themselves, but curious and perhaps tempted to try it. That means that what they see should not be overly shocking, and should certainly represent healthy BDSM relationships to dispel myths resulting from the Jian Ghomeshi trials and the abuse portrayed in Fifty Shades of Grey.

Unfortunately, while one section showed a tame display of rope play, a kinkster in another section was furiously spanking and whipping a sub with few check-ins or after care. It was a display that turned the stomach of my friends, some of whom are kinky themselves.

It was the kind of display that would scare some off and give others the impression that abuse is acceptable if you call it BDSM. That said, I know the kink community can do better, and here’s hoping they do so next year.

The Salon de l’Amour is a lot of fun. Not only can you get quality sex toys and lingerie at discount prices, but you’ll also see great shows, see innovations in sex toy tech, and learn about sexual techniques, identities, and kinks. Your ticket also has the benefit of helping small businesses and educational groups that in the era of #Metoo need our support more than ever.

Check it out, have a blast, and leave your judgments and biases at the door.

Photos by Kerry Ann Cannon

This winter I grew out my pubic hair and weaved it into a beautiful sweater to keep my ladybits nice and warm. I’m not talking about a merkin here either, which was the name of Victorian pubic wigs used by prostitutes, now by modern Burlesque performers, and actors doing nude scenes. My vagina has just straight up gone rogue in the barren wasteland. The cobwebs just weren’t doing the trick, and every time I spread my legs those pesky tumbleweeds would just roll on out. Even on a good day I do not have the smooth vagina of a twelve-year-old girl, but this is ridiculous. When you have gone far beyond the tasteful 90s bush, and on to a full out thigh beard, you know it has been a while since you last even harbored the possibility of getting laid.

Lack of sex can drive a person absolutely crazy. Sometimes it is easy to just revert to sleeping with an EX – but is that what you really want, EX-SEX? It’s not really a new notch in the bed post, just etching an old one. As long as you have waited long enough and both parties agree to an emotionless romp, it could be a decent option. All the passion with none of the commitment – sign me up! You know each other’s bodies well, and can just do the best part. But usually, I find it just ends in disaster and you remember in an instant why you are not with that person anymore. Just remember to wrap it up before doing the deed, and I don’t advise spending the night after.

Cat with a rubber fist dildo. That’s what they’re for, right?


There’s always the Internet. If you REALLY want to get laid, trolling internet sites and phone dating apps is a great way to find like-minded adults (and a wide array of creepers) to satisfy your urges. I have been on my fair share of OKCupid dates with not much success. Usually it’s an instant creepy dick pic, or the person doesn’t quite match up with their profile. But hey, you never know, some people have found success. Again, no glove, no love. Especially since you don’t know the person well.

I have always found the best way to meet someone is not to be looking for them at all. Just work on YOU! Do the things YOU love and are passionate about and the rest will work itself out. Getting out there and participating in all the glorious things life has to offer is what makes everything worthwhile. Get involved with community outreach, paint a mural, work on a community garden, go to poetry readings, check out music, hang out in coffeehouses, play kickball, join a gym, or just do anything that you love! The right person will be there doing the things that you love right with you. You just have to be patient. Patience is a virtue though, so godspeed.

If a warm body is not an option (don’t go for a cold one, necrophilia is gross and unhealthy my friend), throw on some porn and get a sex toy! I myself am not the biggest fan of artificial stimulation – I need everything that goes along with sex. The smells, the sounds, and the touch are really what make it for me. Plus I think that my vibrator is quite possibly the loudest thing on the planet. My roommates must hear it. Its easy to put headphones on to hide the porn moans, but that loud BUZZZZZZZZZ is hard to mask, no matter how many pillows used to muffle it is still pretty intense. Tip: the sex toys that use D batteries or plug into the wall are best used when nobody else is home (or you can always blame it on a loud heating system). I prefer dittling my own skittle manually, but that also takes practice.

Vibrator ad from the New York Tribune, 1913.


Sex toys have been around for a very long time and were initially used by doctors in the Victorian era to cure female patients suffering from “hysteria,” One of the first vibrators was invented in France in 1734, it was called the “Tremoussoir.” Now we have the magic bullet, the Hitachi Magic wand, the Rabbit, Pocket Rockets, and the always frightening Rubber Fist. The options are endless, there are so many shapes, sizes, colors, and designs (ranging from kitschy to uber-realistic) that you will definitely find one that tickles your fancy. Sex toys are nothing to be ashamed of or shy about, many women throw sex toy parties. It’s fun and empowering to get together with the girls, drink wine, and talk about sex toys – much more discrete than going into a store and much more fun than shopping alone online.

Sex is fun, and orgasms are awesome, but it is not the most important thing in your life. If you let the pursuit of sex completely consume you it will lead to nothing but heartache and bad decisions. Be true to yourself and do not settle for anything less than you deserve. Do not let someone take advantage of your desperation (and in turn do not ever take advantage of another person). Just have fun and be safe, let life happen, and enjoy every encounter. Spending time with friends can be more amazing than devoting all of your time to dating and the pursuit of the almighty nookie. Consider this dry spell as an opportunity to focus your energy on what you really love to do with life. The world is your oyster.

Featured photo by Danielle Boris.

I think it’s safe to say that sex toys are more popular now than ever. Shows like Sex and the City gave them mainstream culture recognition by featuring female characters talking candidly about their experiences with them. E. L. James’ wildly popular 50 Shades of Grey trilogy took it even a step further by introducing S&M into the equation. Even the recent NHL lockout was deemed partially responsible for a 15% jump in sex toy sales at an Edmonton store that peddles to couples looking to “expand their horizons”.

The sex toy industry generates upwards of $15 billion a year in sales, with nearly half of all women admitting to having used one at some point. Interestingly, married women are twice as likely to use them as their single counterparts. By 2020, UK online sex toy retailer Lovehoney estimates that sales will rise to $60 billion, matching those of our other favorite vibrating gadget, the smartphone.

“It’s not just toys but soft bondage, too. Couples everywhere are going to be sexing up Christmas and realizing that stockings are for a lot more than stuffing presents in!” joked Lovehoney co-founder Neal Slateford.

In Canada, check out large online retailers like Lovedreamer and Pink Cherry for some amazing deals an unbeatable selection. Here are some suggestions to give her the gift of pleasure this holiday season:


Inner Goddess Silver Balls –

When a third of your stock sells out in the first 24 hours of sales, you know you’ve got a hit. Lovehoney introduced the world’s first official 50 Shades of Grey pleasure products, with their star, the Inner Goddess Silver Balls, which secretly stimulate the G-spot with their heavy weight.

They might even make your lady “flush from the constant movement” and “needy, needy for sex”, as they did Ana Steel, the trilogy’s naïve heroine. With a combined weight of 221g and a girth of 3.75” each, they’ve been specifically designed for kegel experts who are seeking a new challenge.

Make Me Over

There’s something to be said for the element of surprise in a sex toy. At first, this one looks like some sort of girlie flying saucer, resting in a discreet black compact. Turns out, the Make Me Over massager toy from the Bedroom Kandi line by The Real Housewives of Atlanta’s Kandi Burrus, features a powerful, whisper-quiet motor that delivers 7 enticing vibration patterns. The disc shape allows for stimulation of a larger area, or it can be turned on its edge to focus on her most sensitive spots.

Best of all, it is made from body friendly silicone and charges via USB plug in the accompanying discreet compact that even features a mirror for lipstick touch-ups afterwards.

Clone-A-Willy Kit

What started off as a company making incredibly life-like props for the film industry blossomed into the most popular take-home DIY dildo kit, Clone-A-Willy. Yes, it’s pretty much exactly what it sounds like:  mix the molding powder with water, pour it into the provided tube, insert your favorite erect penis, wait a few minutes until it is set, and BAM, you’ve got a phthalate-free replica of your man’s manhood for when he’s not around. Comes in a variety of shades including hot pink, glow-in-the-dark, jet black and even edible chocolate.


We now know that masturbation isn’t bad for you like it was purported to be all those years. It won’t make you go blind or develop hairy palms, nor does it decrease sensitivity or your ability to reach orgasm, either with or without a partner. However, certain sex toys on the market are known to contain shockingly high levels of the potentially dangerous toxic chemical family called phthalates.

Phthalates are added to vinyl compounds to make them more pliable and flexible as well as help them hold colour and scents. They show up in a wide range of products including paint, adhesives, cosmetics, shampoo, detergent, food packaging, air fresheners, soap, flooring and rocket fuel. Over time, these phthalates can leak out of their source in a process known as “off-gassing” and release chemicals like lead and cadmium, which can then be absorbed into the body.

The presence of phthalates in sex toys was first brought to light by the German magazine Stern, which found alarmingly high concentrations of phthalates that exceeded the European standard by 100 times. A 2006 study commissioned by Greenpeace Netherlands found that seven out of eight of the tested vibrators and dildos contained phthalate concentrations ranging from 24 to 51 percent.

While the extent of their harmful effects is unknown in humans, phthalate exposure in rodents has been linked to hormonal problems, liver and kidney damage, tumors and infertility.  A 2008 study by the University of Rochester found that boys born to mothers exposed to high levels of phthalates during pregnancy had a range of reproductive-linked issues including smaller penises and incompletely descended testicles. Last year, Health Canada announced new regulations to severely restrict the use of phthalates in children’s toys, while other places like the state of California banned them in similar products aside from minute residual quantities.

When shopping for a safe new pleasure object, look for toys made of pure silicone, steel or glass as these materials are guaranteed to be phthalate-free. Certain companies like the Swedish-based Lelo use phthalate-free as a selling point on their high-end sex toys. Avoid jelly rubber products with that “new plastic” smell that is indicative of the presence of phthalates. Since sex toys are sold as novelty products, manufacturers are not required to list their compositions, and their products don’t have to adhere to any regulations.

Silicone is a fantastic material for sex toys, since it is hypoallergenic, non-porous and non-absorbent. It warms to the body and carries vibrations like a dream. Furthermore, it can be disinfected in boiling water in approximately five minutes. Another popular material in the sex toy world is elastomer. Like silicone, it is durable, hypoallergenic and latex-free, but since it is slightly porous, it cannot be disinfected, though elastomer toys are easily cleaned with soap and water.

I’ve got a confession to make: I’m cheating on my vibrator with a dildo.

It’s not that I’m bored with her – after all, we’ve only been together for about five months, and with her eight different modes and five speeds ranging from “soft flutter” to “intense pulsation”, boredom is but a distant memory. But lately, I’ve been craving something different, something deeper.

Seriously readers, I know you’ve heard this before, but if you don’t own a sex toy that sends thundering waves of bliss through your entire body, you should consider investing. Not that fingers aren’t fun too. I mean, they’re always there, right?

Until recently, I had surprisingly little experience with sex toys. My first vibrator was actually a gift when I was 19. I broke my wrist during my first and only time snowboarding, which forced me to take six weeks off from the coffee shop where I worked. One night, my co-worker Kendra called me to the café because she had a gift for me. She wrote this long, rambling card that talked about how it was something very valuable that I could use with only one hand, something every lady over 40 owns, and so why not be 20 years ahead of the game, and so on.

Here I thought she was cleverly insinuating it was a vibrator, but that it would end up being a back scratcher, so I opened it in front of everyone – and turned beet red when indeed, lo and behold, a pearly pink phallus. And while I did enjoy my time with that toy, it lacked the intensity I craved and the curve needed to stimulate my G-spot in ways that I didn’t even know were possible. Furthermore, it guzzled batteries like a Hummer guzzles gas.

Avid readers may remember my trip to the Everything to do with Sex Convention back in January. It was there that my very wise companion turned me on to Lelo, a Swedish company that prides themselves as one of the world’s leading providers of the most stylish and luxurious intimate lifestyle products. They even name each of their toys, and came up with a whole new term for them: pleasure objects.

And that’s where I met Ina, “a sleek, dual-action vibrator that reaches out seamlessly to the most erogenous zones… motors in each pleasure point to allow simultaneous or alternating vibrations as and when desired, tantalizing her user before delivering prolonged feelings of satisfaction, time and time again.”

All of Lelo’s products are made from ultra smooth, FDA-approved body-safe silicone. And, perhaps best of all, they solved the battery problem: Ina comes with her own charger! Plug her in for two hours and she’s good for up to four hours of pure bliss.

If I had to give one small piece of advice to Lelo, the controls aren’t as intuitive as I want them to be. After all, who wants to be fumbling for a button in the throes of passion?

But still, even with all that going for her, it was time to try something with a little more weight and girth. Meet the Pure Wand from Njoy. Crafted from 1.5 pounds of medical grade stainless steel, the Pure Wand packs quite a punch. If anyone tried to break into my apartment, one crack over the head with the Pure Wand and they’d be regretting their decision to match with this vixen!

A double-ended dildo with a 3-inch ball on one side and a mighty 5-inch ball on the other, it features what can only be described as the perfect curve. And my G-spot rejoiced! Run it under hot water or pop it in the freezer for a spine-tingling chill. And this one’s great for the guys too since it doubles as a prostate massager.

Someone recently asked me which was better, but it’s like comparing apples and oranges. They’re both great at what they do, and the sensations they provide are plentiful but different. At the end of the day, if I’d known I was coming home to either one of these two fabulous friends, I would have left the bar earlier… satisfied, disease-free and without questions.

If anything in here has piqued your interest, or if you have questions about finding the right toy for you, I recommend speaking to Phong at Joy Toyz.

Everyone’s got that person on their Christmas list the one who can’t think of anything they want or need but would be downright crestfallen or irrationally angry if you showed up at their house empty-handed, or, worse yet, with a gift that made them make that “present face”. You know the one that forced smile while the word “thanks” is muttered through clenched teeth.

So why bother with itchy socks, another pungent lotion gift set that will only collect dust underneath the sink or uninspired box of chocolates that the recipient will just regret eating all of in a few weeks when none of their jeans fit anymore. Without further adieu, these sexy gifts are sure to entertain, titillate, raise a few eyebrows and win you some points (or dirty glares) at the office Secret Santa!

I’ve rated these sassy items on a scale of 5 Golden Rings you know the ones I mean, the big gold medal winning O’s that ring not only in your ears but vibrate through your entire body.

Santa’s Lil Helper Vibrator

Maybe this little toy could help you convince Santa to stay for more than milk and cookies?   Includes obligatory pun with the word ‘coming’.

2 1/2 out of 5 Golden Rings… though to be perfectly honest, the real candy cane gave me a solid 2.   Plus then you have a sweet treat for after!

Obama Dildo

This hefty little number will have your sultry little voice panting “Merry Christmas, Mr. President”  all through the Advent.   You have your choice of Democatic Blue or Presidential Gold… what, not big and black?   Furthermore, I wonder if there’s a George W. Bush one in republican red?

4 of out 5 Golden Rings, as everyone would like politics a little more if it were actually a full contact sport

Guidette Blow Up Doll

This is just wrong on so many levels, though it doesn’t really surprise me.   It really puts the “gag” in gag gift.

1 out of 5 Golden Rings, solely for the so stupid they’re ridiculous jokes on the box

Jesus Love Doll

Surely you can spring the extra two dollars for natural hair, after all, it’s Christmas and a hairless Jesus just isn’t right.   But one thing I don’t get is the “oversized male clitoris”… and why would you want to screw a stigmata hole?

5 out of 5 Golden Rings JC must have learned his techniques from a true professional, so I’m pretty sure it’s sound

Sola, the Solar Powered Vibrator

Now your commitment to saving the planet can be reflected in your sex toy selection.   Perfect for when you’re out of batteries or feel like going at yourself in the middle of a sunny field.

2 out of 5 Golden Rings

Lady Gag Gag Love Doll

“Meet Lady Gag Gag, the deep-throat drag queen who’ll suck the chrome off a disco ball faster than you can say Just Dance!” With a name and career ripe for parody, it was only a matter of time before there was a latex incarnation of Lady Gaga.   She sued its makers and got the product pulled from shelves, so you’ll have to put a platinum wig and meat dress on your own blow-up doll and poke-her face instead.

3 out of 5 Golden Rings

Finally, I will close with one more shameless act of self-promotion. Glam Gam’s smash hit burlesque show, Tits the Season 2 is back for one night only, Saturday December 18th at Cafe Cleopatra’s. Doors at 8:30, show at 9:30.   Check out our review here.