Not Sold at Hallmark

Tell Rachael your worst sex moments at [email protected].

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Every cloud has a silver lining-like that no-good Hallmark cop-out we call "Valentine's Day." But some feel a need to pretend that it means something.

Which means they buy presents. Hence the silver lining.

But what kind of presents? Duh: toys!

Although they are often marketed as sex-specific, it takes about an iota of creative thinking to see how they benefit both parties directly. There are exceptions, but it's not hard to find that even the exceptions have special little additions that make it fun for everyone.

Cock rings-a welcome gift. Placed around the penis and testicles, they restrict blood flow out of the penis, creating sensations men have been known to love. So buy one for that special guy in your life. They come in various types of material, though I suggest veering away from metal.

No need to settle for traditional black rubber, either. There are colorful ones, which also can double as funky bracelets (I kid you not, several vendors specifically suggest that purpose), as well as ones with various amenities such as ribbing.

Splurge on a vibrating cock ring, which is good for many reasons-one which looms exceptionally large in my head. Ever heard of a "hummer?" It's when a thoughtful, giving person thinks to wrap their mouth around your testicles and hum a tune, provided they aren't totally tone-deaf. A wonderfully pleasing vibrating sensation is produced which, in the least, brings a smile to the faces of most men. So, imagine a battery-operated vibrating ring around the base of your testicles. Totally.

So, you're a guy wearing a cock ring. You're having sex with a woman who finds that having an orgasm without clitoral stimulation is close to impossible. Hello vibrating cock ring with an attached clitoral stimulator. And there's no reason to rule out the ones that have remote controls.

Take care, though. Not to dampen your experience, but there are safety issues if you would like to maintain your virility. Thirty minutes is about the maximum time you should wear a cock ring, and if your erection turns permanent or painful, cut the ring off and get to the hospital immediately. Roll your eyes now but don't cry to me when you can't get hard for the next forty years. An especially intelligent thing to do would be to read the instructions that come with your cock ring. They're certainly more entertaining than the ones for your VCR (if you even still have one).

Then there are, of course, nipple clamps. Your honey will throw their arms around you in glee when they open that special little turquoise box. Screw jewelry. Rip your shirt off right there and you two can have the time of your lives taking turns tugging. And these are not single-sex toys. Last time I checked, both sexes had nipples.

And guess what ...

They have ones that vibrate.

Don't let the word "clamp" mislead you. A large portion of nipple clamps feature screws as a tightening method. These offer more gentle options like "hold" or "pinch," in lieu of the intimidating "clamp." If your nipples like attention, definitely try some nipple clamps. Good Vibrations on San Pablo and Dwight has some cute pink ones.

How about vibrating underwear? Or you can get a Joani's Butterfly, though it's not always a butterfly. This contraption is a network of wearable elastic that mimics a g-string. At the spot that hits right at the vagina is a jelly-like mass, shaped like a butterfly or a flower. It can be worn under clothing, the flower resting against your vagina opening, just inside it, or snuggling up against your clitoris. This gift changes the whole concept of day-dreaming in class.

Flip the switch connected to it and it starts to vibrate. If you want to splurge, get one with a remote control. Then you can wait outside your lover's class and smirk when you hear their professor say, "Umm, is everything okay over there?"

Okay, so I guess Valentine's Day has its perks.


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