By now, you have probably figured out that an iGasm is a vibrator. What makes this product unusual (in a category already brimming with unusual items), is that it’s designed to plug into your MP3 player and provide the user with a combined audio/stimulation experience. For now, the iGasm is available exclusively through AnnSummers.co.uk, an online retailer of sex toys and accessories in the UK, where it sells for £25 or approximately $53 CDN.
To help me answer the question of whether or not the iGasm is worth the price – or even worth having at all, I turned to Andrea, a colleague here in the office. It’s not every day that you send out a request for help with a sex-toy review (well, certainly not for me anyway) so I was delighted when Andrea said she’d be excited to try out the iGasm.
The following is a list of questions I created to assess Andrea’s experience and help readers decide if the iGasm is right for them.
Q: Andrea, had you ever heard of the iGasm before I asked you to review it?
A: No. Actually, I’d never heard of an intimate toy that related to an MP3 device in that way.
Q: What were you expecting of the iGasm experience?
A: I had pretty high expectations. The premise sounded fantastic; I’ve always wanted a truly mind-blowing (drug-free) musical experience and thought that this device might do the trick. Oh and also brighten up what’s become a bit of a utilitarian solo routine.
Q: (Laughing) Have you ever tried any other vibrating ‘intimate toys’?
A: Yes. I’ve spent time with a number of similar devices and have a well developed sense of what works and what doesn’t work for me.
Q: So you’re pretty familiar with this topic.
A: I’ve spent a lot of time over the years talking to experts (retail goddesses at Come As You Are) about the pros and cons of various related products and feel that I can tell the difference between a high quality product and something that’s really more of a gimmick. Before I even tried the iGasm I was a partially convinced that this would be more gimmick than gusto.
Q: Ok, so you’re prejudiced, but qualified :-) Did everything you need (other than the iPod) come in the box?
A: Everything except batteries.
Q: Did you read the instructions? Did they help?
A: The instructions were very clear and had helpful diagrams that clearly showed how and where all the wires connected. It’s not too complicated but with all the wires it was good to have diagrams.
Q: Your first time using the iGasm… did anything unexpected happen?
A: When I first hooked it up to the iPod it started to sort of jump a bit even though there was no music playing. I disconnected all the wires and set it up again; I’m fairly certain not all the wires were fully connected the first time.
Q: Ok, now for the question that’s on everyone’s mind, or at least on my mind, how did the iGasm measure up?
A: The iGasm works in one of two ways – it can operate as a solo unit or in conjunction with your iPod. As a solo unit I’d compare the iGasm to a standard egg type device. While the iGasm has 8 different vibration settings (low, high and 6 steps of intensity between the two) I prefer a device that gives me more control over intensity. At times I wanted more intensity than the egg could provide. It was good, but definitely not my favourite egg.
With the iPod is a whole other story.
The first song I experimented with was Joe Cocker – With a Little Help from my friends (it’s one of my favourites!). When I turned the music on I was surprised by the lack of reaction. There were intermittent buzzes and vibrations but nothing that really grabbed my attention. As the song progressed however the device began to react to the music. It stops and starts when there’s a split second break and vibrates in a way that compliments the music: it gets more intense as the music gets more intense and it slows down as the music slows down. It was like an independent rhythm section that didn’t solely mimic the music but played along with it.
Q: Interesting. Did the style of music you listened to affect the performance of the iGasm?
A: Definitely. Intensity of the music, number of instruments playing, variety or lack or variety in the beat all affected the egg’s response. A lullaby for example – Delilah by the Plain White Ts – produced different intensities and good rhythm variety while Kylie Minogue’s – Can’t Get You Out Of My Head – had one intensity and one rhythm for the entire song.
Q: Is it possible to independently adjust the volume on your ear buds and the "intensity" of the iGasm?
A: I found that more than anything changing the volume on my ear buds changed how the iGasm reacted. If a song was too ‘quiet’ at the beginning you can turn up the volume to get more intensity. I found myself playing with the volume control more than the song list. The song selection had more to do with state of mind whereas the volume really controlled the vibration range and intensity.
Q: Was there enough control over the device’s operation in order for you to get the result you were looking for?
A: When it acted as a solo unit I got medium results as I couldn’t fully adjust the intensity to my needs. I found that after some initial experiments I got a much better result when it worked with the music.
Q: Did the size and shape work for you?
A: The shape is standard egg shape. In terms of size it’s a bit smaller than what I’m used to handling so it took me few minutes to figure out a better way to hold it.
Q: It has a lot of wires. Did they get in your way?
A: The wires definitely got in the way. I used the device 6 times so far and have had to untangle the wires 3 times. I found that once I was set up and everything was laid out how I wanted it I couldn’t really move around or shift too much because of the wires. I might need to experiment some more with set up though.
Q: What do you think about the iGasm’s all-white ‘iPod’ look?
A: I love the all white look! It’s so rare to find a toy that adheres so well to modern design. Most are pink or purple or red and can be intimidating to new users. It also looked very nice sitting on the table next to my iPod as they’re aesthetically similar.
Q: Think you’d ever use the iGasm with a partner?
A: While I’d love to use this with a partner at this time I have to say that I wouldn’t.
Q: How come?
A: The wires got in the way when it was a solo adventure; I don’t know how you’d manage to stay untangled working in a duo, trio, etc. I’m not saying I’m not willing to experiment; it’s just not the first thing I’d pull out of the toy box.
Q: Have you worn out the first set of batteries yet?
A: Still going and going and going.
Q: How long do the instructions indicate they should last?
A: The instructions don’t give any guidelines as to how long the batteries should last. I’ve never seen a gadget of this nature state how long a battery should last.
Q: Was it easy to clean?
A: Super easy to clean. Most eggs are usually covered in hard plastic or metal. This one appears to be covered in silicone, which many sexperts say is the preferred material for "insertables". It has no ridges or seams so it’s super easy to wipe clean.
Q: Overall, how happy were you with the iGasm?
A: On scale of 1 – 10 I’d say 6.5. While it didn’t have the same ease of use as some toys I have to admit that it was pretty fun to play around with the music choices. I suspect that one of two things will happen over the course of the next few months – I’ll either come up with a playlist that totally rocks my world or I’ll lose interest. So far I’ve been having a lot of fun experimenting with song choices but some days I just want get down to business without all the fuss of song choice, wires, etc.
Q: Would you recommend the iGasm to a friend, given the approximate price tag of $60 CDN?
A: Well yes and no. For someone who’s stuck in a rut or is looking to add to their toy collection I would say go for it! But for someone looking for a primary toy, I’d have to say no. I liked that it was new and different but it will never replace my first string choices.
Q: Which songs did you listen to? How would you rate them in terms of, um, effectiveness?
A: As I wanted a good collection of songs for my experiment I asked my friends and colleagues for their suggestions. The suggestions they came back with ranged from the obvious thematic choices (Gett Off, Orgasm Addict, Justify My Love, French Kiss, etc) to the more eclectic choices (1812 Overture and Flight of the Bumblebee). I’ve ranked the songs by where I’d either use them in the process – warm up, cruising, finale; I also noted songs that have since been removed from my iGasm playlist. A song was removed if it didn’t interact with the iGasm to produce enough variation of intensity. Here’s my playlist:
Orgasm Addict – Buzzcocks (removed)
Can’t Get You Out of My Head – Kylie Minogue (removed)
Justify My Love – Madonna (removed)
Not Fade Away/Going Down the Road Feeling Bad – Grateful Dead (cruising and finale)
Trip Like I do – Filter & Crystal Method (removed)
Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy – Big and Rich (warm up)
Gold Digger – Kanye West (warm up)
American Music – Violent Femmes (warm up)
Gett Off – Prince (removed)
Sweet Ones – Sarah Sleen (cruising)
Waltz #2 – Elliott Smith (cruising)
Synasthesia – Junkie XL (finale)
Flight of the Bumblebee – Tchaikovsky (ok this was a fun choice but didn’t offer any variety of intensity so it was removed)
My Neck, My Back – Khia (warm up)
Nice Legs, Shame about the face – The Monks (warm up)
Hear My Name – Armand Van Heldon (cruising)
Anywhere – 112 (removed)
Vibrate – Rufus Wainwright (warm up, on an interesting note everything he sings the work ‘vibrate’ the iGasm reacted, not sure if that was planned but it was pretty cool.)
Fade Into You – Mazzy Star (cruising)
I Want Your Sex – George Michael (warm up)
Sympathy for the Devil – Guns and Roses (finale!)
1812 Overture – Tchaikovsky (very slow to start and does become more fun towards the end but in the end it was removed)
I’m Your Man – Wham (warm up)
French Kiss – Lil’ Louie (warm up, cruising and finale!)
Start Me Up – Rolling Stones (I was a bit heartbroken about this – removed.)
Q: What do you think made the most effective tracks so good? Tempo? Rhythm? Variation? Length? other?
A: Tempo, rhythm, variation and length all played into it. I found that the dance tracks didn’t offer any variety in sensation. Songs that had a slow beginning and built up to their own climactic end tended to produce a better result; good examples from the list above include French Kiss by Lil’ Louie and Synasthesia by Junkie XL.
Q: Is there anything you would change about the iGasm or encourage the manufacturer to consider for a future version?
A: For me to change my rating from 6.5 to something higher the unit would have to have better intensity control as a stand alone unit. The manufacturer’s vibration settings, while interesting, didn’t give me the same kind of control as a more standard egg unit does. And with all of the wireless technology we have available right now there must be some way for them to decrease the number of wires involved. I wouldn’t mind having a larger control unit if it meant fewer wires.
There you have it. The iGasm appears to have been a success for Andrea though she apparently isn’t trading in her other toys just yet. What do you think, will you shell out the $60 to try the iGasm or is the whole idea of an iPod-connected sex toy a turn-off for you?