Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Black Jack Stroker by California Exotic Novelties.

When I was a kid, my father took me to see the 1983 Charles Bronson vigilante/cop film 10 To Midnight. Dad was a big action movie fan, a very typical guy in that regard, and always could be depended on to see the latest gun-toting, car-chasing, machismo-riddled strip of celluloid. Mom was good for occult thrillers and James Bond. Either way, I would happily munch on my Whoppers with the hit men, demonic spawn, spies, and man-eating sharks.

(10 To Midnight also featured a very nekkid Ola Ray who, in addition to being Playboy's June 1980 Playmate of the Month, thrilled me because I was dating a Nigerian at the time. The sight of her mocha self in the requisite shower-scene-as-the-crazed-killer-looms-nearby definitely caught my attention.)

But what stands out in my memory, even more than Bronson's snubnose .38 or Ray's beautiful brown tits, is the toy.

Psychopath Warren Stacy (played by Gene Davis) is a sexual predator. During a raid on his apartment, he's found in his bathroom with a large, bizarre apparatus that (to me) looked like a small fire extinguisher tank with some kind of J-shaped red rubber or plastic tubing attached to one end. The whole thing must have been two feet long. Later, while interrogating him in classic bully-cop fashion, Bronson tosses the thing on the table before Davis with a clatter, shouting, "You know what this is for, Warren? It's for jerking off!"

And then it hit me. My junior-year-high-school brain met my burgeoning, straining libido and stars burst in my head. The tank was for suction. The tubing was for his cock.

"Holy fuck!" I thought to myself, a malted milk ball held in mid-crunch between my teeth and my tongue. "They make machines to suck it??"

I very probably jacked my tender, young dick that night and burst my load into the stratosphere just with the thought of having such a thing. It did remain in my fantasies for years to come. I mean, just think of the fucking convenience.

But, and perhaps only until very recently, sextoys for men has had an element of shameful taboo associated with it. While the adult toy market easily and readily sensualizes the buying experience for women, sometimes relating the ownership of a vibrator or dildo with personal sexual empowerment and independence, most marketing strategies have yet to bridge the ambivalence that many guys might have. Many men still inwardly believe that to purchase or use a sextoy somehow conveys the message that "they have to" because they're "unsuccessful" with women. Owning a sextoy becomes connected with shame and self-effacing embarassment. This, in turn, enables interrogating police officers to hurl these toys at suspects, shouting things like "You know what this is for, Warren? It's for jerking off!" because it will emasculate him into submission out of his own shame for having the thing in the first place.

This, of course, is absolute bullshit. This is also one of the ways how patriarchal culture actually works against men, because this sort of shame robs us of wholly enjoying what would otherwise be a perfectly fun experience. Sure, it's perfectly possible that anyone (man or woman) can and may use a sextoy because a date didn't present him- or herself that Friday night, but that doesn't have to mean that this sort of bodyfun is mutually exclusive to being with a partner. And what's to suggest that someone (man or woman) couldn't, wouldn't, shouldn't enjoy using toys while with your partner?

So imagine my personal glee when, after fantasizing about blowjob simulators since my teens, I had the opportunity to review one.

California Exotic Novelties is among the most successful and prolific adult toy manufacturers to be found anywhere, and frequently collaborates with respected sexperts and well-known adult performers to develop and market their wares. A woman-owned company, they contribute to breast cancer research. They very probably made the cheesy (but clever) boardgame you or your spouse got at the bridal shower.

The Black Jack Stroker features "robotic suction action" with "the perfect fit." It consists of four primary separate parts: a rubber manual pump, the battery-powered suction and vibration controller, an interior sleeve, and the plastic casing which includes fist grip and vibrating egg. Made in China, its overall length is 12.5 inches (32cm), the business end being 6.5 inches (17cm), and 2.5 inches (6cm) wide. It weighs 21 ounces (.6kg) and is powered by four C batteries to provide its individually-controlled vibration and pumping functions.

The important feature, as far as your cock is concerned, is the interior sleeve. The dead-black, well-shaped lips could seem a little ominous (unless you're into goths), and they're very, very firm. The sleeve's interior also has dozens of round nodules to enhance sensation, but certainly there's nothing to simulate warmth, moisture (unless you use water-based lube), or the action of a swirling tongue. Made from TPE, it retains some heat and is elastic, but (if your sense of political correctness wants to know this) it was probably fashioned by a nasty chemical corporation like Monsanto or Dupont. But does it feel good on your dick? With lube, not bad.

The suction comes from your manual use of the pump. The pistoning effect really does precious little toward contributing to that apart from the visual stimulation, and the repetitive, mechanical noise this feature makes is not quiet at all. This also means that to really enjoy this toy, both hands are required to operate the pump (and keep a finger handy near the quick-release valve) and hold the entire thing steadily on your cock. Once a rhythm is in place this wouldn't seem so bad, but the sleeve remains attached to the hard plastic casing only by virtue of a 4cm grip curling over the casing opening. Even a moderate amount of lube, plus some vigourous thrusting or stroking, can easily make the sleeve detach from the casing. This can be frustrating to deal with, probably requiring the user to ignore the topmost handgrip to the Stroker and hold it by the base to keep the sleeve in place. Fucking annoying, really. Why is it so difficult for male sextoy manufacturers to come up with a design that doesn't include multiple, separate pieces that each have to be manually (and distractingly) secured?

The plastic casing is made from ABS, a recyclable thermoplastic also used in protective headgear, auto parts, pipes, and tattoo ink. Other parts are made from PVC.

The vibrating egg is affixed to the interior top of the plastic casing, and its effect on the head of your cock can easily make you see stars when properly combined with that good, if labour-intensive, rhythm. That is, if seeing a wire in there doesnt give you heebiejeebies. When all the component sensations (suction, pistoning, the lips' grip, the nodules, and the vibrations to the cockhead)are running smoothly, the Stroker can be pretty sensational when it wants to.

Does it completely simulate a blowjob? Not exactly, no, because it doesn't have a tongue and your lover doesn't have a vibrating egg down her (or his) throat, but it's still a interesting experience that had me shooting the first time I tried it.

But after then, I was quickly reminded that the Stroker is being marketed as a novelty. Hell, it's in the company name. Marketed as a novelty, manufacturers absolve themselves from a lot of quality control (and, in the case of toys made with phthalates, possibly safety).

The truth is that, for me, the best blowjobs eventually become a little vigourous and passionate. I like to thrust. Once the 'novelty' of finally satisfying my teenage oh-my-God-you-mean-they-make-things-that'll-suck-it fantasy had been met and I was moving past the newness of the toy (say by the third time), my body brought me back to wanting to thrust and fuck that little, firm, goth-black, elastomer mouth. I set the phaser piston on stun, the photon vibrator on kill, found my rhythm with the manual pump and held that sleeve in place by the base while giving this sucker a real Mythbusters-level road test.

And I promptly broke the goddamned thing.

klik whirrr wheeez All gone. Bye bye. So sad. On a downstroke, I simply oversuctioned, overpistoned, overjacked the big bad Black Jack Stroker until it too seemed like a crestfallen, whimpering, sniveling suspect on the other end of an interrogator's desk. It was defeated.

Would I recommend it? Actually, yeah. Compared to other strokers I looked at, this one seemed more comprehensive and fun to use, even with the headaches. The Blow Job Stroker seems to be more high-tech, and gadgets like the Solo Slider try to do the job is a handier, simpler fashion. But I wouldn't expect to be too vigourous with the Black Jack, and I wouldn't expect it to replace the fleshy passion of my woman's mouth, tongue, hands, breath, warmth, zeal, hunger, and whimpering.

Especially if she were, you know, Ola Ray.

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