Believe it or not – in the (almost) 2 years that i’ve been blogging, i’ve never set foot inside a bricks and mortar sex toy shop. Recently, I was visiting London and decided that I would pop my cherry and head down to Harmony Store down on Oxford Street. And i’m really glad I did.
It was a surprisingly pleasant experience. The staff were friendly, knowledgable and non-judgmental. I’ve long had the age-old impression of poorly lit buildings with faded and scuffed carpets, and that one person in the corner who’s had their hands down their pants the whole time. Considering all of my previous purchases were made online, this was a nice, fresh experience. If you’ve never been to Harmony, I strongly recommend popping down for a browse! And it was inside that I laid my eyes on a brand new line of luxury toys – and before long, I was handing over the plastic and bringing one of them home.
— The Big Gay Review (@thebiggayreview) March 28, 2016
VIVE is a range of luxury vibrators developed by american company Shots Media. The range consists of various butt plugs, g-spot and clitoral vibrators, a cock ring and some wand-style massagers. I settled on the AKI after trying out the vibrations in store (on a demo unit, I didn’t drop trou’), and being pleasantly surprised. Is there such a thing as love at first sight? Well let’s read on and find out.
As you know, i’m a sucker for a nice package. And the packaging for the VIVE range is no exception. There is a nice, elegant outer slip box which features descriptions of the toy, and a few pictures of the toy. Underneath is the keep-sake box with a good old magnetic flap. As you lift the flap (easy) – you’ll find several user manuals in different languages in the lid, and nestled in a form-fitting foam bed is the AKI and the USB charging cable.
The AKI is coated in a gorgeous, silky silicone which it claims is dust repellant. I wouldn’t 100% agree – it still attracts a fair bit of dust and fluff, but no where near as bad as other silicone toys too. The AKI measures 6.9 inches in overall length, with an insertable length of around 5.6 inches. At it’s widest point, it has a circumference of about 5 inches.
It’s waterproof and weighs in at just 128g. The AKI features 10 settings – 3 constant speeds and 7 patterns, and should last for around 50 mins on a full charge (which takes about 2 hours). According to the inside manual, it has a maximum noise output of 60db – and I would concur – it’s pretty quiet, even on it’s highest setting. The vibrations are rumbly, and pretty strong (around 6500 RPM). It’s no powerhouse – however, as I was to find out during testing – that was NOT a problem!
The AKI has a pretty firm shaft, as it’s just a thin layer of silicone over the ABS plastic interior, and the shaft has a sort of, kink in it – which gives it a slight ‘spiral’. It has a really fine tapered tip, to make insertion simple. After giving the AKI a good thorough charge, I was ready to put it through it’s paces. I wanted to test it out in a few ways – but first, I just wanted to see how the vibrations felt. So I took myself to the bedroom and got myself ready.
For someone who is fairly advanced with anal play, should find the AKI quite easy to insert without much of a warm up. Those who are still fairly new may want to take a bit of time to prepare. I grabbed my trusty lube, and got myself into position. With the AKI coated, I began insertion. As predicted, the pointed tip went in really easy, and there was a slight stretch as you got to the wider part towards the middle. Once past that, the AKI narrows to 3.5 inches towards the neck, meaning it slipped in comfortably and didn’t move around much once it was fully in.
To switch it on, simply hold the central button for a couple of seconds, and it will rumble into life. I have to admit, even on the lowest setting, I could feel myself reacting favourably to the vibrations. There’s a good amount of length on the plug, so it drives those vibrations deeply. Pressing the plus (+) button cycles it through the various settings. Both the middle and high settings were just as rumbly, although I would say in the highest setting, it leans ever so slightly more towards the ‘buzzy’ side, but we are talking just a small amount of buzz – the same way the Prism get’s just slightly more high-pitched on it’s highest setting, yet still maintains a good rumble.
After that, the various patterns are a mixtures of fast and slow pulses and waves, which are random but also a lot of fun – and it was here that I started to experiment. So with the AKI on a ‘pulsing’ settting, each time the AKI buzzed, I clenched. This drew it just that little bit deeper, and it was soon hitting the prostate – not quite as intensely as I usually like it because the AKI is not curved, but it was certainly enough to make me pay attention. Knowing that I respond better to constant vibrations, I switched it back to it’s highest constant speed, but carried on the whole ‘kegel’ motion. Yes. Oh god, yep – that’s really working now.
I was soon incredibly aroused, so I began to stroke myself, and I had been barely at it for more than 30 seconds, when I could feel a huge orgasm brewing. When I eventually let go, I came pretty hard and I was left shaking. This is now my new favourite butt plug.
— The Big Gay Review (@thebiggayreview) April 27, 2016
I know a lot of people like to wear their butt plugs whilst out and about, or whilst doing other tasks – so I took it upon myself to give it a try. And it works – mostly. I personally found now issues with the AKI slipping out during use – but even when it did feel a little ‘loose’ – a tight fitting pair of boxers soon helped secure it into place. The rounded base fits fairly comfortably between the cheeks – although at this point, I was wishing it had a slightly more ‘form fitting’ t-bar style base, kind of like the one on the Twist by Tantus. However, I was still able to sit on the soft bed, and sofa without too much of an issue – and it doesn’t ‘stick out’ so it’s not immediately obvious whats going on underneath those clothes!
If you are in a particularly quiet environment, then the vibrations emanating from your chair may be obvious – however if you are in a noisy pub or club, for example, you might be able to coast by without drawing suspicion. However, I have to be honest, I don’t think using this plug out and about is entirely practical. Firstly, it’s not remote controlled – so you can’t stop and start it, or change settings without shoving your hands down the back of your trousers (try doing THAT in the queue at Waitrose) and secondly – you only get 50 minutes play time. I definitely think this is something that’s best used during sex and masturbation – somewhere comfortable!
I do have a few little niggles – firstly, the control buttons are REALLY small, and also pretty stiff – and when you have big fat fingers like mine, it does make controlling it slightly awkward – and also changing vibrations once it’s inserted requires you to feel around for the buttons, and it’s not always obvious which button is which in the heat of the moment – which is why I really am a firm advocate for remote controlled anal toys!
Clean-up and Maintenance
The AKI is waterproof, so you can rinse it under the tap with a good spritz of toy cleaner. I’ve also found resting the tip in a mixture of baking powder/water has been good at helping remove any odours left in the silicone (whilst it doesn’t hold bacteria, it can retain odour). As for storage, i’m a little bit sad that a nice little pouch wasn’t included – so I am still storing mine inside it’s lovely little keep-sake box. Although as it’s silicone, it is perfectly safe to store loose without issue. As I mentioned earlier, the silicone is touted as being ‘anti-dust’ – and whilst I don’t 100% agree, it certainly has picked up less dust and hair then other silicone vibrators.
I have to say, I am thoroughly impressed with this toy, and it’s reasonably priced as well (RRP £64.99), which compared to the prices of other ‘luxury’ lines such as LELO and L’Amourose, it’s certainly worth looking into. One thing that did confuse me a little, is the AKI (like most of the VIVE range) has a climax function – pressing and holding the plus button puts the device into it’s highest intensity. Doing this on the AKI puts it onto some sort of ‘pulsing’ pattern, which did not feel as strong as the toy does on it’s highest constant setting – and certainly would not be the setting I want for ‘climax’ – but this is a personal preference.
The VIVE range is one that I am keeping my eye on, and there are certainly a couple of other items in the range that I may have to look into further in the future.
Where to buy
I bought my AKI from Harmony Store where it is available in Black, Pink or Purple colours.
For those who want a slightly smaller toy, the Zesiro features a similar shape to the AKI, but has a shorter insertable length of 4.5 inches – but every other feature is the same.
The Lowdown | VIVE Aki Vibrating Butt Plug
Pros: Decent rumbly vibrations, 10 speeds and patterns, USB rechargeable and waterproof. Easy to insert and good internal sensations.
Cons: Buttons are a little fiddly and it’s definitely not ‘anti-dust’.
Bottom Line: It does feel like a good quality, decent butt plug – not ideal for use out and about, but certainly turns a solo wank session into something far more enjoyable, and is comfortable enough to use during intercourse too. Good price point as well.