Update: As of June 2016, I no longer endorse Lelo and generally will not recommend their products. See this post for my reasons.
When Lelo released the original Ora, it won the Cannes Lions Award for design. It’s a pretty toy, all shiny and sleek, looking completely unlike most sex toys with it’s circular shape. And yet, when I read reviews from bloggers I respect and trust, the Ora was resoundingly panned. The nub was too small, the swirling and flicking sensations too weak. You can see some of those reviews here and here.
I was sad to read about the Ora’s lackluster performance, because the idea of experiencing the sensations of oral sex without a partner around had real promise. Fast forward to October. Lelo, taking into account feedback from reviewers and customers, released the Ora 2. Sense Touch was added to prolong battery life. The Ora 2 charges via USB rather than plugging into the wall. And most critically, the “tongue” was larger, both in width and length, to provide more clitoral stimulation. When I got the chance to review the Ora 2, I hoped I was in for a treat.
Watching the swirling bead beneath Lelo’s velvety smooth silicone, I was excited. It looked much more prominent than the original model, so surely it had to feel good. The ring shape fit comfortably in my hand, with controls well-positioned and easy to use.
And yet, when I held the Ora 2 against my clit, I barely felt it. In disbelief, I tried repositioning. No improvement. I separated my labia and applied gentle pressure. I felt the bead pass lightly over my clit, as I imagine a flower feels the brush of a passing butterfly’s wing. Pleasurable, but it would take hours of that kind of stimulation for me to even approach orgasm. I increased the speed, hoping it would help. It did, but just barely.
I turned on the vibrations, scrolling through the 8 patterns offered. Even on the lowest setting, they completely obliterated my ability to feel the bead. Since I wanted to evaluate the Ora 2 on its merits as an oral sex simulator, I switched back to using it without vibration. I changed positions. I adjusted settings. In a moment of deep frustration, I applied much more intense pressure. I felt the bead then, hard and unyielding. With a yelp of pain, I dropped the Ora 2 and abandoned further testing until my clit recovered from the abuse.
On my next attempt, I was thoroughly prepared. I had porn rolling, lots of lube and a couple of other toys on hand to help me warm up. I was determined to get off or die trying. It took nearly an hour, and some carefully timed toy switching, but I finally managed to come using the Ora’s flicks and swirls. It was the orgasmic equivalent of Wile E. Coyote charging headlong over the edge of a cliff, realizing there is only air under his feet, and plummeting miserably to the ground. A Wile E. Coyote failgasm, if you will.
I am by no means a power queen. I don’t need intense clitoral stimulation to have an orgasm, and I occasionally find vibrators to be overwhelming. I only use my Tango inserted into another toy, and the top setting on my Eroscillator never gets used. Even so, the oral sex simulation on the Ora 2 is just not enough to work for me. Can I get off with its vibrations? Sure. But it doesn’t feel much different from other vibrators, so it doesn’t impress me. And if I’m going to recommend a $189 product, it needs to blow my doors off. Instead, I’d recommend Lelo’s Mia 2 as a clitoral vibe, or the versatile Mona 2 for both G-spot and clit vibrations. Both cost significantly less then the Ora 2.
I do think it’s great that Lelo updated the Ora so quickly. I appreciate that they are committed to making high quality toys and are receptive to feedback. But the Ora 2 needs another trip back to the drawing board. The nub still protrudes less than half an inch from the body of the toy, which in no way compares to an actual tongue. The diameter of the bead could stand to be larger as well. I’d love to see more motion patterns for the bead beyond circles and semicircles, perhaps some shorter flicks. In order to better mimic a tongue, a softer coating on the hard plastic bead might be worth considering. And as pretty as the gold plating is, it makes for hard to clean seams… the Ora would be better off in an unbroken cover of silicone.
Here’s hoping that the next incarnation of the Ora lives up to its potential. In the meantime, I look forward to trying Lelo’s latest offering… the Mona Wave.