Back when Teddy Love was first being introduced to the world via a crowdfunding campaign, I had some strong feelings about this bear. I’m guessing that the folks behind Teddy Love were unaware of this post when they emailed me, offering a bear of my very own to review. I almost deleted the email without responding. Why would I want to review a product with so many issues, especially one that plays on sex-negative attitudes in its marketing?
Well, for one thing, I’m into unusual sex toys. There is a corner of my mind that absolutely clamored to add another oddity to my collection. And while I found its claims of discretion less than credible, and had some questions about cleaning, Teddy Love isn’t a fundamentally unsafe or bad toy. I could do an objective analysis, maybe it isn’t really as awful as all that. Sure, the marketing is questionable, but a review gives me an opportunity to address that. Besides, it definitely has appeal to certain types of kinksters, so maybe a review could actually be useful. How bad could it be?
What Have I Done?
When I pulled Teddy Love from its shipping box, I found myself confronted by a rather large stuffed bear and wondering what the hell I’d been thinking. Teddy Love stared eerily back at me with blank, glassy eyes and a perennially protruding tongue, silently mocking my life choices. I’ve had vibrators with faces before, but this was an entirely new level. I set the box down and snapped a few pictures while I tried to come to terms with the idea of testing this thing.
There was an information sheet included entitled “Why Teddy Love?”. I hoped it would help with the questions and doubts spiraling in my mind, “WHY???” being chief among them. Apparently, this disconcerting bear was created to solve imaginary challenges posed by conventional vibrators. For example…
- Teddy Love can be left out in the open and blends in with bedroom décor – Really? Teddy bears haven’t blended into my bedroom décor since I was 14 or so. And none of those had inexplicable plastic muzzles with tongues. I’d feel MUCH more comfortable leaving a small clit vibe out in my room…odds are something like that would be overlooked by a casual observer. I have soooo many problems with the promotion of Teddy Love as a “discreet” sex toy…but more to come on that later.
- Teddy Love can be used by both women and men – First off, fuck the gender binary. And second, this is true of pretty much any sex toy. I’ve repurposed prostate toys for G-spot use, and vibrators can feel nice on all kinds of genitals. And if you were going for inclusivity points, maybe don’t adorn your all your ads (and this info sheet!) with scantily clad women fondling the damn bear.
- Teddy Love can be cuddled and caressed – OK, sure. But that’s not a feature I’ve ever looked for in a vibrator. And 87% of respondents to my Twitter poll feel the same way.
- Teddy Love can be purchased without fear or embarrassment – I’m the wrong audience for this point. I’ll happily get a Lyft to a sex shop, discuss my dildo preferences at length and walk out with a couple of pounds of silicone. I’m also not a fan of the implication that one should be ashamed or nervous about buying a non-cuddly sex toy. Using sex toys is normal, healthy and fun.
- Teddy Love is adorable and non-phallic – Well, they’re half right anyway! But there is a plethora of vibrators on the market that don’t look like dicks. Limon, We-Vibe Touch, Matryoshka, Crave Duet Flex, Siri, Tori and Kushi come to mind, just to name a few. And none of them will give you the creepy feeling that you’re being watched.
Getting to Know Teddy Love
Having read about Teddy’s alleged assets, I began getting acquainted with my new vibrating friend. I learned quickly that Teddy Love has exactly one vibration setting, which is buzzy and sad. Cleopatra’s legendary gourd full of angry bees would probably be stronger than this. The vibration is most focused in the bear’s nose, and muffled by the thick plastic. I don’t understand the point of the bear’s tongue, as it barely transmits any vibration and is too small to be enjoyable for insertion.
Teddy also sports a red bow tie, which is apparently intended to convey sex appeal. Personally, I think Build-A-Bear boxer briefs are a better look for him.
Teddy Love is large. I mean LARGE. At 20 inches, he stands taller than my longest dildo, and he is chubby and fluffy besides. Assuming you don’t feel comfortable leaving him out, storage is going to be a giant headache. This is not a toy you can slip into a nightstand drawer or casually tuck in your purse. If you travel with Teddy Love, he is going to occupy a sizeable chunk of real estate in your luggage. He also lacks a travel lock feature, so you’ll want to remove those batteries before packing him up. Buzzing bags are a security no-no. Buttons in a paw and both ears turn the vibration on and off. Easily. So easily that accidental switching off is practically inevitable.
After examining Teddy Love thoroughly and documenting his unique attributes, I realized that I had now reached the point at which my pants should be removed. But I found myself reluctant to mash the bear’s face against my vulva. Normally I’m at least a little excited to try a new sex toy, but NOPE.
Slurpy McBuzzyface and I regarded each other in awkward silence. I decided that porn might inspire me, and pulled out my laptop. Dutifully, I discarded my pants. Once I was getting into the video, I reached for the bear. I pressed his cold, hard, buzzing nose to my clit and was decidedly not impressed.
I tried grinding, rubbing in circles, changing positions. I was hampered by the challenge of maneuvering a giant bear between my legs while trying not to accidentally switch off the vibration by inadvertently grabbing its ear. Despite my best efforts, it was a grueling slog to a weak, half-hearted orgasm. It was the kind of session that made me not only doubt my desire to get off, but also my will to live. Literally any other vibe I have ever tried, including crappy watch battery bullets, would have been more enjoyable. Aside from the weakness of the vibration, the visual of Teddy Love in use is not what I would consider a turn-on. I have attempted to re-create the effect below, using a folded pillow.
As for cleanup, oh boy. This is a non-waterproof vibrator covered in fur. I did a serious washcloth wipedown of Teddy’s face and muzzle but I’m fairly certain traces of lube and such remain trapped in his fuzz. Also, the seam around his nose is a gunk-trapping nightmare that required scrubbing with a toothbrush. And you know what’s not discreet AT ALL? Leaving your freshly scrubbed, wet-muzzled sex bear in the bathroom to dry.
The Ultimate Discretion Test: Airport Security
I’ve taken a wide assortment of sex toys on airplanes before. While I’m careful to check any dildo that could be classified as a weapon, vibrators are routinely tossed in my carry on bag. I’ve waltzed through security with as many as half a dozen vibrators or dildos at once. But what would happen if I tried this with the oh-so-discreet Teddy Love? 1
I waited for a trip when I would be traveling solo, without any coworkers on my flight. I planned to arrive at the airport an extra hour early, in case my attempt to fly with Teddy Love resulted in significant delays at security. I had also photographed the bear prior to departure, out of concern that it might be confiscated. With these precautions in place, I stuffed Teddy Love into my backpack and prepared for boarding.
I was not especially surprised when my bag was pulled aside for a search. After asking me if I had anything sharp or dangerous in my bag, the TSA agent opened it and extracted Teddy Love. He looked at the bear, then back at me, as if unsure how to proceed. I smiled. Again he looked at the bear, then at me.
“It’s a vibrator,” I remarked helpfully, as if sort of thing were perfectly commonplace and ordinary.
Stony silence from the TSA agent, who still seemed both concerned and confused.
In an attempt to extricate myself from the rapidly rising tide of awkwardness, I explained calmly and politely that I write sex toy reviews. And that this is a sample I was given for that purpose, which I’m taking on my business trip. Then I waited and prayed to all the dildo deities that he wouldn’t call the FBI.
“Ma’am, I’ll need to check this over”, said the agent as he took Teddy Love to a table. I thought (hoped?) he might cut the bear open, but instead I was treated to the surreal spectacle of a teddy bear being swabbed to check for explosives. When the swabs came up clean, Mr. TSA stuffed the bear back into my backpack and without making eye contact, told me I was free to go. I cleared out quickly before any other agents could get curious about Teddy Love.
I have to say that Teddy Love gets extremely low marks for being discreet in this case. While I generally don’t have to explain my conventional vibrating sex toys, Teddy Love raised some eyebrows and required extended interaction with security personnel.
I can’t possibly recommend Teddy Love. At all. For any reason. From the creepiness to the bad vibrations to the hygiene issues to the relatively high price, it’s all a giant NOPE. If you’re into the idea of a vibrating stuffed animal, you’d be better off buying a Tango and performing some minor surgery to create a vibe pocket on the critter of your choice. At least a removable vibe would let you toss the toy into a washing machine now and then.
If you’re one of the folks worried about discretion in sex toy purchasing, you’ll want to direct your attention to the banners in my sidebar. These shops will send your purchases discreetly and you can shop in the privacy of your home. Get yourself a vibrator that’s focused on vibrating rather than being cute and cuddly. Your genitals will thank you!
- While this story works out fine in the end, please do not take it as encouragement to perform experiments on the TSA’s tolerance level. Also, I recognize the role that my various forms of privilege played in getting me through safely. ↩