by Ava Mir-Ausziehen, Sex Toy Reviewer at Sssh.com
As I wandered the show floor of the Adult Novelty Expo at AVN this year, I was chilled by the sea of expressionless sex-dolls littering the space. Poised and splayed, fake nails dangling from their rubbery digits, I couldn’t help but wonder: is the human fuck at risk of being phased out?
I cycled through the room, transfixed by all the glassy eyeballs, lost in thought about the potentially dystopic future of sexual culture, until something else caught my eye. Akin to the classic car dealership blow-up man, a 6-foot inflated purple dildo pulled me over to the Velvet Thruster table, and my fuck-faith in humanity was restored.
Unlike any toy I had come across before, the Velvet Thruster is a self-propelled dildo, offering three inches of thrust at the touch of a button for a hands-free experience. While one of my first thoughts was this had potential as an ideal toy for folks with reduced mobility (more on that later), developer Alex explained that the idea behind the toy was rather to create a fucking machine-style product in a lower price range (230$, compared to the average 2000$ – 4000$ of a full fucking machine such as the Shock Spot).
Having used the Shock Spot, I can attest that the Thruster provides a powerful punch that rivals a true fuck machine. With 10 speeds that ramp up to 140 thrusts per minute, you can enjoy everything from a slow sensual rocking to a raucous organ-pounding. Unlike fucking machines however, you cannot switch out the shaft of the Thruster, but it comes in four styles: a ‘natural’ veined penis shape, a narrower ribbed probe, an anal-bead style with 5 tiers of increasing size, and a bulbous ringed dong. The shaft offers some give, for more comfort at various angles.
As Alex admitted, the Thruster is not a “beginner’s” sex toy. It is far from discreet. The motor is strong and reliable, and this makes for a loud machine. The base is fairly heavy as well, which helps to stabilize it. Simply put, airport security pulled my bag aside on my way home.
Wandering the Hard Rock Hotel after acquiring the toy, I serendipitously wound up at a group discussion covering the topic of sexuality, pleasure products, and disability. I took the occasion to ask folks if they saw the Thruster as having any potential for people with reduced mobility. While the toy is a bit heavy, and the buttons small and somewhat hard to reach, it could definitely have appeal for some folks in this demographic. Another product developer was attending the talk and showcasing their Perfect Pleasure position cushion and toy mount. We got to work on the spot: by inserting the base of the Thruster into one of the cushion’s mount holes and locking it in place with the included Velcro straps, we built an impromptu fully functional fuck machine that would be highly adaptable to different body shapes and positions. It was a moment of collaborative sex toy magic. Ooohs and ahhhs filled the room.
I’ll admit that one of my initial thoughts upon seeing the Thruster was that a toy like this would never replace the way I use a dildo currently, simply using my own arm to move it in and out. Since then, however, I’ve found that having a toy that thrusts itself does much more than free up a hand. It has totally shifted the masturbation experience from a nuanced but somewhat predictable activity to a more immersive experience. One day a date cancelled on me and I was particularly disappointed. I had just worked a week of 12 hour days and all I wanted was to be lavished upon by the fawning feline I had just met last week. I sulked for a moment, then sucked it up and pulled out the Thruster and my trusty Hitachi Magic Wand. The Thruster works great for anal play; the girth is a Goldilocks for me (neither too big nor too small) and by selecting the slow setting it went to work perfectly pounding my innards. Being hands free and not orchestrating every motion enabled me to feel the kind of lost-in-the-moment-ness that often only seems accessible with a partner. When I control the pace and depth of a dildo manually, I know I can make subtle unconscious changes at will, and this is part of the pleasure of masturbation. The Thruster removes that ability to a certain extent, but it also makes for a unique dynamic, somehow producing a sort of unpredictability by maintaining consistency where I might normally introduce more nuance. Having a little less control to constantly change pace makes it feel more like a relational experience that is difficult to explain. In any case, I came hard, twice; it was the kind of session that leaves you flustered and giggling and excited about life. Then I was able to go about my beautiful day with a smile. The Thruster has since become a standard player in my repertoire.
My sole concern with the Thruster is that the controls for power and speed are on the bottom of the base. Not only has the toy gone off in my backpack if I set it down too heavily (I recommend keeping it in the box for travel), but given that the vagina or anus provides a bit of resistance, you either need to prop the toy against something or sit on it if you want to be totally hands-free (if you’re flexible, I recommend you try holding the base with your feet in a cobbler’s pose). Propping the toy against something means either blocking the buttons or hitting them inadvertently. Granted, there are only three buttons to deal with (on/off, faster, slower) and it didn’t take long to memorize where each one was so I could control them without being able to see them. But if I was holding the toy in a mount of some kind, or sitting on it so that the bottom was flush against the floor or bed or chair, there would be a risk of shutting it off by mistake and it would be difficult to change pace mid-session, which could be frustrating.
This toy isn’t just for solo play; it can add a lot of possibilities to partner play as well (and the accordion ridges of the thrusting mechanism make using condoms on the toy easy and secure). I can imagine the benefit of setting up a mount that would keep my partner consistently pegged, leaving me able to explore them widely and hands-free. I tried using bondage tape to strap the base to my upper thigh while playing with a friend; this added a really fun bondage/submission element (although the toy would slip out if I spread my legs too wide, which I am prone to do…). So where the Thruster at first seemed a bit clunky and cumbersome, I’ve since found it to be a highly versatile addition to my own bedroom and the bedrooms of others.
In an era where vibrators seem to have more and more modes and patterns, smartphone app connectivity, blue tooth controls, whisper silent motors, and other bells and whistles, the straightforward work-house mentality of the Thruster is refreshing. It is a bossy, bad-ass, unapologetic toy. I’ve always been a fan of big, loud, uncomplicated pleasure products, and the Thruster fits snugly in that category.
More info and ordering for the Thruster can be found at https://thethruster.com/
Latest posts by Ava Mir-Ausziehen (see all)
- Sex Toy Review – The Velvet Thruster - March 3, 2018
- Putting Barriers on Fantasy – Proposition 60 and the Portrayal Police - November 6, 2016
- Seeing Women: Explicit Media & the Science of Arousal - May 27, 2014