The Lelo Ida was very kindly sent to me by the angels over at Lovehoney for review.
This is a very long review. Very long. Like, 1000+ words long, so please, please read it. I spent more time on this review than I’ve spent on some essays, I spent more time stressing about a sex toy than I’ve spent stressing about academic work, can we just let that sink in for a sec? Couple’s toys like this seem to be an incredibly divisive thing, judging from the reviews I’ve read about the We-Vibe(s) and the Tiani, and some people hate them, and some absolutely can’t-live-without-them adore them. My review falls into the former camp.I am a huge, huge fan of Lelo toys, like, I’m a little bit fanatical about them. My Gigi was one of the first toys I ever bought so that’s probably why I have such an unwavering loyalty to them – I think I’ve already mentioned in previous reviews that I’m definitely not a power queen so Lelo’s slightly subtler vibrations are perfect for me. I love ’em. I really do. And this, coupled with my bizarre urge to smooth over everything bad (‘c’mon guys, it’s just a sprain! it’ll heal itself! what do you mean you can see the bone, don’t be daft, i feel fine!’) made writing this review a lil bit of an upsetting experience for me.
Just to reiterate – this is hella long, mostly waffle, and if you’re only interested in my experience using it solo, with toys, with my girlfriend, or with a male partner, please ctrl+f for either SOLO/TOYS/FEM/HET, whichever one you’re interested in, or you can just scroll down until you see the capitals. You do you, I won’t judge.
I know nobody ever reads the bit about the packaging, but the Ida, like all Lelo products, comes in gorgeous packaging, so…I’m going to write about it. It comes with a storage pouch, the charger, a ‘key’ to open the battery compartment for the remote, a remote control, a little Lelo registration card, a sample sachet of waterbased Lelo lube (very good, I highly recommend this), and batteries. The box it comes in can double as a storage box as it’s pretty sturdy but if you’re low on space the pouch will protect it too. I have no pictures of any of these delightful extras because I am a) lazy and b) a mucky pup who ruins all the beautiful packages she gets her hands on within a day.
I received mine in black – this contrasts beautifully with the gold detail on the Ida and on the remote. The only negative thing I have to say about this is that I wish the gold parts were made of metal instead of plastic as I think this cheapens an otherwise beautiful toy. The silicone the Ida is made of is matte, which looks wonderful against skin, is easy to clean, and feels super smooth and luxurious. The battery compartment on the remote opens with a little plastic key provided. I like this feature but I do wonder how you’d open it if you lost the key? I keep my nails long but I couldn’t claw it open and I had no success trying the slightly dampened flannel way of opening things. Another thing – why does the Tara come in that lovely cobalt blue but the Ida doesn’t?
I couldn’t wait to try out the remote function, I’m such a sucker for fancy gadget-y type things and I’ve never owned a toy with a wireless remote before, so that was the first thing I did. I wasn’t disappointed – it has ‘SenseMotion’ technology, which basically means that depending on how you tilt (or shake!) it, the Ida reacts accordingly. It’s pretty involved but I’m going to describe it as best I can, you turn the Ida on and then you press the + button on the remote to turn it on and they kind of ‘find’ each other, they’re able to communicate from this point. The remote and the Ida will vibrate together, varying in intensity, based on how far you’re tilting it towards and away from you. If you press the central button, you can switch the function, and if you press it again, you can switch to the ‘shake to vibrate’ function, which is pretty self-explanatory.
Included with the Ida is a little booklet explaining all of this much better than I’m able to. Oh, and there’s a little light on the remote that’s signifying that it’s on – you need to press the – button to turn it all off. Oh, another thing – it’s completely waterproof. Sexy couples tiny rotating arm aquatic funtimes for all?
One thing that I did notice before I used the Ida is that you’re unable to turn off the rotation setting. Kind of a bummer for such an expensive toy, really, especially considering how loud it is – it makes a pretty abrasive noise, but it’s not intolerable or anything, I’ve used battery operated vibrators that have been way worse – but I was hoping that I’d be so blinded by this wonderful rotating sensation that I’d never want to turn it off anyway. Huh. On to what it actually felt like.
SOLO: Using the Ida totally alone isn’t something that tips me over the edge, the arm doesn’t rub against my g-spot as hard as I’d like it to to so it can’t make me orgasm just from that, and the part that’s supposed to rest on your clit and move around in circles doesn’t actually sit on my clit unless I push it way back and then the outer arm part digs uncomfortably into my vulva. It’s irritating because it’s such an almost-there, almost-there kind of feeling, similar to the feeling you get with from a rabbit that doesn’t ‘fit’ you quite right, and then I end up pushing it back and – ouch. No. I do like using the rotating arm to rub in little circles around my clit though, like a very sensitive teasing finger. It’s not going to make me orgasm just from doing that but it feels pretty great. Not £140 great, but y’know. It’s good. Next.
TOYS: Glass toys, especially the textured kind, are a no-go zone with the Ida as the little rotating arm grinds against the toy and creates a noise not dissimilar to the sound that was created when I tried to crush chunks of ice in my ancient blender. Softer and more flexible toys work best for me and Ida, my favourite so far being a slim, slightly curved silicone dildo that I’ve lost the packaging for and can’t remember the make of. The arm seems to rest nicely in the curve of the toy and this gives it a little bit of room to do its fun rotate-y thing in, which I do like, while I’m still able to benefit from the fuller feeling the dildo gives me. Also, interestingly, I found that you can kind of use it like how I think wireless eggs are meant to be used! The Ida is big enough for me that it sits nicely inside my vagina by itself with no slipping or escape attempts, so I can use it for a bit of a tease during foreplay with a partner. Using it with lots of lube applied on what my girlfriend calls the ‘clit shield’ and clenching my pelvic muscles produces a sensation kind of similar to very soft, very gentle oral sex, which I haven’t experienced from any other kind of sex toy so far. Unfortunately, standing up and walking around with it in wasn’t a pleasant experience, but it’s not designed with that in mind. Swings and roundabouts.
HET: When I showed this to my male partner he crinkled up his nose and went ‘are you sure that’s going to fit in there? with me? seriously?’. I should’ve listened. We tried. We tried so hard! There was no room in there! It really hurt, it didn’t matter how much lube we used, it felt like I was being jabbed AND stretched too far at the same time. Thrusting pulled it out a little bit and then whacked it back up against my vulva again, it just wasn’t good. We tried it with me on top, which was by far the most painful, spooning, where it almost slid out and got crushed, missionary, where it jabbed me the most, and from behind, which was the most tolerable, but I still wouldn’t repeat it. I definitely wouldn’t use it again with a male partner – I will just say that he is girthier than average, so I had anticipated some difficulty, but I didn’t expect it to hurt quite like it did. We do use condoms, so there was additional friction there, but I did think that the amount of lube we used would’ve negated that somewhat, I can’t imagine there being that huge of a difference if we didn’t use them.
FEM: The Ida seems to be almost solely aimed at heterosexual couples but there’s nothing stating that you can’t use it with strapons, so, my partner and I decided we’d try the Ida with the one we most commonly use, which is the Fun Factory Share. Unfortunately, this was an unmitigated disaster. The Share is made of a matte silicone, the Ida is made of a matte silicone…if we had used any more lube I think there would have been serious danger of one of us drowning. Our bedroom quickly turned into some kind of lubricated hell world where the bedsheets are slippery and you’re doomed to wrestle with a beautiful girl for the rest of your life but you’re totally unable to get her off. We ran into the same problem that I had with my male partner, which is that there just doesn’t seem to be enough room inside me to fit both the Ida and something else in there comfortably – it just didn’t work. However. I’m a big old softie and I hate writing things off completely. The main issue we seemed to have here is that the Share, which we were using, is too matte and too thick to play happily with the Ida. Other, slimmer toys have worked in conjunction with her, and so I’m going to say that if you own a strapon with a slimmer, more slick dildo – say, the Tantus Silk in the slim or medium size (bonus points for it having a curve) – it might just work? Maybe? If you have £140 to burn and a compulsive need to try everything once, it might be worth a go. Can you tell I maybe possibly kind of have issues saying that I outright dislike something?
The Ida left me very frustrated and pretty disappointed – if I’d have paid for it I’d have been gutted. I was sceptical of couple’s toys to begin with and this one has cemented my opinion on them. It’s especially annoying when I think about how close it is to being a genuinely (glitter at the ready) ‘innovative’ toy – if it was designed for solo use, and they made the arm a little thicker, and the ‘clit shield’ a little bigger, it’d be the perfect luxury toy! I can overlook not being able to turn the rotation off, and I can overlook the tacky gold plastic battery cover, but I just can’t recommend a toy that hurts you when you try and use it for its intended purpose and there’s no way I’d pay upwards of £80 for a toy that comes with this many negative points. No way. I’m sorry Lelo, I’m sorry Ida, and I’m sorry to everyone who had to test this with me.
You can purchase your own Ida over at Lovehoney for £134.99.