Where I live, summertime means hurricane season. I have a to-go bag packed and have made evacuation plans with my friends and therapist. New Orleans is a subtropical city and as such we get blustery thunderstorms that knock out power fairly often, maybe every few weeks. Although I love my rechargeable and plug-in vibrators, I decided that this summer I would go back to exploring battery operated vibes that I could easily travel with in my to-go bag or use during a thunderstorm black-out. I am pleased to say that the iroha zen vibe makes the cut!
The iroha zen looks like a squash blossom with its bulbous top and pleated texture. I have the golden yellow, which is not in my usual color palate, but is a gorgeous saturated tone that makes me really happy. Both the head and the base of the toy are silicone and it is splash-proof, meaning that it easy to clean and could be used in the shower if that’s what floats your boat. The iroha line by Tenga is known for being a little bit squishy to the touch which does mute the strength of the motor a little bit. Luckily, the motor offers a mid-range vibration which travels much better thru the squish than a high-frequency vibration would. For a motor powered by only 2 AAA batteries, it is surprisingly nice.
There are 3 vibration levels and one pulse option on the zen. The first level feels like nothing to me, so I start at the second level or the pulse option to warm up. I tend to like a more direct sensation on my clit, but the squish and texture of the zen make it super fun to play around with movement and pressure. The silicone is a bit velvety which I like because it means it has a little grip to it. The combo of the textured, grippy silicone with some thick water-based lube to keep things moving is a perfect combo and just the right amount of friction to get excited about. I found that holding the base of the zen and whisking my clit was my favorite method of using this toy. I also played around with some shallow insertion which was enjoyable because of the way the texture felt on my vaginal opening.
I love hard material dildos and I LOVE to use them while also having vibration on my clit and vulva area. This sometimes means that my clit and labia, which are a little extended, occasionally get pinched between the vibe and the dildo. Ouch! (and not in a super fun way.) I am familiar enough with most of my vibes that I know how to angle each one so that I don’t pin my tender lips between the toys on accident. Because the zen has the squish going for it, I could more easily play around with vibe movement even with a glass dildo inserted and not have to worry about that awkward nip that sometimes occurs with a new toy I haven’t yet figured out.
One of the best features of the iroha zen is the button. Often overlooked, the buttons on a sex toy can make or break it. The zen has a single button that is on the bottom of the base. It is slightly raised in the indent of the base, meaning that the zen can still stand up on its own and it will not easily be turned on in a purse or bag if something else bumps into it (although, you should really remove batteries if you are going to be traveling with a toy.) It is wide enough that it can but pushed down with minimal pressure and not that much dexterity is needed to work it. Hold the button down for 3 seconds to turn the toy on and 2 seconds to turn it off; a one second click when the toy is already on will make it cycle to the next vibration level. I appreciate that there are options, but not so many that I get lost clicking thru, trying to remember what my favorite one was. Because the button area is enclosed in silicone, it means that it is also a little grippy and safe to use even when my hands are a little lube-y.
With textured toys I am often concerned with being able to fully clean them after use. I am at the point in my life where needing to scrub lube and vag gunk out of the crevice of a toy is not a great use of my time. I am pleased to say that the zen makes cleaning easy, maybe because the pleats are soft and flexible? Hot water and soap on a washcloth and a quick rinse did the trick. If you are sharing this toy or are concerned about not being able to fully get at all the crevices, you can just condom the toy for easy cleaning. Also, if you condom it and tie off the bottom of the condom, you now have a waterproof toy for the bathtub! Another benefit of non-fussy buttons.
Existing in a city that can be equal parts dreamy and stressful, it gives me piece of mind being able to prepare for the unknown as best I can. I have a first aid kit, a hurricane bag, candles, and gallons of water in my freezer just in case the water gets cut off and I don’t have power. Keeping my sexual health nourished and prioritized means that lube and a good vibrator go on my list too. The zen came in handy last week when I lost power for a few hours just as the sun was going down. Now, I just need to stock up on batteries.
Thank you to Spectrum Boutique for sending me the iroha zen in exchange for an honest and un-biased review. You can buy an iroha zen for $35 here.