Call it naivety, impatience…a dangerous cocktail of arousal, curiosity, and Amazon Prime. I wanted a vibrator, any vibrator, and I wanted it IMMEDIATELY. Immediately, if not yesterday. At the time, I reasoned, “Clitoral stimulation + internal vibrations = 2x the pleasure, right?”…Hah.
I give you…the SVAKOM Barbara, my first:
The Barbara, which I purchased through the manufacturer on Amazon, arrived in standard Amazon packaging: brown box, blue tape. The Barbara itself was tucked away within a smaller box inside of the Amazon box. The Barbara’s box isn’t anything special (white with an image of the Barbara), and it isn’t discreet, but it’s sturdy and, to their credit, SVAKOM does provide a grey, faux suede storage pouch.
Enough about the box; let’s talk Barbara. Made with nonporous “smooth, FDA-approved body-safe Soft Medical Silica Gel,” the Barbara comes in two colors: pink, and pinker. I kid you not. The pink isn’t too objectionable, I guess, but the pinker screams bloody murder at your eyeballs. And your eyes are the scream-murder victims. Ouch. NOTE: “silica gel” may be an alias for “sil-a-gel.” Sil-a-gel is porous, and therefore NOT an ideal material for sex toys. I’ve sent an email to SVAKOM, and I’ll update the post when I receive a response.
Barbara’s materials are nice: the…silica gel?…glide pretty well, although lube is still strongly recommended. Speaking of lube: silica gel doesn’t play well with silicone lube. Water-based lubricants, on the other hand, work fabulously with silicone toys. The entire length of the toy is covered with silica gel EXCEPT for the tip of the toy nearest to the controls; for some reason, SVAKOM chose to add a chrome plastic accent. Huh?…Don’t look at me; I’m stumped, too. Although I may not agree with the chrome, I can get on board with another feature: the Barbara’s waterproof. I’ve put it to the test, and the claim holds up: go ahead and take a bath with this thing if that’s what you’re feeling. SVAKOM got charging right, too: the Barbara’s rechargeable. There’s a round charging port at the very bottom of the main shaft (at the tip of the chrome accent). The Barbara’s control panel does a cutesy little pulsing-light thingy while it’s charging, and the pulsing becomes continuous illumination when it’s all charged up and ready to go. Handy, but not terribly discrete: your roommates WILL have questions. If you’re stuck on the back-lit control panel, this might cheer you up: the Barbara has a very respectable run time. If you’re going for a personal best, you can rely on the Barbara: you’ll get at least an hour of hand-numbingly intense vibrations per charge.
Barbara has two vibrating components: the arm for internal stimulation and the arm for clit stimulation. Each arm has its own motor, and the arms can be turned on or off independently (however, they cannot be run in different modes, e.g. one can’t vibrate steadily while the other is set on a pattern.) The silica gel has some give, but it’s definitely not squishy, and the toy itself is rigid. If you’re chasing that squish, the Barbara’s not for you. The clitoral arm can be bent backwards until it’s lying flush with the shaft of the toy near the buttons; this will be important later. (The Barbara’s got a lot of flex. So much flex, in fact, that I see a bright future for the Barbara in competitive gymnastics. Just not, please, in my vagina.)
Barbara’s buttons aren’t going to take home the gold: although they ARE a comfortable distance from where all of the action’s at, determining which is the “more” and which is the “less” button is fricking HARD in the heat of the moment. Yes, the “more” is towards the clitoral arm, and yes, the “less” is nearer to the chrome accent; it’s still fricking hard. And what you really don’t want is “less” when you need “more.” (Charmin Ultra is a toilet paper and not a vibrator for a reason.) The Barbara’s three buttons–“more”, “less”, and “power/SVAKOM mode”–are located between the clitoral arm and the chrome accent cap.
The Barbara has three steady vibration modes–just the shaft, just the clitoral arm, or both–and each of these modes has four vibration intensity options. To navigate between modes, press the “more” or the “less” button twice in rapid succession. The power button (a large “S”), has to be held down for a couple of seconds to turn the Barbara off; it’s located between the “more” and the “less” buttons. The lowest vibration setting is more towards the rumbly end of the spectrum, but the three more intense modes are noticeably buzzy. (Your hand WILL go numb.) To be fair, the vibrations aren’t weak. When I really crank it up, they’re pretty respectable. Although they don’t compare in rumble or in potency to the Tango, they’re…decent. I would wave to the Barbara on the street. Is “not bad” what SVAKOM was hoping to achieve? Probably not. But “not bad” isn’t “terrible,” either.
Oh, yeah: there are some patterns (waves, low intensity followed by a burst of high intensity, pulses, and short/fast pulses), too, if you’re into that kind of thing. Patterns don’t typically do much for me, and the Barbara’s weren’t an exception.
The Barbara has one more unique feature: “SVAKOM mode”…which is supposed to be the result of extensive research on what women need from their vibrators in order to orgasm. To enter “SVAKOM mode”, depress the power button briefly.
But how is the Barbara in use? OK, folks, here’s the lowdown: not so hot. The clit arm did not reach my clit. I repeat: it did not reach my clit. It failed in it’s most basic function. I was sad, it was sad, we were all sad. The internal arm’s better, and it can provide some decent g-spot stimulation, but there’s a catch: those ribs? They can feel kind of abrasive after a while, especially if your g-spot appreciates pressure. The rigidity of the toy was a plus, as was the toy’s curve (note: the curve isn’t as dramatic as the Pure Wand’s. I didn’t have any complaints, but if you need a steeper curve, look elsewhere. If, however, you’re worried about a steep curve causing a toy to get into trouble with your pubic bone, the Barbara might just be your toy.). I was able to find my g-spot, but not without a bit of awkward shimmying/prodding. Plus, if you can’t come from internal stimulation alone, the clitoral arm’s a serious drawback: adding a better clitoral vibe into the mix required much more thinking than I’d signed up for. By bending back the clitoral arm and holding it awkwardly against the shaft of the toy, I was able to squeeze my Tango in there and had, ultimately, a pretty decent blended orgasm. But it wasn’t easy: when I bent the clitoral arm backwards to make room for the Tango, it would press one of the buttons whenever I shifted my grip…leading to many frustrating occasions of “less” when I needed “more”. All in all, the orgasm wasn’t worth the frustration. Note: I tried SVAKOM mode a handful of times, and it was pleasant enough as a tease, but I need strong, steady vibrator to get all the way there. And there’s one more thing: the Barbara isn’t quiet, especially with both arms going. So get your blankets (or your blanket fort) ready.
Cleanup’s a cinch: run it under water, add some soap. Alternatively, go ahead and use your favorite toy cleaner.
SVAKOM allows customers to register their toys and offers a one-year warranty on the Barbara; however, much to my dismay, I found it exceedingly difficult to register on their website, and I eventually called it quits.
Design flaws and moderately buzzy vibrations prevent me from wholeheartedly endorsing the Barbara, especially considering the price: it’s now retailing for $89.00 (I found it on sale). It has some nice features–waterproof, rechargeable, body safe–but they don’t outweigh the drawbacks.