Slutever

Does a $15K Dildo Actually Offer a Better Orgasm?

Karley Sciortino peers into the world of luxury sex objects to find out.

ByKarley Sciortinoas told toSarah Burke

The Inez. Courtesy LELO. 

This piece is part of a series of personal stories by writer Karley Sciortino recapping her experiences investigating the world of sex for SLUTEVER on VICELAND.

My investigation into the world of luxury sex all started with a butt plug—a $7 dollar butt plug, to be specific.

Basically, I had this super cheap butt toy that was made of some suspect plastic and I felt like it would give me a weird yeast infection. One day I was like, why do I have this? And then I realized that I’m one of those people who has 40 broken plastic vibrators hidden in a box underneath my bed. They’re affordable, but they break.

We spend so much money on all these products for other parts of our bodies, but generally not for the parts that make us cum. I spend tons on getting really high quality face oil because I care about my face, for instance, or high quality makeup that’s better for my skin. We are taught to invest money into our self care routines and wardrobes and all these other life accessories, but we often don’t think of our sex lives in the same way. It’s considered glamorous to spend $500 on a dress, but would be seen as frivolous or ridiculous for spending $500 on a sex toy. What’s up with that?

I started to wonder: If I invested money in my sex life, would it be better? What does the world of luxury sex look—or rather, feel—like?

I first attempted to answer that question by locating the world’s most expensive vibrator: the “Inez” by luxury sex toy brand LELO. It’s a 24 karat gold-plated massager that costs $15,000. That’s a really expensive orgasm.

I asked a LELO spokesperson if a gold vibrator actually feels better, and he basically told me that although physically, there’s nothing special about the way gold stimulates your clit, because pleasure is psychological, it would feel better to someone who's turned on by the idea of luxury. So, is a $15,000 orgasm better than one from your hand? Not necessarily. But, if you buy a sex toy that costs $15,000, you’re obviously prioritizing your sexual pleasure, and there’s something decadent and rebellious about that.

Betony Vernon in Slutever.

Of course, most people aren’t able to afford the Inez. So, I wanted to find something that the average peasant like me could use to add some luxury to their sex life without having to spend their life savings. For that, I turned to Betony Vernon.

Betony is one of the most luxurious women that I know. She’s a friend of mine who lives in Paris and she’s a sexual anthropologist who creates these beautifully hand-crafted sex objects—everything from floggers to paddles to “dilettos,” which I learned from her is the glamorous way of saying “butt plugs.” She also makes pieces of jewelry that double as sex toys. She sells these amazing golden rings that can be used to massage people or necklaces that also function as vaginal massagers. One of her pieces is this gorgeous necklace of linked rings that ends in a large “shaft ring” so that it can be used as a harness during oral sex.

Sex objects by Betony Vernon in Slutever.

The sex objects aren’t exactly bargains—one of her more affordable rings would set you back about 350 euros while a larger piece could be around 6,000 euro—but they’re also not merely sex toys. Her pieces are all handcrafted in gold and silver, which looks so incredibly elegant. They completely take the trashiness out of sex toys; they look like they’re from another time. When we think of sex toys, we think of something that you hide in your closet. But these are so beautiful that you might actually display them like pieces of art. Or for the jewelry pieces, you could wear them every day and people might not even realize that it's kinky. They're like art— you’d keep and cherish your whole life.

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Looking closely at Betony’s sex objects made me realize that sex can be really sacred, and using objects like hers can really open up that ritualistic character and heighten the whole experience. I think beautifully-crafted sex objects can change your behavior—make you more sexually confident in the same way that lingerie might. It’s like a prop for an actor; it helps you get into character. Plus, to enter a sexual experience armed with toys like that is going to make you so much more considerate and thoughtful about the sex that you're having. I’m all for messy, spontaneous hookups, but it’s always positive to remind yourself that sex can be something really special.