13 June 2012

Tantus Echo

The Tantus Echo is my first foray into the world of textured dildos. The majority of what I've tried up until this point has been quite plain in that regard, so everything about the design of the Echo told me that I needed to try it.

The Echo is a 7" long dildo with around 6 3/8" of that being insertable, which puts it at a nice length for the majority of people. The average diameter is 1 1/2", which from my perspective is a little small, but it's realistically-sized and definitely enough to be satisfying. It's a textured dildo, but it has what I like to think of as "macro-texture." The surface of the shaft is completely smooth and shiny, to give you a frictionless gliding action when using it, but it has big pronounced areas of detail to really stimulate the body with.

Like all Tantus products the Echo is made from their own blend of 100% platinum silicone. I'm a big fan of this material, and in my opinion it's the best silicone on the market. What's great about it is that it's firm enough to easily hold it's shape, but it's flexible enough to bend around inside the body and go where the body tells it to go. It also has a nice amount of give in it when you squeeze it, which is an important factor when using it anally as it's gentle on the sphincter and allows for a comfortable insertion. The other bonuses of the material are that it's completely body-safe, and odourless too, so you won't stink out your toy drawer.

The shape of the Echo is what makes it such a special product. The top of the dildo resembles the glans of the penis in shape, and while the tip of it is nicely rounded, it is a little on the blunt side. Normally I'd suggest that something of this girth is fine for a beginner to take anally, but as it has no significant taper I wouldn't recommend it in this circumstance without something else to warm up with first. The head portion has a nice pronounced coronal ridge which forms the thickest point of the dildo. Below the head are four more ridges going down the shaft, which each follow the same design of the corona, giving the dildo its distinctive look. These ridges wrap around the shaft, but not quite all the way. The underside of the dildo has a raised column running vertically down from the head to the base, which gives the dildo a wonderful contrast of being highly textured on one side, but largely smooth on the other.

When it comes to using the dildo anally it feels fantastic. If you're comfortable with the size then the tip will slip inside without a problem. Once you get over the first ridge there's a nice familiar "pop" letting you know that it's in. As you push the dildo in deeper this is then followed by several smaller "pops" as you traverse each ridge. The Echo is a dildo that's most enjoyable when thrusting with it, and there are two ways to do this. For the most intense experience you can really clench the dildo firmly inside you, and then when you thrust with it you can feel each of the ridges butting up against the sphincter. This could be potentially uncomfortable for some people, especially if the clenching is an involuntary response. The way I'd recommend using the dildo is to completely relax your anus when thrusting, but this can take some practice to master. This way you can still feel all the texture in the sphincter, but it's much more subtle and pleasurable. It also allows for smoother thrusting with less resistance, and takes your attention away from the sphincter and redirects it to the prostate. The ridges on the Echo are perfect for stimulating the prostate; as you thrust it inside you can feel each one rippling against the gland, and the faster you thrust the more intense and pleasurable the sensations. I've experienced greater prostate stimulation with the Echo so far than I have with any of the prostate massagers I own. The Echo gives you a couple of options for positions you can use it in. The base is broad enough that you can stand it up somewhere, squat over it, and ride it like that. The base can also be used like a good handle to hold onto and thrust it inside yourself while lying down, but slipping a finger into the empty bullet hole offers an extra degree of control.

The base of the Echo has been greatly improved since the original design. it's now much thicker and more substantial, and therefore great for using in a harness. I think that the Echo would be brilliant for pegging as the size isn't too intimidating, but the ridges really do feel incredible against the prostate when thrust rapidly. If you peg in the doggy-style position, then my tip would be to put the dildo in the harness upside down, in order to orientate the ridges best with your partner's anatomy.

The Echo comes packaged with a vibrating bullet which can be inserted into a specially made bullet hole in the base. The bullet hole has some internal ribbing so as to aid with removal, and this seems to work quite well in preventing the formation of a vacuum. The bullet itself has about the same intensity as the RO-80mm from Rocks Off. The problem with toys with bullet holes is that the hole is in the base, and you want the vibrations down at the tip, but they simply don't travel that well through inches of thick silicone. The inclusion of the bullet is nice, but it's mostly gimmicky as it doesn't add much to the experience of using the toy. Personally I prefer to use the dildo without the bullet, as the main draw of the Echo is really its texture. There's always the option of using the bullet separately, so it's like getting two toys in one.

One of my concerns about the Echo surrounds the bullet hole. The silicone around the edge of the hole is frayed in places, and even has some small tears. My worry is that every time you stretch the material as you attempt to remove the bullet, it will place strain on the tears, which will gradually grow into a larger split. The only remedy I can think of is to take a very sharp craft knife and try to remove a small ring of material around the hole, slightly deeper than the tears, thus excising the problem before it can exacerbate. Obviously this isn't an ideal thing to have to do, but as I don't intend to use the bullet in it it might not be necessary.

A peculiarity of my Echo is that it has a strong Leaning Tower of Pisa thing going on. On one side the base is only 3/8" thick, but on the other it's a full 1/2". This may not sound like a great deal, but it's enough to give the dildo a very pronounced slant to the left. It's hard to tell whether it's a case of one side having too little material, or the other side having excess, but I'm inclined to go with the latter, on account of the thicker side not fitting into the plastic tray of the packaging that well. It's not that big of a deal as it doesn't prevent me from using the dildo the way I want to, but I always feel like a quality control person should have spotted something so glaring.

When it comes to cleaning the dildo silicone is a great material to have. The Echo can be washed the usual way with antibacterial soap and hot water, but it can also be completely sterilised by wiping it down with a 10% bleach solution, popping it in a pan of boiling water for a couple of minutes, or even tossing it into the dishwasher - but remember to remover the bullet first! The Echo is very prone to attract dust, which is a common complaint with silicone toys, so it may require a rinse prior to use. The only downside to silicone toys is that you only want to use water-based lubes with them, as silicone lubes could potentially degrade the material.

I have to say that I really love the Echo, and if I could change anything at all it would just be to make it a little thicker.

You can buy the Echo directly from Tantus, as well as SexToys.co.uk, and ThatPosition.

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