I've been able to post this up sooner than I originally thought possible. I'd assumed that I would need to spend quite a while getting accustomed to a full 38mm. But not so. Mungo has replaced Big Jim overnight!
Why Femistent? Well, they make dilators for natal women who have vaginal issues, as well as for post-op trans women. When I studied it, their product range seemed entirely serious and well-conceived. In particular, the products seemed very well made. This would be a dilator that I'd hope to use for a long time to come, and perhaps never need to replace. It was a purchase rather on the lines of my car Fiona: an investment in a quality product that would be very durable and suit me for years ahead. In that context, a high price wasn't such a turnoff. And believe me, this was an expensive purchase.
It's the same old story. Products for a limited, captive market with a medical aspect to them always command sky-high prices. It's much like the stuff manufactured for elderly people with mobility and other old-age problems. It's terribly expensive. You just have to take a view. Do I buy this, when (a) I really do need one, and (b) I want something well-made that will last? There were cheaper alternatives to what Femistent offered on their website (http://www.femistent.com/) but they looked less attractive, less likely to last a long time, and, I might add, they seemed less credible - meaning that they didn't inspire me with great confidence. I wanted to be sure that what I bought had the proper medical requirements in mind.
This is what I got for a total outlay of £257.70 paid online by debit card. Bear in mind that I'd embarked on a new spending and saving regime, and was not now willing to lash out on 'luxury' items unless I saw genuine and tangible benefits from doing so:
'Pandora' dilator and handle, 38mm (1.5 inches) diameter, in 'Rosegold': cost £155.00
Thigh grip, in 'Platinum': cost £89.75, with a discount of £45.00, net £44.75
Vaginal gel lubrication inserter (complimentary)
Travel bag (complimentary)
Usage advice booklet (complimentary)
Packing and postage: £15.00
The packing and postage costs were unexpected. I'd got the impression that if I bought the grip, those would be free. Hmmm!
Unpacked on arrival, this is what it all looked like:
As you can see, the essential items consist of a dilator 6.5 inches long; a 'handle' that screws into the end of it, which effectively lengthens the dilator seamlessly to 8.5 inches; and a ball-like 'grip' that you clench your thighs on, which screws into the dilator (whether lengthened or not). The grip is supposed to allow you to keep the dilator fully inserted while you read a book, or do anything that requires two free hands. Without the grip, you simply hold the dilator in place with your fingertips in the ordinary way.
It's all made of medical-grade plastic, very smooth and well-finished indeed, and the individual bits each have some weight to them - I don't mean they're 'heavy' - they just have a satisfying heft, and are clearly not hollow. The plastic is something called 'Tecason P MT' (polyphenylenesulphone) and according to the usage advice leaflet this can be routinely subjected to boiling-water temperatures for proper cleaning and sterilisation. I duly popped the dilator, handle and grip into a pan and gave them the recommended half-an-hour's boil-up before trying them out. They were obviously up to it.
Here's another shot of the tout ensemble, on a silver salver that my man Withers has left out:
Ha! The dilator has caught the attention of the china hen. You can trust a hen to know a good cock when she sees one. A valuable endorsement.
Back to the review. One feature I haven't mentioned yet is that the dilator and its extending handle are marked by grooves at half-inch intervals, beginning with one for '3.5 inches'. So, once inserted, you can tell accurately by feel how deep it's in. You use a fingernail to match the groove that lines up with whatever you personally regard as your vaginal entrance - in my case, a position just inside the labia majora.
Now, what's this new dilator like in actual use? Having got myself all ready for the first go, I smeared the new dilator (sans handle) very liberally with KY gel and eased it in.
First surprise: there was no problem whatever with sliding Mungo inside me to the maximum depth achievable. No sense of stretching or straining the vagina; I just felt well-filled and quite comfortable. I could lightly and without fatigue hold Mungo in place with either hand, or both hands simultaneously, using my fingertips. There was a tendency for him to be ejected unless some gentle restraining pressure was kept up. But that wasn't hard.
Second surprise: the depth-measuring grooves told me that I'd got 3.5 inches only. If I pressed Mungo in a bit, then it was slightly closer to 4 inches, but that wasn't really sustainable. However, I could waggle Mungo sideways a bit. Clearly I had possibilities of lateral expansion, and could probably take an even fatter, wider dilator; but depthwise I was shallow, and that wasn't going to change.
I gave Mungo an initial quarter of an hour. I twirled him around in case the gel began to stick, but it didn't. I moved him in and out, but again no sticking. He didn't feel at all uncomfortable. I attached the handle. No difference, except that putting my fingertips on the end was now rather a stretch, just as it was with Little Joe and Big Jim, who were both about 9 inches long. There was clearly no point in lengthening Mungo, so I removed the handle.
Next, I attached the grip. But this didn't work as advertised. No doubt it was down to my strange anatomy, but the heft of the dilator-plus-grip, left unsupported, pulled down the outward end of the ensemble, making the inward end point up inside me - uncomfortable! Then it all fell out. I couldn't seem to get my thighs around the ball part of the grip if I had my legs flat on the bed. Maybe, if I'd had my knees up, I could have clenched the ball and stopped everything from falling out; but then, would I still have had the inward tip at the correct angle? Anyway, I detached the grip, and reverted to fingers on the basic 6.5 inches, which seemed perfectly fine.
I ended up giving Mungo a full half hour and more, with no after effects at all. All parts cleaned off easily. Verdict at this point: I wasted cash on the thigh grip, but otherwise top marks for comfort, quality, appearance, ease of depth-measurement, and easy aftercare. I was happy.
Subsequent dilation sessions (with Silky Lube from Boots) have highlighted a couple of other positive things, and found another use for the grip. Do read on.
There's no doubt that having an opaque dilator with a bit of colour to it, even if merely cream, is psychologically much better than the superclinical transparent look that Little Joe and Big Jim had. They were clearly made of medical-grade plastic too, but they were pre-eminently items intended for a Medical Procedure. They couldn't possibly be imagined as sex toys, let alone real penises. And quite rightly. In the early post-op weeks, you need to stay focussed on doing dilation correctly, exactly as taught in the hospital, and no nonsense about appearance, or comparisons with real-life lovemaking. But later on, it definitely helps to introduce a less robotic element.
Then there's the girth and thickness of the thing. 38mm is generally reckoned to be the diameter of the average erect adult penis. And yes, it does seem to have the right dimensions. It isn't of course authentically penis-shaped, but its 'realistic' size adds a lot to daily dilation, lifting it from the level of a routine procedure onto the level of rife imagination and speculation. Regardless of whether you actually want physical intercourse, you do wonder what the real thing could possibly be like as an experience. Nor have I ever sucked a man's penis in my life, but I popped Mungo in to find out how it felt. I was surprised how easy it was to do; and by the way Mungo filled my mouth up, as if both had been made for the job.
I don't think any of these tentative experiments are unhealthy. In fact I can see that, for many people, using this size of dilator, or a phallus-shaped vibrator, would be a manageable way to enjoy a kind of sex without personal or emotional risk. Since one has to dilate all life long, it does seem immaterial whether it's achieved by dilator, sex toy or real-life penis. Just so long as the medical requirements are safely and hygienically adhered to.
Now, that alternative use for the grip. Oh dear, I can see that Disgusted of Cheltenham, Revolted of High Wycombe, Aghast of Harrogate, and Appalled of Tunbridge Wells are all going to give me the lash of their tongue. But here goes. As you'll have noticed, the grip is almost a perfect sphere. And spheres can roll. I attached it to the basic 6.5 inches of dilator, and, kneeling, I carefully lowered myself onto the dilator. Just as if I was on top of a male partner and impaling myself on his penis. Carefully paying attention to how much pressure I put onto the dilator tip, I was able to pivot on the spherical grip. So I could for instance lean forward and practice no-hands shallow in-and-out penetration. Or I could sit back somewhat for a deeper penetrative experience, again hands-free. All without the assistance of a hairy unshaven grunting thing with smelly armpits! Much nicer.
Finally, am I worried by my lack of depth? 3.5 inches isn't a lot. The basic answer is that it's totally pointless to worry: I'm stuck with it. It's a natural consequence of not being especially well-endowed in my former life. But I'm assured that what I have is enough for any ordinary purpose, and I have been cheered by articles such as this one from Dr Anne Lawrence (http://www.annelawrence.com/genitaldimensions.html). Personally, from a practical point of view, a shortish vagina is easier to clean, easier for a doctor to inspect if there is ever any trouble, and it will almost certainly be fully and properly expanded by real-life penetration - whereas a very deep vagina might not, with unwelcome consequences. Not all men have an elephant's trunk between their legs, and if their member is short, then the bottom of the vagina won't get stretched and may contract unless you do regular dilation as well. So while not exactly smug, I'm far from perturbed. The trade-off in my own case seems fine.
Now, what do I do with my two redundant dilators? They're souvenirs of my eight days at the Nuffield Hospital last March, so I'm reluctant to get rid of them. And in any case, you couldn't sell them on eBay, now could you? Perhaps they could be the first exhibits in the Lucy Melford Museum of Dilation?