Dangerous Lilly has an extremely successful blog site that has a loyal following since 2008. She is a sex toy critic that delivers candid, true, unabridged and uncensored sex toy reviews from her individual point of view. Lilly has managed to gather an almost cult following with her reviews and the no holds barred approach she delivers.
VIP Interview With Dangerous Lilly
Hi Lilly, thanks to much for agreeing to and taking the time to participate in this interview. We have been a fan of your work for quite some time. Can I start with the obvious question? How did the Dangerous Lilly concept begin?
I started a sex blog in 2008 because I wanted to be able to review sex toys but at that time review-only blogs weren’t a thing – all the sex blogs were “sexy” blogs. I happened to be at a different place in my relationship and sexuality so finding sexy things to write about from my real life wasn’t difficult and it brought me the readers that the retailers and brands wanted to see for sex toy reviews. The reason for my change in blog content and focus is a long story but the shift has been drastic from the content my early readers saw. My reviews and guides grew to matter much more to me than any other aspect of my blog and based on reader emails were life-changing to many people. It was a natural progression to expanding my sex toy focus to include that level of education and activism.
Almost a decade now running a highly successful blog. How do you do it?
It’s a mixture of luck, hustle, and sometimes obligation to keep me going through the down times where I’m burnt out by repetition, drama, or life getting in the way.
Is this your full-time job? Can you make good money by blogging?
This is not my full-time job. There were a few years in the middle where it was my only job but I’m back to working full-time because my partner and I now own a house and need as much income as possible. Plus the income from blogging feels too tenuous – my commissions vary and I just don’t feel comfortable putting all my eggs in that basket. I think that you can end up making decent money as a blogger but it means your blog has to be unique, you have to be a great writer and have a head for business. The few bloggers I know who earn a decent amount put a lot of time and effort into it, all aspects – selling banner ads, sponsored posts, working the affiliate angle, building social media followings, and writing articles for other websites. This isn’t a cushy, easy job and I don’t think it’s something that someone should go into expecting to earn them enough money to live off of. You have to do it for love not money.
How would you best describe how you review sex toys?
I don’t have a system per se. Obviously I use the items multiple times and often I pull out other, similar items to be able to compare similar sex toys. I do a lot of research. And then I write what I would want to know as a customer – I focus on
“does it do it’s job well” and “is it worth the cost”
, primarily, but I also pay attention to the manufacturer’s marketing claims. I usually try to figure out why I like it, why it works for me, so that I can better inform people who don’t have my particular set of needs. Obviously a good review needs to be both subjective and objective but I no longer strive to find “the good” in a mediocre sex toy – especially when the price is high.
You are known for your candid honesty with your reviews and guides. Has there ever been a time when you have held back?
In my first two years of reviewing I was harsh on the less-expensive sex toys and more tempered on the expensive “luxury” sex toys because, at the time, I thought the problem was me – not the sex toy. The real problem was that no one was really making rechargeable, silicone vibrators with rumbling, powerful motors in 2008 – and that’s what I need in a vibrator. It took me time to figure out what my body needed and it took the market time to start creating more vibrators like that.
Has your approach scared off companies providing you toys for review?
I’m sure some brands feel that way, but they haven’t told me. I am lucky enough to have partnered with a few retailers over time, currently SheVibe, who are very supportive of honest (even brutal) sex toy reviews.
What is the best (and worst) product that you have reviewed and why?
I’ve always had a hard time picking “favorites” and “bests” in my life because it’s more complicated than that, and this extends to sex toys. The sex toys that have worked the best for me are not perfect products – they have their flaws which, for some, are deal-breaker flaws. Plus when something comes along later it changes my past views – “Oh wow I can’t believe I thought THAT was as good as it gets, no this is WAY better!” sort of thing.
And with the worst?
Well, I can’t pick just one. Me and Epiphora are the SheVibe “cover art” for September and in our interview for them we talked about our saltiest reviews and it was hard for me to even narrow it down to the 6 products and 1 brand I chose. Again there’s so many factors to making something terrible (the value, the quality of construction, does it live up to the marketing promises, does it cause bodily harm) that I simply can’t pick one!
You are well-known for your brutal honesty when doing reviews. Have you ever been offered incentives by companies to write a positive review on products that were poor?
No because that goes against FTC guidelines and would be illegal. Plus if they spent enough time on my site they would know that any offer like that would be made public by me, as I’m not afraid to call out companies for lesser things.
Your blog has been in Kinkly’s top 10 sexy blogger superhero list in 2013, 14 & 15. How does that make you feel to be recognized for the work that you do?
This is a loaded question for me because when I was chosen as Kinkly’s #1 sex blog for 2016 I had mixed feelings and just didn’t feel like I deserved #1. My ranking on their list has changed drastically up and down over the years because after their first list, popularity on social media and a person’s ability to get votes became a factor and sometimes it seemed like it was more of a factor than actual content. I personally don’t think my content has changed much over the years but my ranking with them has. But when a list like the one Molly now runs puts me as #2, that means something. That feels like recognition to me. Molly has made her judging process extremely clear and I know she is looking at many aspects of a blog.
I don’t support Kinkly anymore and won’t be a part of their lists in the future, and have asked to be removed from their directory due to their unflagging support of Lelo’s Hex condom despite blogger pleas. Lelo isn’t a company that many of us support, for many reasons. I don’t want to negate any good feelings that others on the Kinkly list would have but I also can’t ignore my feelings and opinions on it all from their decisions on the companies they support to the way they run their ranking list.
People for the most part like competition – I do, too! But when I witness the hurt of excellent bloggers who didn’t rank high, the list makes less sense to me. I have been trying to create a directory site that starts with the Kinkly list of blogs and digs a lot deeper – there’s no ranking, it’s not about competition it’s about content and helping readers find blogs that focus on the topics they care about. It’s a tough project, though, with programming needs beyond my capabilities and requiring time commitments I simply can’t make right now, despite my desires. I also envisioned a new kind of blogger awards, judging not an entire sex blog but particular posts that fit into light-hearted categories. But I’m one person and haven’t been able to make these huge projects into a reality on my own.
What do you feel is your greatest achievement through your blog?
I think it’s the posts I’ve written, extensively, about the problems with porous sex toys, or toxic sex toys and lubes, because people usually start off assuming good – they assume that if these sex toys and lubes are for sale then they must be safe! Why would a company be allowed to make products that go in our bodies if they’re not safe? That is their line of thinking and so they are shocked when they have to research why their vagina is burning, why their dildo has black spots or has changed shape, etc. I’ve received so many heartfelt thank you letters over the years and those letters keep reminding me why I do what I do.
Rick is the owner of the Adultsmart, an online sex toy shop that stocks a huge range of adult orientated prouducts. He has been involved in the adult lifestyle industry for more than 25 years. Rick is an active sex blogger who provides a wealth of information and experience. He is an advocate of equality for gender and sexuality.