Finally, an ideal clit sucker for those new to the wonders of suction sex toys


Dame’s Aer, $95

The Good

Inclusive and accessible Easy to use Return policy Ideal for suction toy novices Innovative, intuitive, inviting design

The Bad

Less raw power than some competitors Suction stimulation not for everyone Louder than most suction toys

The Bottom Line

The Aer will make true believers out of suction toy novices and skeptics

As an especially lonely Valentine’s Day looms, the need for sensual human touch can feel unbearable. That’s why, out of all the types of sex toys flying off the shelves during the pandemic, the suction toy’s promise of mimicking oral sex with a partner sounds so appealing right now.

After luxury toy brands like Womanizer popularized this relatively new category of clitoral stimulators a decade ago, reviews literally gushing over their intense sensation started going viral over the past several years. That’s because, by using suction instead of vibration, the pulsation tech of clit suckers give a deeper kind of pleasure than the surface-level jolt of the standard external vibe — often resulting in a melt-your-face-off orgasm in two minutes or less.

But there’s a big catch: Suction sex toys don’t work for everyone (or arguably, even a majority of people with vulvas).

The fundamental design flaw of clit suckers comes down to the “mouth” that does all the sucking. No one’s figured out a shape universal enough to fit the wide range of unique anatomical differences that naturally occur in vulvas. So if your clit simply doesn’t align with the toy’s opening, the oral sex it supposedly simulates is about as competent as a high school boyfriend who learned everything about the female anatomy from watching porn. That high school boyfriend, though, would at least not charge you a non-refundable $130 to $200 for the frustrating disappointment

But hope for a more inclusive clit sucker has finally arrived with the Aer.

Hope for a more inclusive clit sucker has finally arrived with the Aer.

The new toy launched in January by Dame, a women-led sextech startup known for innovative design, boasts a singularly wide opening that claims to accommodate “all clitoris sizes.” While I can’t personally verify that sweeping claim, the Aer is the first suction toy I — a true connoisseur of clit suckers — can emphatically recommend to newbies and skeptics of no-vibration stimulation.

With the Aer, Dame did what it does best. It didn’t reinvent the wheel, but rather rounded out all the jagged square edges everyone else was using to create a product that effortlessly works better.

Like most of Dame’s minimalist yet high-quality toys, the Aer’s innovation is subtly revolutionary. With a design that’s laser-focused on accessibility and user-friendliness rather than flash, it’s built with the actual people who use their toys in mind. Thanks to how Dame rigorously tests and reiterates on prototypes during the development of new toys, the human experience is always the driving force behind their design. Meanwhile, most other sex toy companies (including most of the Aer’s luxury suction toy competitors) don’t test their toys on people at all before putting out new products and models. That tech is often based on marketability instead of usability.

The striking contrast in Dame’s design process is tangible while using its toys, yet hard to put into words. The Aer simply makes intuitive sense, removing much of the guesswork and finagling suction toys usually require for finding just the right “seal” over your clitoris so the pulsation tech can do its thing.

It can be a process so unintuitive and left unexplained by toy companies that the folks over at Phallophile even wrote a how-to guide for finding your seal. But the only confusion I had with the Aer was uncertainty over which direction I was supposed to hold it in. To my delight, either way felt great, which is a testament to just how fool-proof it is. I do wish the user manual, which Dame usually excels at with helpful tips, was more descriptive of the ways you can use the Aer, though.

For your comparison, from left to right: the Aer, Sona Cruise, and Womanizer Premium.

For your comparison, from left to right: the Aer, Sona Cruise, and Womanizer Premium.

Image: dame / lelo / womanizer

When I did a side-by-side comparison of the Aer with other luxury suction toys considered “best in class” like the Lelo Sona Cruise 2 and Womanizer Premium, the unique brilliance of its mouth shape became clear. The perfect clit sucker opening needs to strike a delicate balance between covering as much surface area as possible for inclusivity, while also not sacrificing having a tight enough seal to maximize air suction power. The Aer’s mouth is not only incomparably wider but also more flexible than the two competitors, particularly the Sona’s teeny, hard-as-a-rock opening. At the same time, the Aer is far narrower than Lelo’s new Sila, which likely explains why I found it finicky and frustrating despite being a wonderfully promising evolution in suction toys. (Note: I haven’t tried We-Vibe’s Melt, which I’ve been recommended for a wider, more flexible fit.)

But more universality in a suction toy comes with a trade-off. The Aer’s raw power is far less potent than the Sona or even some of Satisfyer’s more budget-friendly options. For those who do fit into those more rigid, narrow mouths, the Aer cannot compete with the intensity of airtight vacuum-sealed suction over a tiny nub with a whopping 8,000 nerve endings. Presumably to make up for the lack of seal-sucking power, the Aer’s motors also seem like they’re working overtime. In comparison to the church mouse-like whisper-quietness of the Sona and Womanizer, the Aer sounds like a souped-up car engine revving up. While certainly not the most discreet, though, the Aer is either equivalent or a couple of decibels below most of the big and/or buzzy vibrators.

Yet being less intense than the Sona or Womanizer can also be a feature rather than a bug for suction toy beginners.

Clit suckers are notorious for being so intense that it feels like cums are ripped forth from your body like an orgasmic exorcism or ferocious sneeze on ecstasy — exhilarating, but also a bit terrifyingly involuntary and uncontrollable. Fast cums definitely have their place, don’t get me wrong. But many folks prefer toys geared toward climaxes with a slower build, or are just flat out overstimulated by how quickly suction toys get you from 0 to 100. The Aer starts off at a far less intimidating setting, while still providing enough power to get me over the edge at only level three of its five intensities.

At the heart of what makes the Aer so perfect for newcomers is just how inviting it is.

At the heart of what makes the Aer so perfect for newcomers is just how inviting it is.

Grasping it in your hand feels as natural as holding a TV remote, its intuitive shape making the Sona’s bulbous body, the Sila’s sea shell-like curl, and the Womanizer’s aesthetically sexy yet cumbersome contours look laughably unwieldy. Also, in stark contrast to Lelo and Womanizer’s gold accents, the dreamy purple high-grade silicone of the Aer is all sumptuous softness, with a texture that’s more human than stiffly ornate.

Then there are the buttons — dear god — I could write a love letter to Dame’s button designer. They seem to be the only ones in the industry who get how crucial streamlining this seemingly minor component is in great sex toy design. Aside from being effortlessly accessible while holding the toy in position (another surprising rarity in the industry), the minimalist three-button layout includes a prominently raised intensity button, distinguishing it from the others so it’s easily found without needing to look down. Because Dame, unlike its competitors, understands that sex toy buttons need to be so instinctual that even a person on the cusp of orgasm can easily navigate them.

Ultimately, what makes the Aer the indisputable choice for suction toy novices and skeptics is Dame’s exceptional return policy.

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The sex toy industry-standard is to refuse returns on the questionable basis that after use, the product’s are supposedly so unsanitary they can’t be handled as a return (even though other companies that can’t resell items like mattresses for similar sanitation concerns still accept returns). But inspired by the belief that vaginas are neither exceptionally gross or unsanitary, Dame broke from the norm to instead offer you 60 days to exchange the toy if the one you got doesn’t satisfy. If you do exchange, you’ll always get a new toy, not a refurbished one. Since suction toys are such a hit-or-miss, and folks can’t know whether they’ll even like the vastly different sensation before trying it, I can’t in good conscience recommend anyone gamble $95 on a potential bust. But in all my extensive experiences with Dame, pleasure’s never been a gamble since — even if it doesn’t work out — you still got to explore and learn something about what you do or don’t like.

Now, keep in mind that all this praise for the Aer comes from someone who’s never met a clit sucker she didn’t love. Also, if you’re not in a position to spend $95, there are plenty of other great suction toys you can try at a much lower price — but, fair warning, none of them offer the Aer’s more inclusive design or (to my knowledge) a return policy if it doesn’t work out.

Admittedly, because of the loudness and more dispersed stimulation offered by the Aer, I don’t think it’ll flat out replace my personal suction toy preference for the Sona’s pinpoint intensity. But for those who’ve never tried them or felt underwhelmed by others on the market, the Aer is the ideal gateway drug for opening your pussy up to this whole new wondrous world of clit suckers.

All that being said, no matter how good it is, the selling point that paints suction toys as being anything close to the sensorial experience of oral sex with a partner is a lie. It’s a false narrative that both overestimates the capabilities of a human mouth, while also simultaneously underselling the intimacy of oral sex with another person.

No matter how much more effective it is to a clueless partner with no formal education on female anatomy, no machine can replace the fulfillment only person-to-person sexual encounters provide.

The false ideal that sex toys should mimic human partners is not just a lie, either, but weirdly stigmatizing too. It’s a widespread marketing talking point, and yet fails to grasp why sex toys are so liberating for those who experience the orgasm gap (namely heterosexual women) and rarely climax during partnered sex. Sex toys are great because of how they empower people with vulvas to experience and learn about sexual gratification on their own terms, outside of the pressures and complications that come with a human partner.

Ever since the ancient Greeks modeled the first dildos after male genitalia, though, sex toys have remained limited by this odd assumption that women prefer pleasure devices that resemble the pleasure a heterosexual male partner can provide. But as more companies test and research exactly what customers with vulvas value most in a toy, it’s becoming increasingly clear that the best sex toys don’t need to have anything to do with male genitalia or partnered sex at all.

The best sex toys simply put your experience and satisfaction with it above everything else.

The Aer, like so much of the tech that’s been sold as a replacement for human contact during the pandemic, can’t replicate oral sex with a partner. At the same time, it doesn’t have to in order to be a perfect Valentine’s Day present to yourself — and a deeply gratifying reminder of all that a self-love session with a great sex toy can provide that a person just can’t.

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