Note: I started writing this review in 2011 and am posting it now for the sake of completion. Babeland no longer sells this product, to my knowledge, and it is not clear to me whether Shunga is still an operating business.
However, there are still a number of sites selling this product. It concerns me that they may be selling a product that is actually many years old.
The word Shunga refers to erotic Ukiyo-e Japanese art of the 16th to 18th centuries, one of the major historical roots of pornography and sex manuals today.
Shunga Arousal Gel comes in a classy, thick black box with the image of a Geisha on the front. On the back of the box, "gently apply with your fingertips to your secret garden," *eyeroll* My secret garden? Really, Shunga? Who are you trying to protect from the word clitoris here? Is someone who is too delicate to read the word clit supposed to be buying a product like this? "and you will discover new sensations that will take you to the limits of the female orgasm..."
I open the box to be hit with a strong but pleasant minty scent, a small 1 ounce black bottle, instructions, and a warning card telling me that every woman is different and I may find the orgasm cream too strong or too weak on the first try. I may need to rinse off the product right away if it's too much or I might need to apply it as many as 3 times to get any effect from it. Interesting.
The instructions, which are in English and French, include advertisements for other Shunga products, and go into slightly more detail about how to use Shunga Arousal Gel, specifying that it is for the clitoris, should be massaged throughly into what says under the clitoris, but I think they mean under the clitoral hood, and that I may need to apply 3 consecutive days if I don't feel sensations immediately. I have to say that I really think the outer instructions should be more specific that it is for the clit and not meant to be a sex lube, because someone out there is probably going to think that "secret garden" is their vagina.
The instructions specify that Shunga Arousal Gel is not for pregnant women, or women with genital herpes. Ingredients include glycerine, l-arginine, l-ornithine, damiana, peppermint oil, vitamin E, and also, unfortunately, parabens. Yeah, I'm not happy using a product with parabens on one of my most delicate and porous body areas. Product made in Canada.
There are also several wording inconsistencies and misspellings on the packaging, instructions and bottle, which is a pet peeve of mine and does not inspire confidence. The ingredient list on my package and the ingredient list on babeland.com do not match. Babeland's ingredient list has capsicum, no parabens, and overall a healthier list of ingredients. Babeland states that the product is not for internal use, and I agree that it's not a great idea, but Shunga does not have this written anywhere. Shunga says their product may be used with a partner, but does not specify whether it is safe to use with condoms, or whether oral sex is safe after applying the product. If you are prone to vaginal or urethral infections, I would recommend using this product with care, as some of the ingredients are irritants for some people.
Technically, I believe this product is safe to use with a condom, however, I unfortunately couldn't not find any handy to test it on, since I haven't used one in a couple of years. My guy and I have been monogamous for many years now and since I can't get pregnant anymore, I see no point in him wearing one, I hate them as much as I'm sure he does.
There is no silicone in this product, therefore it should be perfectly safe to use with all sex toys and dildos, however, again, I don't particularly recommend using this internally. I'm sure some women might like it, but I personally have yet to really enjoy using any kind of warming or cooling lube, and if this gets into your vagina, it's basically going to feel like a cooling lube because of the peppermint oil. YMMV and it's your risk to take, but be aware you may experience unpleasant irritation, dryness, or infection later.
Going to the Shunga website, after some digging, I see that they state Shunga Orgasm Cream is edible, however their ingredient list seems to support the one I have listed with the box I received.
Test one, just seeing what the cream did on its own - I applied a nickel-size dollop of the clear gel onto my clit, lifting up the hood, and let it soak in for awhile. I felt some tingling almost instantaneously, and frankly, my clit started feeling a little oversensitive and "bruised" in just a minute or two. I also got wet quickly. The tingling and sort of a "heavy" feeling in my clit lasted about 30 minutes. Later on I masturbated and my clit still felt kinda bruised from the start, but I did come more quickly than usual.
Test two, [never completed. Do not want to use a cream that is years old, for safety, at this point, sorry.]
I feel that Shunga needs to use less of their instruction page on adverts and more on important product information. It should always be clear what a product is used for and what is safe and not safe.
Final Verdict - Indeterminable. Did not test enough to feel comfortable giving a rating.
Disclaimer - This product was provided to me as a Babeland Affiliate. However, all my reviews are completely thoughtful and honest.