I bought the VENUS a few months, ago. Am uncut and have quite an “overhang” of skin from pumping manually for many years prior to purchasing this “milk machine”. Speaking for myself: am quite happy with the purchase although, as you indicated –it’s “a hint prohibitive”. It has been worth the expense (PayPal has a payment plan, e.g., 6 months interest free: pay a little each month – that’s what I did). I use the Receiver and the Pump cylinder interchangeably, or just the Pump to get a good workout.
I use this “auto-stroker”, as you call it, for hours on end with some short breaks because it feels soo good that I prolong my climax as long as possible. With regard to usage of lube: I lube my dick, and put lube around the liner material (just enough to make my dick slide in easily); I may re-apply lube to my dick after an hour or so. Best buy ever!