Masturbation Mythbusting: Can We Be Too Reliant on Vibrators?

Masturbation is a socially-distant activity that makes “self-isolation” more like “self-investigation.” But after months of going to town with your favorite sex toy, (the pandemic version of “going out”) you may be wondering if you’re getting too reliant on your vibrator. You think about her when you hear a love song at the supermarket. You dream about her at night. At this point, you can’t even picture getting off without her. Are you addicted? Codependent? Do you need to scale it back? Is it time to kill the buzz?

Before we dive into the “vibrator addiction” debate, I’d like to bring your attention to, well, you. If you’ve found a sex toy that brings you pleasure—congrats! Unless you went to a super progressive private school where you called teachers by their first names, your sex ed class likely skipped over pleasure/masturbation/orgasms, (especially for women/humans with vaginas).

The lack of sex-positive sex education, plus the lack of positive media representation, plus the immense societal stigma and shaming of “female”/humans with vaginas pleasure hinders women/people with vaginas from learning about their bodies and their orgasms in an empowering, safe, and non-judgemental way. It’s also a large reason behind the orgasm gap, or the studied and documented discrepancy in orgasms between cis men and cis women. (Like this 2017 study from Chapman University, that found on average, straight men orgasm 95% of the time during partnered sex, while straight women only finish 65% of the time).

Needless to say, women/people with vaginas aren’t exactly set up for sexual success. From slut-shaming to contraceptive deserts, the road to “owning our pleasure” is hardly an easy one. It’s a big deal to charge of sexuality, prioritize your pleasure, and find what works for you and your body. And if your vibe is bringing good things to your sex life — you don’t need to feel embarrassed or worried about it. The “don’t get too reliant on your vibrator” rhetoric isn’t rooted in science or anatomy, it’s rooted in sexual shame and fear-mongering.

Take this 2009 study from the Center for Sexual Health Promotion, Indiana University, Bloomington, and The Kinsey Institute, of 3,800 women aged 18-60 that found vibrator use was linked to heightened physical and psychological well-being and positive sexual function. Or this 1996 study from Syracuse University that found the majority of assigned female at birth (AFAB) vibrator users had better and more orgasms when using vibrators during both solo and partnered sex.

Pretend for a second that you’ve never used a vibrator. Let’s, say, you only masturbate with your hands, and you manually stimulate yourself when having partnered sex. Would you be worried you’re “too reliant” on your fingers? Addicted to hand stuff? Probably not.

So, let’s get rid of this fear of “vibrator addiction.” Marie Kondo that shit and put it in the Goodwill bin with that paisley Free People top you were always iffy about. If “vibrator addiction” doesn’t exist, (and for the record, vibration addiction doesn’t exist) then what are you questioning? Why are you worried you’re “too reliant” on your vibrator? That’s where you’re gonna find your answers.

For example:

  1. Are you getting bored of your masturbation routine?
  2. Are you losing sensation on your clit? Are you unable to finish without a vibrator?
  3. Are you sheepish about using toys with your partner? Are you afraid that toys make sex less “intimate” or “natural”?
  4. Are you intrigued by using your hands and wondering why you stopped using them?

Some of these are practical problems with practical fixes. Yet, some of these are more emotional/societal issues that call for open communication and an attitude adjustment.

  1. What to do if you’re in a masturbation rut:

It’s time to switch things up. Masturbate in front of a mirror, on a chair, or in a new position. Listen to audio porn. Try using your hands instead of a toy. Masturbate in a different room or different part of your bedroom. Try a metal or glass toy. Try a butt plug. Masturbate on FaceTime with someone. Use lube. Make masturbating a novel experience for yourself, treat it like you would treat a hot hookup, put on your sex undies, light a candle. Romance yourself.

  1. What to do if you’re worried about losing sensation or have noticed some sensation loss:

First and foremost, don’t panic. You haven’t broken your clit. If you really like to crank your vibe, or if you tend to put direct pressure on your clit to orgasm quickly, you’ve likely gotten used to the intense sensation, and may “rely” on that to finish. (I.e. your tolerance for sensation is higher, ergo it takes more sensation to finish.) For now! Rest assured you can ease yourself back into finishing from other types of stimulation. Try using a lower setting, or using your hands for a bit, and masturbating without the “goal” or having an orgasm, meaning playing around and following good sensations, not rushing to finish. Use lube. Use more lube. Take deep breathes and try to relax into it. You’re not going to cum if you’re stressed out about not cumming.

Yet, this is where the attitude adjustment comes in, if you’ve scaled back on the sex toys and you still find you’re unable to cum without a vibrator…then my dear, use your vibrator. Lest we forget, the majority of people with vaginas can’t orgasm from penetration alone. That means, we need extra stimulation (most often clitoral) as we’re getting it on. If you’ve found something that makes you feel good, use it! As long as everything is consensual, there are no bad orgasms.

  1. What to do if you’re sheepish about using toys with a partner or worry that it makes sex less “intimate”:

Using toys doesn’t make sex “intimate” or “natural”. It just doesn’t. Frankly, if something is making you have a better time, that sounds more intimate. Using a toy with a partner will likely take the pressure off when and if you’re going to finish and let you relax into the moment. It will nip any “How can I never finish” resentments, and let you connect deeper to your partner. It will help your partner understand what sensations you like. It may even help you and your partner orgasm at the same time. If all of that is not intimacy, I don’t what is.

Adding a toy in the bedroom doesn’t have to be some big or weird conversation, you can talk about it the way you’d talk about protection, “Hey, mind if I grab my vibe?” Or express that toys are there to heighten the experience you’re having, “It feels so good when you’re in me, I’m gonna put my vibe on my clit to really send me over the edge.” There is no competition between your partner (or your own hand!) and a toy, consider them all like sexy tapas, they all taste different and there’s room for them all.

  1. What to do if you’re intrigued by using your hands and wondering why you stopped using them to masturbate:

Good question! Why did you stop? Are you uncomfortable touching yourself? Were toys quicker? Do toys feel better? Do you like them more? If you’re feeling intrigued by your hands, try ditching your toy for a week.

Bring a hand mirror and watch yourself. Learn what sensations you feel in different places. Use lube. Remember you can always grab a toy when you need it. And if you realize you prefer using toys, great. We welcome all pleasure, manual or mechanical.

 

Masturbation Mythbusting: Can We Be Too Reliant on Vibrators? by Griffin Wynne originally appeared on Rumble & Buzz

Satisfyer Menstrual Cups

Featuring a slightly curved design, Satisfyer Menstrual Cups are made with super-soft, body-friendly, medical-grade silicone that’s smooth to the touch and extremely hygienic.

The easy to insert menstrual cups offer up to 12 hours of leak-free protection and are available in a practical set of two with a capacity of 0.5 oz (15 ml) and 0.68 oz (20 ml), making them suitable for both lighter and heavier days.

To clean and sterilize, submerge in boiling water after every period.

 

Features:

  • Silicone menstrual cups
  • Includes 2 sizes – 15ml and 20ml capacity
  • Offers up to 12 hours protection
  • Eco-Friendly
  • Reusable
  • Suitable for all experience levels
  • 15-year Guarantee provided by Satisfyer

For a great read on how menstrual cups can fit into your product catalog, don’t miss Why Sex And Periods Are Not Mutually Exclusive.

Satisfyer Menstrual Cups are available in 3 styles, with 7 colors per style:

Satisfyer Feel Confident Menstrual Cup Set with Retrieval Loop

Satisfyer Feel Good Menstrual Cup Set with Retrieval Stem

Satisfyer Feel Secure Menstrual Cup Set with Easy-Grip Retrieval Tab

From Endometriosis To Women’s Pleasure Products: One Woman’s Quest To Change The Way We Think About Sex Toys.

I was 14 when I was first diagnosed with Endo. After irregular periods and pelvic issues, a laparoscopy confirmed the diagnosis.

I started the pill and had some reprieve for a few years. After countless visits to some of the “best known” gynecologists in Sydney and multiple laparoscopy’s, I was told it was “in my head” and to go to a pain clinic. I think this is where my issues around pelvic pain really set in.

A year later I found an amazing and kind gynecologist who repeated a laparoscopy (number 5). He found varicose veins and tons of scar tissue but no endo. It seemed the pill was working as a treatment.

My first introduction to my body as a woman had been tainted by clinical, painful and embarrassing experiences which probably set the scene for what was to come later.

Sex initially was great (as great as it can be when you have zero idea what to expect and are an awkward teenager with little self-confidence). My first introduction to sex toys was at a seedy sex store in Kings Cross (Sydney’s version of the red-light district). An old man with a rocking 70s moustache sat behind the counter and pointed us in the direction of the biggest and quite frankly offensive dildos I had ever seen. I left with a small egg which looked cool and became one of my favourite toys (still is actually).

After the birth of my daughter, sex became extremely painful. After multiple visits to my OB and other health care professionals, I started pelvic floor physio. I had a condition known as “vaginismus”. The name itself is enough to make your vagina tense! Basically, it was involuntary spasm of the muscles of the vagina which made sex painful. Instead of relaxing they would tense up. Someone suggested using external stimulation with sex toys to try to relax the muscles before sex and during. The combination with lubricant was great and made the experience way better!

I was haunted by my first experience with sex toys and even though we have made some progress and there are certainly some stores and online boutiques that are amazing, there weren’t always products that I felt were luxurious and beautiful. So, this started my dream of creating sex toys.

And so, with some help along the way from several users, health care professionals and designers – I created my first Elixir Play product. It was a long journey to get here but I am so excited for the opportunity to share this with women and help other women find ways to enjoy sex.

I feel very passionately that women should understand, be aware of and unashamed of their bodies. Whatever shape, size, colour you are – we all deserve pleasure and for the vast majority of us, with a little help and a lot of knowledge we can get there.

From Endometriosis To Women’s Pleasure Products: One Woman’s Quest To Change The Way We Think About Sex Toys by Lara Pack originally appeared on Elixir Play Bog

How to Help Shoppers Take Charge of Their Sexual Health

The physical and emotional issues people face when it comes to sexual intimacy can greatly impact their overall quality of life. These issues often ebb and flow throughout different life stages, but what you may not realize is that pain and discomfort during intercourse are actually quite common.

According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, three out of four women have experienced pain during vaginal intercourse at some time during their lives. And while there are many reasons for this, among the list are hormonal changes, childbirth and menopause.

Discomfort during anal sex can have the same impact on a person or couple. A 412-person survey conducted by the San Francisco Aids Foundation found that 86 percent had experienced pain during anal sex, at least once. Sixty-four percent of those who had anally penetrated a partner have been asked to stop because their partner asked them to due to discomfort.

With so many people experiencing intimacy issues, we’d expect to see their doctors recommending treatment, but that is not always the case. According to a study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, only about 40 percent of the obstetricians and gynecologists who participated in the study inquired about sexual problems with their patients. As little as 29 percent inquired about sexual satisfaction.

Collectively, these statistics tell an important story. Discomfort during sex is more common than people realize, and the individuals experiencing these issues need some assistance. This is where our industry comes in!

Adult retailers have various tools that can help increase intimacy, decrease discomfort during sex, and improve overall sexual health and well-being.

Here are five tips on how we can help customers take charge of their sexual health:

1. Create a dedicated wellness area in-store and online.

This may include dilators, pelvic floor exercisers and other wellness type products. Create an area that is inviting and informational. And, as always, it’s important to recommend that your customers speak to their doctor first before starting any sexual wellness routine. Pro tip: If you notice a customer browsing this section, talk to them and offer your assistance. This can help start the conversation and build a better relationship with that customer.

2. Train your staff.

It’s important to have a staff that is well-trained on the products you carry, but it’s also crucial that your staff can talk openly about a variety of sexual topics.

Offer training covering a range of topics, and ensure your staff has additional resources they can turn to when needed. Pro tip: it’s ok not to know everything; being compassionate and honest is a great first step when speaking to a customer. Saying things like “I’m sorry you are experiencing this issue; let me look into some resources for you and I can get back to you” is a great way to acknowledge the issue while also gathering more information.

3. Partner with local doctors.

It is exciting to see how many doctors are open to the idea of referring patients to adult stores that carry dilators and lubricants. Many are unaware we offer these types of items, so it’s important to reach out to local doctors and let them know what you have available. Pro tip: offer special discounts to the medical community and their patients when visiting you for the first time.

4. Provide educational content.

Blogs and educational books are a great way to help further support customers on their sexual health journey. This content can also help store employees answer some of the sexual health questions they may be asked. For example, an employee can say, “We have a great book that may help you with that” or “Did you see our latest blog on (insert topic here).” These types of conversations allow employees to be helpful, and give the customer even more information on the subject they need. Pro tip: Reach out to manufacturers for content. For example, CalExotics offers a variety of sexual health and wellness content that their customers can use. This includes helpful information, videos and training from CalExotics partners like Ob/Gyn Dr. Sherry Ross and Dr. Jill McDevitt.

5. Offer education events.

Events, virtual or in person, allow you to better connect with your customers. Plus, it builds an even stronger sense of trust and loyalty with customers. Pro tip: bringing in experts like local physicians or sex educators can be a great way to elevate your events; plus, the information provided can also be a great training tool for your staff.

These tips can be a great place to start furthering the conversation on sexual health topics and the products that may help.

How to Help Shoppers Take Charge of Their Sexual Health By Lupe Martinez originally appeared in XBIZ

Why Sex and Periods Are Not Mutually Exclusive

Photo by Deon Black on Unsplash

In our industry, we’re finding there’s a line between sexy and not sexy — and it’s actually not a line, but rather a period. Somehow “sex” and “period” seem mutually exclusive. With the obvious biological link between the two, how did this happen? Is this an outdated perception of our industry or a line that needs to continue to exist to keep sex sexy? Let’s break it down.

For starters, there’s a common misconception that a woman shouldn’t or can’t have sex on her period. This means that for approximately three months of a year, a woman shuts herself off from having sex. Seems like a missed opportunity, right? In fact, there are a number of benefits to orgasm during menstruation. Even with the “mess” factor, there are now a number of ways around this to make it easier for women to not have their period interrupt their sex life. After all, sex is a lifestyle, not a novelty. And of course, sex doesn’t need to be penetration — mutual masturbation is always on the table. If we can help to educate the consumer and shift their mindset, it gives the industry another touch-point to engage the consumer with “sexy” feminine hygiene products. But before that can happen, the industry needs to recognize the opportunity.

The feminine hygiene category is growing all around us through new innovations and category offerings. According to IRI, a Chicago-based market research firm, sales of feminine needs products in U.S. multi-outlet stores (grocery, drug, mass, military club and discount) totaled roughly $649.2 million last year, an increase of 2.3 percent compared with the same period the previous year. Sales of sanitary napkins and tampons totaled roughly $2.82 billion, up 1.3 percent, and sales of all other feminine hygiene products/medical treatments totaled roughly $322.7 billion, up 5.7 percent. The numbers are up because the female consumer is savvier than ever and looking for options better suited to her lifestyle.

This is why trendy lifestyle retailers like Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie are carrying feminine hygiene products, like reusable menstrual cups, to both satisfy the consumer demand and build stronger loyalty with female consumers. The results have proven positive with new innovations, a range of price point offerings and increased profits. These lifestyle retailers know that 80 percent of female consumers shop the feminine hygiene/sexual wellness aisle on each visit to a drug store or healthcare section of a supermarket. Consider how much the average woman spends on feminine products per month, per year, per lifetime … it adds up. Menstrual cups offer an economic solution to such problems because they are reusable and there are many affordable options now. The demand is undeniable, and our industry has the opportunity to provide women with the latest and greatest products to keep them sexually active 365 days a year.

With a sexual health category offering in adult stores, we can meet all the sexual wellness needs of the female consumer, strengthen engagement and ultimately give the female consumer permission and empowerment to have sex on her period like never before. The road ahead isn’t a rough one either. Research shows that over 50 percent of people enjoy sex during menstruation, however period sex remains one of the biggest taboos for women — despite the movement to normalize women’s bodies having made huge strides in the last few years.

Even if adult stores are only a planned shopping destination for sexy occasions, we need to cover all bases. How many times have women planned and looked forward to a romantic weekend only to realize as the date approaches that it “conflicts” with her period? New sexy lingerie (check), new partner vibrator (check), new lube (check) … Period?! (Argh!)

But the reality is, consumers visit stores to explore and reach their peak sexual potential. As it stands now, women have a roadblock on that journey eight days out of the month. If it’s our job to help them reach their full potential, then we need to break down those roadblocks with education and a product offering that provides actual solutions.

Problem: I can’t have sex on my period because it’s messy.

Solution: Menstrual cups are truly a game-changer for staying sexually active every day of the month. It’s now easier than ever to have sex while on one’s period. With penetrative sex the cup should just move further upward in the vagina, and with penetrating devices it can move out of the way. There are also category opportunities like “sex play mats” and period panties.

Problem: Blood is gross. No one wants that during sex.

Solution: Don’t think of it as blood, think of it as a natural lubricant. Thirty percent of the fluid absorbed by a tampon is actually bodily fluid and not actually blood. When using menstrual cups that bodily fluid is not absorbed which helps maintain the body’s natural PH balance.

Problem: My period hurts, why would I want sex?

Solution: Because orgasms, of course! Regular orgasms throughout the menstrual cycle can help to support a healthy balance of hormones and a regular cycle, meaning that a good sexual wellness routine will be of benefit before, during and after a period. When we orgasm, the endorphins and hormones released, including the “love hormone” oxytocin, help the body to manage pain by interacting with the opiate receptors in the brain to reduce our perception of pain. These powerful chemicals work with the brain to alleviate us in the same way as pain-relief drugs, helping to ease cramps and migraines. Orgasms don’t only have neurological benefits, though the hormones are released, the physical contractions of an orgasm also work to help release the uterine lining, meaning that a period could be shorter as a result. Vibrators that incorporate heat can be incredibly soothing when a woman is experiencing a painful cycle. Heat can help naturally relax tight muscles, ease stress, and facilitate natural pain relief when applied to areas like the G-spot or the lower abdomen.

Problem: It’s uncomfortable to be penetrated on my period.

Solution: External stimulation to the rescue! Vibrators can be particularly beneficial to alleviate the pain of cramps with their capacity to help bring more oxygen and blood flow to the pelvic area, which is often a leading cause of period pain. Exploring the area using a vibrator to bring better blood circulation to the area will soften outer tissues and help release the muscles of the lower abdomen, relaxing the body.

As the clitoris has over 8,000 nerve endings, stimulation during menstruation can create heightened sensitivity and allow for an even better orgasm. Touch-free clitoral stimulation through air pressure waves is an amazing solution to provide relief while avoiding penetration.

The remaining, and truly underlying problem is, how can adult stores merchandise products like menstrual cups, sex mats and such without linking to the stigma of being a “turn-off?” The answer lies in the solution every other major retailer has had to face. We need to evolve. Just as the kids’ toy aisle is no longer boy and girl, but rather segmented by play pattern, we too can do better for our consumer. A “sexual health” endcap dedicated to merchandising solutions to common problems can be “sexy” if the goal is still sex. We can meet the needs of keeping women sexually active on their period, help women strengthen their pelvic floor muscles, or even overcome a too well-endowered partner all in one place. Why not also merchandise a vibrating wand there too for inspiration … and a sensual heated device? It’s all in the positioning and how you serve your consumer, who will welcome the attention to their needs, and best of all, it will keep them coming back for more. Period.

 

Why Sex and Periods Are Not Mutually Exclusive by Megwyn White originally appeared in XBIZ

She-ology Advanced 3-Piece Wearable Vaginal Dilator Set by CalExotics

Revitalize and strengthen vaginal muscles with the contoured She-ology Advanced 3-Piece Wearable Vaginal Dilator Set.

The uniquely designed 3-piece dilator kit is ergonomically curved and gradually sized to allow for gentle dilation.

The advanced size silicone probes have a curved base for gentle insertion and stimulation, pair with a mini bullet for intensified sensation!


The graduated set has been created to revive vaginal muscle strength and reduce insertion discomfort with every use. Use the small dilator to begin and as you gently exercise and increase the elasticity of muscles, advance to the larger probes.

With unique wearable design, each probe is finished with a flexible flanged base for comfort and easy of mobility. The hypoallergenic premium silicone is body safe, unscented and phthalate free to keep you most sensitive spots, happy and healthy.

Features:

  • May restore and revive vaginal strength and comfort
  • 3-piece Silicone dilator set with expanded sizes for advanced gradual dilation
  • Unique, wearable design for comfort and easy mobility
  • Ergonomically curved for ease of use
  • Dilators may accommodate a stimulator if desired (not included)
  • Dilator guide from Dr. Sherry included
  • 1 Year warranty provided by CalExotics
  • Silicone
  • 3.13” x 1.28” (dilator 1)
  • 3.38” x 1.75” (dilator 2)
  • 3.72” x 1.93” (dilator 3)

 

How to Use:

Getting Started with Vaginal Dilators

Find a time and a quiet place where you can be comfortable, either alone or with your partner. The most natural position for insertion is with one leg placed on top of the toilet seat or lying on your back with your legs in a “frog-leg” position. Relax your pelvic floor muscles, take some deep breaths, and gently insert the dilator.

Inserting the Vaginal Dilator

Start with the smallest size dilator in your kit. Insert a well-lubricated dilator into the vagina until the base is flush with the vaginal opening. A water-based lubricant is recommended. Wearing a pair of snug-fitting underwear will help keep the dilator in place, especially in the upright position.

Increasing Your Dilator Size

The goal of using a vaginal dilator is to increase the size of the dilator slowly and comfortably to retrain, expand, and gently stretch the entrance and canal of the vagina for additional comfort and pleasure. When you can insert one size of a dilator completely without any discomfort, then you should start using the next size up. The goal is to insert the largest size dilator without any discomfort.

Enhance dilation by inserting a vibrating bullet into the base of your dilator. This added stimulation and sensation may help relax your muscles when increasing dilator sizes.

When to Practice with Vaginal Dilators

It is recommended to use a dilator 2 to 4 times per week for 5 to 30 minutes as needed and depending on your comfort level.

She-ology Interchangeable Weighted Kegel Set by CalExotics

The She-Ology Interchangeable Weighted Kegel Set is ergonomically designed to tighten and tone pelvic muscles.

Created to give you a fully customizable workout regimen, the set of 6 variable weighted kegel balls can be mixed and matches with the single or double ball holder to give your muscles exactly what they need. From smallest to largest, the weight set include 20 g, 25 g, 30 g, 35 g, 40 g, and 45 g

The premium silicone weights assist to train and tone kegel muscles, increasing sexual satisfaction, sensual stimulation, and pelvic floor strength with every use.

The graduated set has been created to tone and tighten kegel muscles over time. The hypoallergenic premium silicone set is body safe, unscented and phthalate free to keep you most sensitive spots, happy and healthy.

Features:

  • 6 interchangeable weights for a fully customizable workout regimen
  • Ergonomically designed to tighten and tone pelvic muscles
  • Single and double Kegel ball holder with easy retrieval cords
  • Hygienically superior, body safe Silicone
  • Kegel exercise guide from Dr. Sherry included
  • 1 Year warranty provided by CalExotics
  • Silicone
  • Variably weighted Kegel balls: 20 g, 25 g, 30 g, 35 g, 40 g, 45 g
  • 4” (overall – single ball holder)
  • 6” (overall – double ball holder)
  • 1.25” x 1” (each ball)

 

How to Use:

Identify Your Pelvic Floor Muscles

The first step in your Kegel exercise routine is to find your pelvic floor muscles. The easiest way to identify your pelvic floor muscles is to pee, and while doing so, stop the flow of urine midstream and hold it. Hold the contraction for 3 seconds then relax, allowing the flow of urine to continue. Repeat this a couple of times to help identify your pelvic floor muscles. Another way to identify your pelvic floor muscles is to insert your first two fingers in the vagina, squeeze as if you are holding urine then relax. Repeat this a couple of times to help identify your pelvic floor muscles.

Getting Started with Kegel Exercisers

Now that you have identified your pelvic floor muscles, you can perform your Kegel exercises. Before you begin, empty your bladder. Next, find a time and a quiet place where you can be comfortable either sitting or lying down. Start with the exerciser you are most comfortable with; if you are a beginner, it is the lightest exerciser in your kit. Insert a well-lubricated exerciser into the vagina, leaving the retrieval cord outside of the vagina for easy removal. A water-based lubricant is recommended.

Beginning Your Exercises

Contract your pelvic floor muscles, hold the contraction for 5 seconds, and then relax for 5 seconds. Try it 4 or 5 times in a row. Work up to keeping the muscles contracted for 10 seconds at a time, relaxing for 15 seconds between contractions.

Moving to The Next Exerciser

The goal of using a Kegel Exerciser is to help build strong pelvic floor muscles. Within your kit, you can work your way from the lightest exerciser to the heaviest exerciser. When you can do your Kegel exercises with ease, it is recommended to move to the next heaviest exerciser.

When to Practice Your Kegel Exercise

It is recommended to practice your Kegel exercises daily, starting with 15 contractions each day, gradually increasing to 50 contractions. You may notice a benefit to your pelvic floor strength in 8 to 12 weeks when done faithfully.

How to Deal with Sexual Side Effects of Your Meds

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‘Sexual side effects’ – if you take prescriptions medications, know someone who does, or have seen commercials for them, odds are you have heard this vague phrase. So, what does it mean? What makes them happen? What can we do about them? Let’s take a look at sexual side effects, their causes, and some fun tools that can help you navigate them and maybe find some new routes to pleasure.

Sexual side effects primer

First off, side effects are effects medications have on the user that are unrelated to the reason they are taking the medication- kind of like a bonus, but not a good one.

Lots of medications can cause sexual side effects, these include – but are not limited to –

– Anticonvulsants

– Antidepressants (SSRIs, MAOIs, Tricyclics)

– Antihistamines

– Anti-hypertensive medications

– Anti-manic medications

– Anti-psychotic medications

– Benzodiazepines

– Beta-blockers

– Birth control

– Opioid painkillers

Now that we are clear on the concept of ‘sexual side effects’, and some of the medications that can cause them, let’s get specific as to what exactly they look like. The term “sexual side effects” typically refers to the following:

– Loss of libido

– Erectile dysfunction

– Vaginal dryness

– Genital numbness

– Delayed orgasm

– Anorgasmia (Inability to orgasm)

How does a wand massager help coping with sexual side effects?

When it comes to navigating sexual side effects, we’re happy to inform you that you have options.  You could talk to your doctor about finding a different medication that works for you, without causing the unwanted side effects. However, you may not want to do that if you are happy with the positive benefits of your medication.  In that case you may, instead, want to figure out how to enjoy your sex life and continue taking your medications.  Luckily, especially in cases of genital numbness, delayed orgasm, and anorgasmia, vibrating massagers and their attachments, can be part of the solution.

We’d like to offer you some suggestions. First things first, though, let’s talk anatomy!

Pleasure anatomy beyond the usual suspects

For many people dealing with sexual side effects, it can feel like the stimulation that had previously been the key to their orgasm suddenly no longer works.  This can leave folks at a serious loss of pleasure. However, while lots of folks know to stimulate their clitoris or their G-spot, many don’t know about all the other potential pleasure makers right in that area!

In 2014 an Italian study was released about the clitourethrovaginal (CUV) complex – the area encompassing the clitoris, the vagina, and the urethra – as a great source of orgasmic pleasure. This study was sadly lost in a deluge of publicity claiming that it proved the G-spot “doesn’t exist” when in actuality, what it did was to call for recognizing the entire group of sensitive areas as key to the orgasmic process rather than focusing in on one point. The study noted that “Compared to the male erogenous zones, those in the CUV complex are much more variable and complex, and also varies from woman to woman depending on the hormonal cycle.”  Voila! The internal clitoris was “discovered”.

– The most important takeaways from this study include:

– The internal clitoris is huge and what we refer to as the G-spot is a small part of the expansive CUV region

– The urethra can also be stimulated for pleasure

The perineal sponge, known as the PS-spot to some, is a spongy cushion of erectile tissue between the vagina and rectum, is a sexual hotspot that most of us haven’t even heard of and can be another source of pleasure.

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So essentially, there are places in the entire genital region that trigger pleasure.  Let’s take a moment to remember that bodies vary from person to person. So while some folks may find their orgasms can be triggered by perineal sponge or urethral stimulation, others may find that G-spot or clitoral stimulation is their money spots.

Bringing in the tools!

One of my biggest recommendations for folks coping with genital numbness, delayed orgasm, or anorgasmia is always large, strong, wand style massagers. This is because of their ability to deliver incredibly strong vibration to large areas.  Wand massagers are often substantially stronger than what folks are used to and that sheer power can be enough to get you past the hurdle of your meds. Additionally, large wands cover more surface area than traditional vibrators which may result in stimulating areas you haven’t stimulated before – like the vaginal opening, the urethra, or the perineal sponge.

A whole new world

An important thing to remember while navigating sexual side effects is that you are exploring uncharted waters. The orgasms you experience may feel different than you are used to, just as how you used to reach them may be completely different than the ways you’ve reached orgasm in the past. In JoEllen Notte’s sex and depression research, participants have described their orgasms as “in my body but not my brain,” “more subtle,” and simply “not the same.”  Remember, you’re exploring what is happening for your body now. Don’t get hung up on what you think “should” happen. Think of it as an adventure and find all the routes to pleasure you can.


How to Deal with Sexual Side Effects of Your Meds originally appeared on Rumble & Buzz

Understanding and Embracing the Aging, Female Consumer

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In today’s flourishing sex toy market, excitement and enjoyment aren’t difficult to find. When consumers are seeking unique sensations or a newfound kink, they can easily count on their favorite retailer or online store to provide a plethora of products and a few sex-ed lessons to boot from knowledgeable sales reps.

But for every youthful, enthusiastic shopper, how many more are suffering silently on the sidelines and in need of a solution that’s not as simple as buying a new bullet?

Medical reports show that three in four women will experience dysapreunia, more commonly known as painful sex, due to dozens of conditions such as endometriosis, vaginismus, post-partum issues and pelvic floor dysfunction. Vaginal dryness and atrophy are also common challenges, especially during menopause.

While our bustling intimate products industry is ready to tackle the millennial-focused orgasm gap, we’re often lacking in advice and solutions for middle-aged and senior women. This vital group of female consumers is just as capable and deserving of a vibrant, delightful sex life, whether solo or partnered.

As technological luck would have it, we’re entering a new era of solutions targeted at treating painful sex. CBD extract holds incredible potential to provide natural relief and increased pleasure for women facing age-related barriers to intimate wellness.

A little reproductive system sex-ed and a selection of CBD-based products can go a long way in returning a middle-aged or senior woman to a rightfully enjoyable sex life.

Understanding and Embracing the Aging, Female Consumer

The majority of women begin menopause around age 51. The body is no longer of optimal age to bear children, so around this time, a woman’s ovaries will shut down and her menstrual periods will cease.

We’ve all heard of menopause and generally associate it with women in their senior years. However, you might be surprised to find that many of your 40-something female customers — and even some women in their mid to late 30s — are already dealing with age-related sexual health issues.

Perimenopause arrives anywhere from a few months to four to seven years before a woman’s last menstrual cycle. Most women can expect to see signs of perimenopause sometime in their 40s, though it’s not entirely unusual to encounter hormonal and cyclical changes around the mid-30s.

During this time, women can experience menopause-like symptoms like hot flashes, sleep disturbances, irregular periods or depression and anxiety due to the fluctuation of estrogen. Perimenopause is the body’s way of signaling that full menopause and ovarian shutdown is on its way, albeit very gradually.

With this natural stage of life comes a decrease in estrogen, which often leads to sexual symptoms many women aren’t comfortable discussing, or even sure how to address, with a retail sales rep.

As experts in selling sex education and pleasure-focused experiences, it’s imperative that we also sell our customers on appreciating every stage of womanhood. From the time we’re born, women’s bodies move through an incredible array of changes: puberty and the growth of our curves, menstruation, the discovery of our sexuality and orgasmic potential, and the life-changing transformation of childbirth and motherhood.

As sex-positive pleasure professionals, it’s truly our duty to celebrate women as they age and infect their attitudes with a contagious joy toward middle-aged and senior sexuality.

Enhanced awareness of the unique health issues aging women face is essential. Once retailers understand the signs and symptoms of age-related painful sex, their intuition can guide even the shyest of consumers to a comfortable solution with CBD extract.

Menopause and Painful Sex

The North American Menopause Society claims that between 17 percent and 45 percent of postmenopausal women say they find sex painful. Is it any wonder that the pleasure products space desperately needs to rise to these women’s needs?

Decreasing estrogen leads to thinner vaginal walls and dryness, turning sex from a once-anticipated activity to a cause for fear and anxiety. During penetration, discomfort can range from feeling uncomfortably dry or tight to severe pain. Post-sex, burning or soreness in the vagina or vulva are just as common.

If left untreated, a combination of insufficient lubrication and inflammation can cause tearing and bleeding of the vaginal walls, leaving women vulnerable to infection.

What’s worse, the more painful, unbearable sex a woman has, the more her anxiety is likely to trigger vaginismus. This involuntary tightening of the vaginal muscles, caused by anticipation of pain, only continues the ugly cycle of nightmarish intercourse.

Intimate CBD Products for Decreasing Pain and Increasing Pleasure

CBD can be Goddess-sent for perimenopausal and menopausal customers — or anyone experiencing painful penetration and intimate health problems — who have yet to find light at the end of the tunnel.

CBD, short for cannabidiol, is a non-psychoactive, non-psychotropic compound extracted from the cannabis plant. It provides all of the pain and anxiety relief of other cannabis products without any negative side effects or the “high” feeling typically associated with medical marijuana.

For millions of women who suffer from sexual pain, genital inflammation or pre-sex anxiousness, CBD can provide welcomed relief in a natural, herbal remedy without a prescription.

When taken orally, CBD extract provides natural anti-anxiety properties. It can help calm the mind and get anxious consumers out of their heads, so to speak, and back into the moment. Many consumers who struggle with overall mental health problems, like depression, anxiety or ADHD, have felt more energetic, focused and positive after imbibing an appropriate, daily dose of CBD.

CBD is also an amazing, natural anti-inflammatory and can help reduce pain throughout the body. Studies have shown CBD to be anti-arthritic and capable of reducing inflammation in the joints and muscles.

For overall mental and full-body physical relief, CBD in the form of edible tinctures, pills or treats like gummies is your customers’ best bet.

For more specific pain in the genitals, especially during sexual activity, you can additionally recommend a CBD lubricant formulated for safe internal use. Customers can always combine an edible extract with a penetration-friendly lube to maximize pain relief and pleasure.

CBD lubricants bring all the benefits of cannabidiol right where aging women need it most: in their vulva tissue and inside the vagina.

When applied on the genitals as a sexual lubricant, CBD acts as a natural anti-inflammatory and can help reduce pain from inflammation, allowing for more comfortable and pleasurable touch and penetration. Additionally, as it soaks into the skin, CBD can relax the vaginal muscles and calm the nerves that perceive pain.

Though it hasn’t been fully proven whether CBD can increase blood flow, many users have reported feeling the related effects of better genital circulation: increased sensitivity to pleasurable touch, higher arousal levels, and production of their own natural lubrication.

Whenever possible, point your customers to a water-based CBD lubricant. Water-based CBD lubes are designed specifically for sexual play and intercourse. For starters, they’re completely safe to use with condoms and all sex toy materials. They offer quick absorption to the localized area through the vulvar and vaginal mucosa, maximizing CBD’s therapeutic effects. They’re also more likely to be pH-balanced so as not to interfere with the sensitive, acidic environment inside the vagina, which can potentially lead to yeast or bacterial infections.

However, be aware that CBD isn’t a cure-all. If your customers are experiencing deeper-rooted issues, like severe physical or emotional pain or suffering the effects of past trauma, consider referring them to a sexual therapist or qualified clinician. In fact, many AASECT-certified medical doctors and sex therapists are big believers in the amazing benefits of CBD!

CBD: Reinventing the Wheel for Sexual Pain Sufferers

As more aging women enter our retail shops and peruse our web stores, it’s our responsibility as intimate wellness experts to decipher their important sexual needs. While CBD extract might have begun as a 420-themed novelty, this proven medicinal remedy has quickly proven itself as a powerful tool for natural pain relief.

Your female customers age 40 years and older might not need another vibrator to solve their sensual woes. A CBD lubricant or edible might be just the ticket to helping aging women reclaim their right to incredible sex.


Understanding and Embracing the Aging, Female Consumer by Dr. Sadie Allison, Founder & CEO of GoLove CBD Lubricant, originally appeared in XBIZ

How Adult Retailers, Medical Community Can Come Together for Sexual Health

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Picture this: a potential customer walks into your store, approaches your booth at a convention, or calls your order hotline. They’re intimidated, a little embarrassed, maybe even apologetic — you can see it in the slump of their shoulders, hear it in the way they lower their voice and stumble over their words.

“I’ve never been to a place like this before. I don’t even know where to start. I’m hoping you can help.”

(Sure you can. That’s why you exist, right? And although you can tell they’re convinced that their issue is uniquely humiliating, you know from experience it’s actually very common.)

Now imagine these next words. “Every time I try to have sex, my leg goes into painful spasms. I don’t know exactly why it happens, but I thought maybe you could recommend a sex toy to help me relax and forget about the pain.”

Most likely, you’d urge them to see a medical professional for diagnosis and treatment immediately. As a retailer, you’re more than happy to help them maximize their pleasure after the pain is gone; but sex toys don’t cure injured leg muscles.

Believe it or not, a very similar scenario plays out in my business on a daily basis. As a physical therapist specializing in women’s sexual health issues, I’ve treated hundreds of patients; and our first in-office conversation, or the messages that fill my voicemail inbox, often begin exactly that way. The only difference is that their pain is in their pelvic floor muscles; but because that condition is shrouded in misunderstanding and social stigma, they’ve spent a long time looking for ways to minimize or normalize their pain instead of treating it.

Just how common is this? Scientific studies indicate that 43 percent of women — almost half — will experience painful sex on an ongoing basis at some point in life. Among other things, that means your customers and my patients are the same people. And although I’m not in the retail and marketing side of the sex industry, you and I share a common goal — to help people understand that sex is normal, but pain (unless you’ve requested it from your partner) is not.

In almost two decades of successful practice in my field, I’ve learned tackling a problem that affects nearly half of all women (not to mention, their partners) means I can’t just treat women’s bodies. In addition to helping my patients, education and advocacy have helped me grow my business. I believe they can do the same for you.

Don’t worry — there’s no pop quiz at the end of this article. Knowing the difference between vaginismus and vulvodynia (two common diagnoses) is my job; and non-professional medical advice typically does my patients more harm than good. Instead, take some time to educate yourself and your team about the people affected by it from a marketing perspective.

Who are these women? They’re college students, new moms, and menopausal women from all walks of life — your mother, your sister, your co-worker. They suffer from muscle pain that can make penetration, and sometimes other forms of sexual expression, excruciating or impossible. And whether it’s chronic or sudden, and regardless of how it began (and there are many medical causes, from injury to hormone changes), it is keeping them from a pleasurable and fulfilling sex life.

Remember the leg spasm example? Think about how the emergence of the “weekend warrior” as a marketing demographic revolutionized the sporting goods industry. I can treat the pain; but if you understand how it affects their sexual lifestyle, you can tailor and promote products that help them associate sex with pleasure.

Of course, most of these women aren’t talking openly about it; and even the bravest among them tend to avoid your retail locations (although you can bet they’ve checked out your website). They do talk to each other online, though; a quick internet search of terms like “painful sex,” “pelvic pain” and “pelvic PT” will deliver an instant focus group.

But you’re missing another crucial demographic if you haven’t considered marketing directly to women’s health physical therapists. It’s a fairly new specialty; but we’re growing exponentially, our network is massive, and we’ve built a trusted social media platform with impressive reach. When my colleagues and I find a quality product we know will help our patients, the news travels fast. And — best kept secret — we’re already using some of them in treatment.

Pain-free intercourse is the goal of most of my patients from day one; but pelvic floor physical therapy can’t be rushed and requires home therapy between sessions. From my perspective, any aid that helps them discover other forms of sexual expression during that process, or reconnects them to their bodies and partners in pleasurable ways, is well worth the investment.

Additionally, successful home therapy requires the right equipment; and it’s rarely covered by insurance. Especially during the final transition to intercourse with a partner, I suggest certain toys based on their realistic look and feel, as well as their more reasonable price points. Opportunities exist at every level of your market. I purchase lubricant by the gallon for my practice; and many of my patients joke that they do the same. You know your products better than anyone; can you think of ways to connect them to this need? If so, I want to hear about it.

Speaking of communication — advocacy is another important area in which we can partner. In addition to the well-documented physical pain my patients deal with, the emotional toll it takes on them and their partners is a second major barrier to diagnosis, treatment and recovery. And overwhelmingly, they tend to suffer in silence.

Why? Let’s revisit that leg spasm example one more time. Although the set-up may have sounded familiar, you’ve probably never had a customer embarrassed to talk to you about muscle pain in their leg (or back, or neck), let alone ask you to help them forget about it or pretend it’s normal. They know the pain isn’t all in their mind because they can point to where they feel it; so they don’t wonder whether the right mindset can cure it.

But traditional medicine has really dropped the ball on women’s sexual health in general, and on pelvic floor injury in particular. Combine the social taboos and conflicting messages surrounding sex and women’s bodies with decades of misinformation and misdiagnosis, dangerous myths, and ineffective treatment. Add personal frustration and disappointment; and pile on well-meaning but unhelpful advice (and sometimes pressure) from intimate partners, trusted family members and friends, and even doctors to “just relax,” “have a glass of wine” or “push through the pain.” It’s easy to understand why so many of my patients doubt their instincts, hide their painful secret, and avoid treatment — and sex — for months or years.

No matter where they are in the body, muscles are muscles. I treat injured legs and pelvic floors using the same principles; and with proper physical therapy, pain disappears and function returns. But, while every patient requires an individualized treatment plan, early diagnosis and treatment generally speeds recovery time and lowers the risk of complications like injury to surrounding muscles. This is especially true for pelvic patients; and it also prevents further damage to their self-esteem, relationships and harmful thinking patterns about pleasure. The most therapeutic thing I can do for my patients — your customers — as a group is to break the silence about painful sex.

Retailers in the sex industry have always been fearless about shattering taboos and empowering women to take charge of their sexual health and pleasure. Now that you know how widespread this taboo is within your customer base, how can you use the power of your own platform to change the status quo? Sensitivity to language in product packaging and descriptions, advertising on social media sites dedicated to the discussion (or featuring it on your own sites), promotional partnerships with medical professionals, and corporate sponsorship of non-profit groups and events like Pelvic Pain Awareness Month are all things to consider through the lens of social responsibility and good business.

Painful sex isn’t “normal”; but it is common, and it is treatable. Like you, I envision a future where every adult is empowered and supported in their journey toward sexual health and pleasure, without shame or fear. For me, that’s a world in which they can approach both of us confidently to discuss their needs and desires, knowing what each of us can do to help them find and enjoy the sex life we know they deserve.


How Adult Retailers, Medical Community Can Come Together for Sexual Health by Dr. Heather Jeffcoat, DPT originally appeared in XBIZ