How to Read Lube Ingredients, Determine Best Options for Shoppers

Not all lubes are right for all bodies. What may be a great lube for your best friend could be not so great for you.

Buying a lubricant is like buying a face cream. You need a hydrating cream that is good on wrinkles, and so does your best friend. But you have combination skin and need SPF, and he has a serious problem with clogged pores… Obviously, you are not going to buy the same face cream. Your needs are the same, but your faces are different.

We need to treat lube the same way. Two people might need a good water-based lube for use with toys but that’s where the similarity ends — why would they both buy the same lube? Our bodies are different. Our lubes should be, too.

I think as an industry, we understand the concept of “this lube is good for anal” or “this lube is great for sensual massage,” but we come up short when it comes to, “this lube is good for people who are susceptible to allergies” or “this lube is good for people with celiac” or “this lube helps with vaginal dryness.”

Considering the oceans of brands and products out there, there should be no trouble helping your customer find the lube that is right for their needs.

Here are four easy rules for lube:

  1. If you can’t find the ingredient list — don’t offer that lube to your customers!
  2. Don’t buy any lube that has ingredients you wouldn’t want in your body. The inner walls of vaginas and colons absorb everything.
  3. If your customers are sensitive to allergens, pay attention to ingredients that might cause allergic reactions, like fancy botanicals or PEGs.
  4. If the customer is prone to yeast infections, pay attention to ingredients that raise osmolality (like propylene glycol or propanediol).

Here is a quick primer on how to read an ingredient list:

Ingredients are required to be listed in decreasing order. In other words, the majority of what is in the tube/bottle/tub is whatever is listed first. Usually the first and second ingredients make up 90-98 percent of the volume. The rest of the ingredients are added in minute quantities.

Some examples of small amount equal safe ingredients: Potassium sorbate, a common artificial preservative, is caustic and can cause skin irritation in large quantities, but in volumes up to 0.5 percent, it is totally innocuous. When it is listed as one of the last ingredients — no need to worry.

Propylene glycol is also fine in small quantities. Anything below 5 percent should not raise your lubricant’s osmolality to dangerous levels, but if you see it as the first or second ingredient in your lubricant, you should definitely beware.

If you don’t know what an ingredient is, do a web search. Make sure you are A-OK with every ingredient. Some of the scary-sounding ones are completely harmless; some of the more common ones are pretty gross.

Also, a word to the wise: If a customer needs to change lubes, or buys a lubricant that they don’t like, check out the ingredient label before suggesting another lubricant to them, and compare the old against the new to ensure that you recommend them a different formula.

With just a small amount of effort, we can totally up our lube game, both for ourselves and for our customers. Knowledge is power and everything you need to know is as close as your smart phone. So, what are you waiting for?

Happy lubing!

How to Read Lube Ingredients, Determine Best Options for Shoppers by Rebecca Pinette-Dorin originally appeared in XBIZ

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

A Look at How Medical Bias, Misrepresentation Blocks Sexual Wellness Innovation

 

Throughout the decades, when looking at the innovation that has taken place in the mainstream consumer tech industry, it is clear that (relatively speaking) the sex toy industry is stunted. In more recent history, the release of several sexual wellness products has changed the landscape and shown that thoughtful engineering and intentional design can elevate a product and create positive change within the industry. Even still, there remains a lot of room for technological improvement and innovation. In contrast to mainstream consumer tech spaces, specific barriers exist for manufacturers fostering innovation within the sex toy industry.

The main obstacle in developing innovative pleasure products lies in understanding the specifics of the user. Specifically, understanding the data of someone with a vagina. This is due to multiple factors, but primarily, there are two essential reasons: lack of reliable dimensional data recorded by medical professionals, and inaccurate representations of female genitalia of media.

It may come as no surprise to those working in the adult industry that female genitalia is not always accurately represented in mainstream or pornographic media. According to a study in women requesting labiaplasty, a disproportionately high amount of pornographic representations depict the appearance of the vulva as a smooth curve with no protruding labia minora. What many may not realize is this lack of accurate or complete representation is also perpetuated in medical textbooks. Despite dimensional data regarding male genitalia being available as early as 1899, there are shockingly few medically published anatomical recordings regarding female genital data.

The external form, as well as internal size, position and relationships to surrounding structures of the clitoris are all genital measurements which impact the fit of a sex toy for a user. To date, those measurements can be difficult to access, and unreliable to trust. So how do we get that information? Really, there is only one solution: user testing. Investing in thorough user testing can supplement the lack of dimensional data available on the front end, as well as provide insights into other aspects of product fit, form and function.

Conducting the user testing in a useful and practical manner is essential to sufficiently supplementing the lack of dimensional data. Several things should be considered based on the demographic of users included in the survey. One consideration that poses a potential issue, is that many people do not know their own anatomical information. Gathering useful data may largely depend on the brand’s ability to educate the user involved in testing on their own anatomy, as well as communicate the intended product use and the outcomes of interest they hope to better understand.

Another unique obstacle exists here in the sex toy realm unlike the mainstream consumer tech space. Designers may lack an understanding of anatomical data due to improper representation and availability of medical records, but from a user standpoint, this lack of representation can trigger feelings of shame, guilt or embarrassment if and when they feel that their genitals do not match an idealized version. This can lead to a hesitation to truthfully respond to surveys or questionnaires regarding their genital shape, size or form. One approach to mitigating this concern is by ensuring the users will remain anonymous, but it is also important to recognize realistically that this technique is not always effective due to the deeply rooted nature of sexual shame.

A product designer working in the sex toy industry must have the ability to understand the anonymous reports of product testers and translate them into solutions for product innovation. Recognizing the specific barriers present, and identifying methods of supplemental data collection and design solutions is essential to creating an innovative brand and product. Lack of dimensional data recorded through medical accounts, as well as biased representations in mainstream porn media, both contribute to the unique barriers present for designers innovating in the sex toy industry.

Through innovating in the field of sexual health and pleasure, we can actually help combat the barriers faced by designers in the field. High-level innovation in the field of sexual health and wellness has the power to destigmatize commonly inaccurate representations of human anatomy. By working alongside each other with this common goal, manufacturers have a huge opportunity to evolve existing representations of female genitalia — and ultimately — foster a new level of inclusivity for our consumers.

 

A Look at How Medical Bias, Misrepresentation Blocks Sexual Wellness Innovation By Avery Smith originally appeared in XBIZ

13 Ways to Switch Up Your Masturbation Routine

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Is your masturbation routine stuck in a rut? You’re gonna want to read this!

While studies have found that the majority of people do masturbate, sometimes we tend to get stuck in the same old routine. While nothing is wrong with having a masturbation routine, as human beings are creatures of habit, sometimes you need to spice things up. And, International Masturbation Month is the perfect time to take your masturbation game to new levels. Why? Because pleasure is a human right and you deserve to experience it in all its forms!

13 Ways to Switch Up Your Masturbation Routine

 

  1. Try a new position.

If you’re someone who tends to masturbate solely on your back or on your front, then flip. Masturbating on your back can feel really hot, as you lay there with your legs spread, but so can laying on your stomach, as you hump your way to orgasmic bliss.

Or, even better, get out of bed and try squatting or standing, or getting on all fours. There’s no right or wrong way to masturbate, and you might find that what you’ve become accustomed to isn’t exactly the best way for you—like, maybe you’ve actually been a legs-over-your-head masturbator this whole time, but you didn’t realize it until you gave it a try.

  1. Get to know your G-spot.

If you have a G-spot and have yet to locate it, stimulate it, or experience the pleasure it can bring to your masturbation routine, the time is now. Although most people with vulvas tend to rely on their clitoris for orgasms, once you start experimenting with your G-spot it can take things in a whole new direction.

Stimulating the G-spot can result in not just a vaginal orgasm, but can also lead to ejaculation. Yes! You can be one of those people who squirts! And, no, squirting is not urine. It may come from the urethra canal, as urine does, but it’s actually a clear liquid that can be released when the G-spot is stimulated for a certain amount of time. Granted, that “certain amount of time,” varies from body to body.

  1. Watch yourself in the mirror.

While this might conjure up that Broad City episode where Ilana props up a mirror above her so she can watch herself masturbate, there’s a reason why this is something worth trying: your genitals are awesome.

I once interviewed legendary sex educator, Betty Dodson, and this was a technique that she suggested because it really does give you a new perspective and watching your genitals respond to such stimulation is pretty hot.

  1. Explore edging.

Oh, edging! That’s exactly what you’ll be saying once you’ve given it a whirl and realized just how fantastic the impact it has on your orgasm. Edging is the practice of bringing yourself as close to orgasm as possible, then stopping. As in, a full STOP. Once the urge to climax has backed down, you do it again. And again. And as many times as you want.

Now, why would someone deny themselves over and over? Simple: it leads to stronger and, for some, even longer orgasms. Like any method of teasing, once you finally allow yourself to give in to pleasure, the experience is extra sweet.

  1. Use genital enhancing serums.

We’re lucky enough to live in a time when so options, in regards to pleasure, are at our pleasure. One such thing that will give your masturbation routine and orgasms an extra kick are genital enhancing serums.

Whilst there are many on the market, I prefer sticking to an organic, body-friendly CBD product. Should you live in a state where marijuana is legal, you can also get your hands on their THC arousal lube. Both are great for those who struggle to orgasm because it puts your genitals at ease, relaxing them, and making climax easier to reach.

  1. Watch porn.

If you’re a visual person, as in visual things tend to stimulate you more than fantasies alone, then try watching some porn. No matter your kink or fetish, there is porn out there for you.

If you’ve never watched porn, but are intrigued as to how it can enhance your masturbation routine, ethical pornographer, Erika Lust and her XConfessions series is definitely something to look in to. Again, Lust has something for everyone and has, most recently, released a new erotic film, “Sex and Love in the Time of Quarantine,” which is more than fitting at the moment.

  1. Try mutual masturbation.

Whether you live with your partner or have been sexting someone who just met on an app, awaiting the day that you can meet IRL, mutual masturbation is a great way to discover not just your body, but the body of the person with whom you’re enjoying it with.

In person, you can practice mutual masturbation side-by-side or by watching each other stimulate your own bodies. If the person you want to mutually masturbate with isn’t physically accessible at the moment, as this sheltering-in-place is still in effect, then Zoom or FaceTime work too. Throw in some dirty talk while you each get yourselves off, and you have a recipe for not just another form of intimacy, but another way to make masturbating even more exciting. 

  1. Use more than one toy a time.

In a world with so many sex toys to choose from, why would you masturbate with just one? If you’re someone who enjoys clitoral stimulation, as well as anal stimulation at the same time, combining a clitoral vibe with a vibrating butt plug, will have you singing Hallelujah in no time! 

  1. Read erotica.

If you’re not a visual type of person and prefer worlds to get you there, so to speak, then reading erotica while you masturbate is a perfect way to enhance your masturbation routine.

Although finding the right erotica might be a trial and error process, similar to porn, there’s something for everyone. Authors like Colette, the Marquis de Sade, and Anaïs Nin are classic erotica writers, but if you’re looking for more current writers, Elena Ferrante and Sierra Simone, among others, also have some pretty hot words out on the market.

  1. Seduce yourself.

Although some moments call for getting in and getting out when it comes to masturbation, it doesn’t always have to be that way. Instead, seduce yourself by putting on your favorite arousing songs, lighting some candles, and donning something that makes you feel sexy. You can make an evening of it. Especially this International Masturbation Month since we’re all stuck at home—you might as well take your time.

  1. Treat yourself to a new sex toy.

When was the last time you bought yourself a new sex toy? If you have to pause, look up, and think, then it’s been too long and you need to spice up your masturbation routine!

The best part about International Masturbation Month is that sex toy retailers will be celebrating too and are likely to have sales (cough, Le Wand, cough!) on selected items. So buy yourself that toy you’ve been eye-spying for months and put it to use. Variation is the spice of life and, frankly, you more than deserve a new toy this year.

  1. Use lube.

If you’ve never heard the term, “wetter is better,” then it’s time to get that thinking into your head. Whether you opt for a dildo to penetrate either your or your partner’s vagina or anus (prostate play, anyone?!) or prefer sticking to external toys that stimulate the vulva and clitoris, lube can make masturbation far more delectable.

The slippery smoothness of a water-based lube is exactly what your masturbation routine needs. Just be wary when purchasing lubes, as silicone-based ones don’t go well with silicone toys.

  1. Aim for other types of orgasms.

Fun fact: there’s more than one type of orgasm out there.

There are U-spot, G-spot, and A-spot orgasms among others! There are also people who can experience nipple orgasms and skin orgasms. And, of course, there are coveted multiple orgasms and blended orgasms. The latter involves experiencing an orgasm with both G-spot and clitoral stimulation at once.

Although it might seem, at first, that these might be difficult to achieve- practice, exploration, patience, and believing in yourself can get you there. The Little Engine That Could didn’t get over that mountain without a lot of determination and patience. But if she could do it, so can you!

 

When you realize there are so many other ways to experience pleasure, it not only takes your physical pleasure to new heights but opens your mind too.


 

13 Ways to Switch Up Your Masturbation Routine By Amanda Chatel originally appeared on Rumble & Buzz

 

 

 

 

 

Pleasure Myths We Want to Put to Bed

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Okay so in school we were taught math, science, reading, you know where I’m going.

Sex education, however, is something that doesn’t necessarily abide by a strictly mandated curriculum (until recently) that isn’t subjective based on country, state, city, etc. The point I’m trying to make is that we have all learned so many different things about our sexuality, many of which may not be true, particularly regarding the pleasure aspect. We’re here to bust some of these myths.

1 – Your vibrator will replace your lover and ruin all partners for you in the future.

Um no. Think of the two as completely separate entities. Vibrators are breakfast, some love chia pudding, some love eggs and bacon, the purpose is likely to fuel you for your day and all can SATISFY. Your lovahh is dinner, this one is more slow and lovely, you often have more time for dinner and enjoy it as well but in a different way because it meets a different kind of need. Both have the same end goal.

Note that you can have breakfast for dinner 😉 If you haven’t already, try bringing your vibrator into the bedroom to show your partner what you enjoy!

2 – Anal will be painful the first time.

Nahhh this doesn’t have to be that way! Some keys to remember are to USE LUBE, make sure you’re with someone you trust, get in a comfortable position (doggy, laying on your stomach, or laying on your side with your top leg slightly bent), and take it slow.

3 – Orgasms need to be vaginal.

Yes, the g-spot and the clitoris are the most common, but did you know that you can also orgasm anally, with your nipples, and from exercising your core? Things can get wild, what a great time to be alive! Be sure you’re getting to know yourself so you can better understand how your climax.

4 – I don’t need to worry about kegel exercises unless I have a baby.

Excuse me no DO YOUR KEGELS! Kegel exercises help relax the vagina, making penetration more comfortable. They might also improve vaginal lubrication, allow more blood to flow into the genitals, increase sexual arousal, and make it easier to reach orgasm.

5 – If you need a vibrator to orgasm, then there is something wrong with you.

Okay first and foremost nothin is wrong with you, ever, regarding anything. You are a complex human being and you are doing your best. Now for the vibrator – orgasm conundrum. First of all, like 40% of women have an orgasm via penis-vagina penetration “almost always” (Medical News Today), the numbers go down from there… You’re not alone and if you need a vibrator to get the job done then you need a vibrator! No shame in that. Take this time to learn about your body and how to teach your partner about your body. Incorporate your vibrator!

That’s it for now! We’ll keep an eye out for other myths to bust.


Pleasure Myths We Want to Put to Bed originally appeared on The Pleasure Center

 

3 Moms On Why Masturbation Still Matters As a Busy Parent

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We want to take some space to celebrate a part of life that often gets overlooked for moms — Self-pleasure.

We live in a culture that often de-sexualizes motherhood. Moms often feel pressured to appear 100% dedicated to their children with little room for their own multifaceted identities. And one massive part of being a human is your sexuality.

So what does it mean to be a mom and to be feeling yourself? There aren’t a ton of nuanced cultural models showing us the way here.

For some inspiration, Louise Head spoke to three moms:

  1. Jo, a wellness blogger and women’s life coach.
  2. Melissa, founder of Sex Positive Families.
  3. Jess, a queer, femme mother of two, about their relationship with motherhood and self-pleasure. Here’s what they have to say.

Why is masturbation vital to you as a busy mom?

Melissa: Masturbation is a huge stress reliever and natural way for me to relax. I wear many hats as an entrepreneur, parent, and partner. Masturbation allows me to spend time immersed in my pleasure and connection to my body.”

Jess: Masturbation helps me tap into the sensual woman in me that doesn’t get to come out and play very often these days.

Jo: A lot of women go through this feeling that I’m a mom now. I can’t pleasure myself. Or, all my pleasure belongs to my children, all my joy belongs to my children, and that mentality was always dangerous to me. One of the things I discovered about masturbation is that it’s something I can give back to myself. It’s a way of honoring my body, of acknowledging my joy. It’s a gift that I can give back to myself. As a busy mom, I deserve not only to feel good physically through fitness or eating well, I not only deserve to feel good through my family life or with my partner, but I also deserve to feel good physically in my body.

How has having kids changed your relationship to self-pleasure?

Jess: Having kids has made me more in tune with my body. My last child was born at home with midwives at my side. The whole experience changed how I feel pleasure because I know exactly where I’m feeling pleasure. Epidurals numb everything, so being able to feel all of my body and muscles contracting gave me a mental roadmap of my body that I can follow when masturbating. Now I know where all the hot spots are!

Melissa: My body has experienced pregnancy and childbirth twice in the last 21 years. As a result, the changes my body has encountered along the journey of parenting have at times led to lower libido, less confidence in my appearance, impacts to my mental health and physical pain related to body changes. Reconnecting with my body during these experiences hasn’t always been easy. I’ve had to be intentional about the time and attention I put toward my pleasure–sometimes related to sex and sexuality, other times focusing in on non-sexual experiences that bring me joy–and not feel guilty about the process. Raising kids and juggling the many other demands within life can sometimes feel in direct conflict with attention to self and pleasure, but I’ve been parenting long enough now to realize that if I’m not taking care of me first, nothing else and nobody else will be cared for. So it’s imperative that I prioritize my pleasure routinely.

We live in a culture that really de-sexualizes moms and often promotes mothers being selfless caregivers who can’t prioritize their own needs. How do you fight that cultural pressure?

Jo: Once you become a mom, there’s this idea that you can no longer be sexy. Birthing a child is technically physical trauma so as a mom you look at your body in a completely different way because of this trauma. Trauma is an event that changes your perception in the world — motherhood and the fact that your body is changing changes the way you see yourself. You no longer see yourself as this sexual creature. I don’t see women like myself with stretch marks or looser skin looking sexy. Magazines and the media don’t label them as hot so how am I supposed to connect with this idea that I can also be sexy?

For me, I think sexy means beautiful, confident, strong and knowing yourself. It doesn’t mean sex to me. It just means this energy of confidence in yourself when you walk into the room.

It took saying, “You know what media and social media? I’m so over this idea that as a mom, I can’t be myself, I can’t celebrate myself. If self-pleasure or stepping into your sexuality is a form of celebrating yourself then why the hell not? Why as a mom am I denied that?” And when I have to ask myself who is denying that [pleasure] from me, I was like, “Fuck that’s myself…I’m the one who hit that subscribe button, and I can unsubscribe to that narrative any time I want.”

Melissa: I’m a big believer that time is always available; it’s a matter of how we prioritize our time. This society does a good job of imposing shame on acts of self-pleasure and sexuality. It also can construct a lot of barriers and stressors that can move us further away from our bodies and our wellness. I remind myself of this regularly, so I don’t internalize shame or guilt if ever I feel too exhausted or out of touch from self-pleasure. I recenter myself by things like journaling, deep breathing and openly communicating what I’m feeling to my partner and those closest to me.

Now that you have kids, what tends to get in the way of masturbation?

Jess: My partner’s changing schedule and the daily grind of chores and general Mom business wears me out. Sometimes I’m just too tired. To make the time I try to schedule it for when I know I’ll be alone. Like in the shower, or while my partner is at work, she works nights, and make sure the kids go to bed on time.

Jo: Are you using it now to cope? That can be one of the things to look out for. There are days where I’m like, “Ah I’m so over today. I just want to masturbate all day long. I just want to make myself feel good. Don’t bother me.” So I think I have to self regulate sometimes and just ask myself, “Am I doing this because I’m pleasuring  myself or am I doing this because I’m trying to run from something?”

I think what can get us in the way of trying to connect with [pleasure] is thinking that our pleasure as a woman is designed for somebody else and is supposed to be given to somebody else and I think that can be dangerous. That messaging has to be reframed and rewritten.

What advice would you offer to other moms who are struggling to reconnect with masturbation and themselves as sexual beings?

Jess: My best advice is to take time for yourself. Especially the stay-at-home mom’s like me. It’s easy to get wrapped up in a routine. And it’s even easier to forget the woman under the Supermom identity. Take time to remember the beautiful things about yourself inside and out. And seduce yourself! Don’t be afraid to look in the mirror and tell yourself that you’re sexy and deserving of pleasure. Take a hot sensual bath with yummy smelling oils and lose yourself in the moment.

Melissa: I stay connected to sex-positive content and thought leaders like Afrosexology, Emily Nagoski, Erika Lust, and Jet Setting Jasmine, to name a few. Their content challenges me to prioritize my pleasure, stay connected to my body, address old traumas, and it stimulates my senses. I also raise my children in a sex-positive way, which means we’re equipping them with the knowledge and tools that help them understand bodies, consent, pleasure, sexuality, relationships and the world around them without shame or taboo.

Doing so can feel like a rebellious act in this culture, but it’s important that my children position themselves for healthy, satisfying sex lives, regardless of how they choose to pursue and express themselves into their futures. I also regularly incorporate small acts of self-love like writing affirmations to myself and affixing them to my bathroom mirror, relaxing naked after showers for as long as feels comfortable, consuming my favorite foods and drinks regularly, and keeping quality lube on hand.

There is no one way to claim your pleasure. If it feels good, that’s enough. It does not have to be justified, explained or approved by anyone else. Pleasure is your birthright. The more we pursue it as parents, unapologetically, the more effectively we are modeling our value and worth, which can give permission for the children we raise to do the same.

Jo: One of the first things I would say is that motherhood is just womanhood. There’s no need to separate the two. It’s part of a woman’s journey should she choose to embark on that road. Stop isolating yourself as “just a mom” thinking that other women won’t be able to relate, or see you or hold space for you as you talk about certain things.

[Also], I will tell [my kids], “Mom needs about fifteen in her room.” It’s the same as, “Mom needs to take a shower for 15 minutes. Mom needs to take a phone call for 15 minutes.” I think the more mothers can get comfortable with placing boundaries around their time and the more they can communicate that openly with their children, the more the children will be so accepting of it. And they don’t need to know what you’re doing behind closed doors.

After speaking with these insightful moms, it’s clear that culture sometimes pits motherhood against self-pleasure, making you feel as if you have to choose between the two. However, these women are finding creative ways to own their sexuality and integrate it as a beautiful piece of motherhood. For the moms who don’t get asked nearly enough about their own pleasure, how do you tap into that creativity? What really makes you feel sexy? How can you make a habit of saying no to guilt and shame when you need to put your pleasure first?

Maybe you can try out your new line, “Hey, mom needs 15 minutes,” and go have a little date with your fave toy and some lube.


3 Moms On Why Masturbation Still Matters As a Busy Parent originally appeared on Rumble & Buzz

A Look at the Pandemic’s Effect on Fantasies, Masturbation

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In the face of the pandemic, fantasies, sex toys and masturbation have become central to some people’s quarantined sex lives.

COVID-19 and the resulting quarantines have had a significant impact on sexual behavior and expression everywhere. To get a better sense of these changes, the World Association of Sex Coaches (WASC) teamed up with Sex Coach U and conducted a global survey between mid-April and early June this year, called, “WASC Global Survey on the Impact of COVID-19 on Sexual Behavior.” The findings from the almost 1,000 responses to the survey offer valuable insights to anyone working in any sex-related field.

Of most interest to those in the pleasure product industry are the answers to the questions pertaining to fantasies, masturbation and sex toys.

Fantasies

When we asked how often people were having sexual fantasies compared to before the onset of the pandemic, the results indicate a slightly higher incidence of fantasies. While 70 percent of respondents said their fantasies were “not at all pandemic-related or influenced,” it’s also interesting to note some of the other, less popular responses.

Almost 20 percent said their fantasies were offering an escape from the pandemic. One person said, “I have fantasies about meeting someone in the woods.” Someone else responded that the content of their fantasies hasn’t changed, but now “they involve me being out of the house and away from my child.” Another respondent reported, “I have limited options to realize my fantasies, but outdoor sex became more exciting.”

Many people are fantasizing about past loves, while others are focused on fantasies with partners they’re isolated separately from.

For partners who are quarantined separately, “sharing fantasies” was the third most popular way to stay erotically connected among our survey respondents (behind sexting and sending nude or semi-nude selfies to each other).

One of the self-identified polyamorous respondents said, “New sexual smut chats with friends have started — so creativity this way. Fantasy high. Actual interaction lower.”

When asked about the impact of social distancing on their sense of sexual self, their sexuality, or their sexual expression, one person said it has “brought about more curiosity and fantasy.” Another described a heightened need for “sexual experimentation and development.”

Sex Toys

Our survey did not go into a lot of detailed questions about sex toys, specifically, but they still showed up in respondents’ answers to other questions.

In relation to the question regarding the effect of the pandemic on one’s sexuality or sexual expression, one person shared in depth:

“It has given me time to drop deeper into practices such as the jade egg. I notice I am masturbating less to climax but doing more ‘self pleasure’ with my jade egg. We have been more creative with things that we do — for example, we have watched porn together, incorporated food, practiced Shibari, played with exercises from the Wheel of Consent, done 20 minute Tantric massages, blindfolded each other and played with making different sensations with objects.”

One couple appreciated the question that included app-controlled remote toys as an option, as they’ve been enjoying getting creative and hadn’t considered those before. They also said that during the quarantine, they’re “focused on quality and intimacy and super self care/love when we’re on our own.”

Almost 5 percent of respondents reported they and their partners were playing with app-controlled toys. This may indicate an opportunity to market this type of product.

There has also been an increased interest in or curiosity about BDSM, so this may represent another area for which pleasure product retailers could fill a need.

Masturbation

So many people are quarantined apart from one or more of their partners, or were single when the pandemic began. Among those who participated in our survey, almost 20 percent indicated they were quarantined apart, but could still visit periodically. A little over 16 percent said they were quarantined separately and could not visit one another. Around 18 percent of respondents did not have a sexual partner at the time of the survey.

Fewer people seem to be masturbating, and orgasm during masturbation seems to be more elusive during this time period.

But many others are taking advantage of the enforced isolation to enhance their sexuality, often through self-pleasure activities.

One person said they’re enjoying the “time away from work to explore my sexuality. I have orgasmed so much more during this time. I’m more present during sex too because I’m not rushing from one thing to the next.”

Someone else remarked, “I’ve been enjoying myself more thoroughly and exploring ways of pleasuring and loving myself.” Another respondent wrote, “My imagination has been of great help! I have experienced more solo time to play like when I was single and that’s nice.”

Some people are enjoying masturbation, but understandably are still missing partnered sex. One individual reported, “I have time to learn and appreciate my body but I do miss the affection from my boyfriend. Hand play with myself is not the same as my boyfriend’s.”

One respondent wished there would be more emphasis on normalizing masturbation, and not just during quarantine.

People Need More Self-Love Products & Information

Finally, we asked what people felt they needed right now from the global community of sexual health and wellness professionals, and here is a sampling of their answers:

  • “More content on individual sex”
  • “I think an emphasis on how to create/find sensuality without a partner would be strategic and helpful. I think information about self-pleasure/soothing can also be helpful (e.g., materials, strategies, etc). I also think porn literacy might be helpful for folks.”
  • “Solo time, self massage, auto eroticism“
  • “Tips on connecting non-physically”
  • “Additional toy options, podcasts”
  • “Advice on ways to connect sexually outside of ‘traditional sex.’”
  • “Ideas or guidance for how to approach dating when physical contact is not allowed”
  • “More sex toys … where I live there’s no free giveaways and I’m really broke ahah … and more discussion about being single and coping with your sexuality during the confinement! It’s annoying, on a lot of websites or pages they only give advice to couples to ‘spice it up’ with toys or cope with being confined together. But what about having to spice it up with yourself? And not being able to flirt IRL? Have sex?”
  • “For sex shops to open.”
  • “A new toy. I want a clit pumper”
  • “More information on virtual or ‘distance’ sex technologies”
  • “Ways/techniques/tools on how to maintain intimacy when physical distancing and how to use technology to help with sexual intimacy. Resources for community support and sharing online re: sexual wellness (forums, safe spaces for erotic practices, online courses in sex topics, etc.)”
  • “Quieter vibrators”

Many state governments and health departments are offering advice for having sex safely and they’re recommending people engage in solo sex or virtual sex whenever possible, instead of in-person partnered sex, in order to reduce their risk of contracting or passing the COVID-19 virus. This means more people are likely to reach for a pleasure product to meet their erotic needs.

There is so much opportunity right now for pleasure product retailers and other sexuality professionals to offer their assistance to consumers who are searching for ways to stay erotically alive and connected.

A Look at the Pandemic’s Effect on Fantasies, Masturbation by Dr. Patti Britton originally appeared in XBIZ

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

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