8 Masturbation Techniques Your Vulva Needs Right Now!

Sex date with yourself? Yes, please! No one knows your body like you, and that can make masturbation one of the most intimate and stimulating acts you can do with yourself.

Masturbation Benefits

Masturbation goes beyond orgasm by being an important act for self-exploration and body confidence and provides many benefits:

  • Relaxation and better sleep

Masturbation releases feel-good hormones like endorphins and oxytocin, which can lead to decreased stress levels and help you fall asleep faster.

  • Increased sexual confidence

Solo sex can lead to better partnered sex because you develop an understanding and appreciation of your body during masturbation and experiment with what might feel good on your partner as well.

  • Learning how to orgasm

Masturbation helps you tune into changes in arousal and discover techniques and hot spots that bring you pleasure as well as an opportunity for erotic and fantasy exploration.

  • Soothing menstrual pain

Masturbation releases the body’s natural pain killer chemicals that can help reduce the intensity of period cramps.

Masturbation Types

Just as there are many different ways to stimulate your body, there are many different ways for your body to react. Your body is capable of different types of orgasms depending on how you stimulate and explore your body and mind.

So, it’s important to know the various kinds of orgasms your body can have before settling on a technique:

  • Clitoral orgasms

The clitoris is like your personal shrine to nerve endings. Engaging with the clitoris can create pleasure bursts during different types of orgasms, but can also be stimulated directly for its own specific orgasm. This type of orgasm feels like a build-up followed by a tantalizing burst of pleasure.

  • G-Spot/Vaginal orgasms

The G-spot (or Gräfenberg spot) is not so much a specific organ or “spot” but an entire area of pleasure internalized within the clitoral system.

There is no “one spot fits all clitoris” map of where the G-spot is, so it is best to discover yours through personal exploration. Using fingers or a curved sex toy can generally find and stimulate the G-spot with a “come hither” motion within the first few inches of your vaginal canal, as it located more towards the pelvis than the back.

G-spot orgasms are often described as a deeper, full-body kind of pleasure that may build up with a feeling similar to when you have to pee. You may even experience squirting with G-spot orgasms.

  • Blended Orgasms

Erotic stimulation to multiple spots, for example, the clitoris and the G-spot, may lead to a combo of orgasms (AKA a blended orgasm) that can feel like they are a full-body response.

  • Anal Orgasms

The anus is full of nerve endings that can be stimulated (with or without anal penetration) using fingers or sex toys like butt plugs. The sensation is much more prominent with prostate owners by using prostate sex toys, but vagina owners can also find pleasure by activating their “A-spot” (or anterior fornix erogenous zone) which is located between the bladder and cervix. While it is located within the vagina, the A-spot is generally deeper than the G-spot and requires stimulation from behind (pun intended) to reach it. This orgasm can also be blended by double penetration, flanking the G-spot and A-spot simultaneously.

Best Masturbation Techniques

Beyond just knowing where your erogenous zones are is how to stimulate them in a way to reach orgasm, which, if you want to get the best orgasms (and have the most fun) requires more than just touching one spot.

Here are 8 amazing masturbation techniques for your vulva:

  1. Layer your pleasure

Increasing sensation in layers can encourage erogenous zones to fully arouse and be more receptive to stimulation.

Try layering with underwear on, and rubbing or stroking through clothing. Clitoral hoods, labia, and foreskin can act as layers too.

  1. Try edging

Edging is a technique that can help you gain greater awareness over your arousal build up and help you have multiple orgasms. Try masturbating to the point just before orgasm, slowing stimulation down, and repeating to create a build-up of pleasure.

  1. Explore dual-stimulation

Explore stimulating more than one erogenous zone at a time with dual vibrators, nipple clamps, and butt plugs.

  1. Use all of your senses

Activating your other sensory organs like the tongue and ears can greatly add to your orgasmic sensation. Moaning, verbalizing, taking long deep breaths, and tasting your own arousal fluids can all impact and extend your sensations and extend post-orgasmic pleasure. You can even utilize a mirror to enhance visual stimulation and improve body confidence.

  1. Warm up the vulva

Cup the vulva with your hand and squeeze, massage, or shake it.

Try rubbing with your hands or using a strong vibrator on the mons pubis (the mound above the clit) with increasing pressure to warm up the area.

  1. Approach the clit indirectly

Rub the clitoris through the clitoral hood or use your fingers or a vibrator around the sides of the clitoris in circles hovering near the clit but not directly on it.

Try making your fingers into a “V”, use some lube and explore rubbing the sides of the clit up and down experimenting with what pressure, speed, or even squeezes feel good.

  1. Play with penetration

Warm up to vaginal insertions by playing with the clitoris, then use lube on toys or your fingers to stimulate the vagina.

Start with a lubed up finger inserted about 1-2 inches inside the vagina. Curl your finger in a come hither motion towards the belly button. G-spots like firm and consistent pressure, so instead of thrusting with fingers, try wiping side to side or making circles with your fingers.

  1. Grind into your sex toys

Hold your sex toy still and hump it or gyrate your hips into it. Engaging the rest of your pelvis in masturbation can feel really sexy and generate more blood flow and arousal to your pelvis.

Masturbation Techniques for Penis-Owners

Penis-owners can also try switching up positions and masturbating with a partner. For even more penis self-pleasure, try these techniques:

  1. Try a vibrator

Pressing vibrators against the perineum can give stimulation to the prostate without anal penetration. Explore vibrators on the frenulum (the spot right under the head of the penis), the shaft, or the testicles.

  1. Combine penis and anal pleasure

Using a butt plug or a prostate sex toy while stroking your penis can provide a sense of fullness and stimulation to all the nerve endings of the anus.

  1. Play with edging

Use lots of lube and stroke to the point just before orgasm, then squeeze just under the head of the penis to stop ejaculation. This will take time to learn for penis-owners because ejaculation and orgasm happen seconds apart.

Masturbation is Self-Care

Masturbation helps us develop our own erotic relationships to ourselves, in addition to the ones we have with others. The more you know about your pleasure and your body, the better you can communicate with your partners – get to know more of you by doing you!

8 Masturbation Techniques Your Vulva Needs Right Now! Originally appeared on Rumble & Buzz

Masturbation Mythbusting: Why It’s Important to Switch Up Your Sex Positions

Solo sex is an integral part of any sexual identity for a number of reasons. The sex we have with ourselves is the most important sexual relationship we will ever cultivate in our lives. Don’t believe me? Let’s look at some of the reasons why we masturbate.

Solo sex has a variety of benefits including: better sleep, shorter and less painful periods (for vagina owners), increased confidence and self-image, relief of stress and sexual tension, better sex with your partner, higher overall sex drive, and it can help you relax and in general, boost your mood. Wow!

After reading all of that, it seems silly to think that we could ever feel guilty about touching ourselves when masturbation is clearly a tool of self-care. So let’s dive into some of the most common myths about masturbation and how to find a new Unicorn position (or three!) for yourself.

Myth #1: Masturbation is selfish, and being selfish is inherently bad.

Masturbation is selfish in the sense that it’s something that’s totally and completely for yourself. But that isn’t a bad thing! If we peel back another layer and dive a little deeper from a holistic point of view, we can begin to see how solo sex is also a tool of self-love.

Masturbation is a wonderful and intimate way to reconnect with our bodies. We live in a world where body and mind generally seem to be divorced. Creating intentional space to devote to exploring our bodies and discovering where and how we derive pleasure is a sacred form of self-expression. Devoting time to our personal pleasure is a radical act of honoring our need to slow down and immerse ourselves in the present. In this form, masturbation is a grounding exercise.

Myth #2: Masturbation is just masturbation.

There are many benefits to solo sex beyond self-pleasure. Another valuable aspect of solo sex is that it can help us better understand our wants and needs. Being able to identify and communicate our wants and needs is a crucial element to any successful relationship, including the relationship we have with ourselves. How do we go about identifying these things? Patience, practice, consent, and compassion. Start by identifying your desires and holding space for them without judgment. It takes time to understand our bodies and how they operate. By being gentle, we take the pressure to perform off of ourselves and make our bodies more available to pleasure.

So often in solo sex, the sole intention of a session is to achieve orgasm. Most of us want to bust a nut and pass out after a long day, thus masturbation becomes a means to an end. When we remove the mindfulness from masturbation it becomes, in a sense, impersonal; more of an obligation than a practice in pleasure. Our instant gratification society conditions us to become impatient at anything that takes longer than 30 seconds. This is why, for some of us, masturbating can be frustrating if we have difficulties connecting with our bodies. Unfulfilled expectations of a quick and easy orgasm leave us feeling even more detached from ourselves, eager to fill the void.

Myth #3: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Because of these sexual anxieties, it’s understandable that when we find a routine that works (works meaning it feels good and leads to climax) that we choose to stick with it. As the saying goes, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” As people, we are innately creatures of habit, but is that necessarily a good thing when it comes to solo sex? If the perspective we have of masturbation is as a means to an end, we might be satisfied in the immediate present, but it could potentially affect the future of our personal pleasure. Here’s why it’s important to switch up our sexual routines.

Masturbating in the same position with the same toy or in the same manner can routinely condition our bodies to only receive pleasure in that specific way. This can lead to a certain level of desensitization, making it harder and take longer to achieve orgasm, which can put a strain on personal and partnered sex and limit our pleasure potential.

To have a better understanding of our pleasure potential, it’s important to take time to experiment with various toys, strokes, pressures, and positions. This will give us more information about our sexuality and how we receive pleasure. Our sexuality and our bodies are dynamic and change over time. Switching up positions and keeping our solo sex routine fresh will ensure we are connected and aligned with our pleasure potential in the present and future. The more open we are to receiving pleasure, the more pleasure will be integrated into our lives!

Switch up your solo sex positions!

Here are some fun positions to explore in your masturbation routine:

  1. On Your Back

This is a popular position for most folks because our genitals are easily accessible from this position, but if this is your go-to, challenge yourself to try something new. Spreading your legs wide in this position will open your body up to receive more pleasure. Also, moving your hips up and down (or in a circular position) will heighten sensitivity.

  1. On Your Front

If you are a fan of grinding, this is the position for you! In this position, you are lying face down and humping your hand, a pillow, the mattress, or your favorite toy. On Your Front is great for people who enjoy pressure on their clitoris. You can generate pleasure in this position fully nude or with your panties on for added friction and heightened stimulation.

  1. On Your Knees

Where are my doggy-style enthusiasts at? On Your Knees is a table-top position that is fabulous for clit stimulation. Like in most of these positions, humping motions are recommended. Also, if you’re into butt plugs (plugs, beads, vibrators, or any form of insertion), you’ll want to give this a try. The angle of doggy-style makes access to your bum ideal for anal stimulation. It also allows for full control over how deep you want your penetration to go.

  1. The Assisted Lover

This position takes the classic On Your Back to the next level by focusing on G-spot stimulation. You can achieve this in a couple of ways. First, while lying down on your back, put a stack of pillows or a pillow wedge under the small of your back to elevate your groin (think p*ssy pointing at the ceiling). Second, sit up on your tushie and put a stack of pillows or the wedge behind you to recline on.

Reclining and lifted positions are great for g-spot stimulation and make self-penetration easy, pleasurable, and fun.

  1. Mirror, Mirror

This position really turns it on! What’s sexier than watching yourself get off. Utilizing a mirror in any position that feels most comfortable to you — and allows you to soak in your pleasure — is what this position is about. Watching yourself in a mirror gives you pleasure feedback in real-time, allowing you to see what pressures and strokes feel best for you. Mirror, Mirror is also great for building sexual confidence!

  1. Stallion Squat

Naming this one after Megan Thee Stallion because she has the strongest knees in the game and is exactly what you should be channeling in this position.

The Stallion Squat is for folks who love deep penetration. Using a suction cup dildo and lube (and the strength of your knees and legs), lower yourself onto the dildo to penetrate your deepest erogenous zones. If your knee game isn’t up to par, use a chair or a wall to assist you. Your comfort, as always, is a priority!

  1. Lotus Butterfly

Perhaps after giving the Stallion Squat a try, you might want to relax into the Lotus position.

Sitting upright while spreading your legs, this position offers heightened clitoral stimulation and creates tension in your pelvic muscle, which can lead to stronger, more intense orgasms. If you really want to take things to the next level, try adding breathwork to this sexual meditation.

  1. Wet N Wild

Some of you may be familiar with solo sex in the bath or shower. You can achieve this by running bath water over your clitoris or, if you’re lunch enough to have a detachable showerhead, standing and directing the stream of your nozzle head over the same area. One of my favorite things about this position is that it gets you out of the bedroom and into a space in which you might not normally masturbate. Sometimes, just getting out of the bedroom and masturbating in another safe and discreet location is enough to make your body feel alive again! Get creative in your apartment, but be mindful if you have roommates.

 

Masturbation Mythbusting: Why It’s Important to Switch Up Your Sex Positions by Shelby Sells originally appeared on Rumble & Buzz

Masturbation Mythbusting: Solo Sex & Social Distancing

 

We’ve all been discovering ourselves a bit more often than normal this past year, but can too much solo sex ruin your next in-person encounter? LMFT Shadeen Francis breaks down a Q&A on socially distant solo sex in this edition of Masturbation Mythbusting.

Myth 1: Long-distance sex is less intimate than in person.

Q: I am socially distanced from my partner but we want to still be sexual with each other. I don’t know if we can still connect. I have heard of sexting and stuff but I’m not really sure how. I don’t know if it’ll feel like intimacy if we are just sending pictures and touching ourselves.

A: I know it’s not the same, but connection while socially distanced is not impossible! The research on dating during the pandemic is actually showing that separation has made people more intentional about dating: they are spending more high-quality quality-time with one another, are having deeper and emotional conversations, and are finding ways to be more creative on dates. So there is hope!

Technology is a tool, and we can use it to help us overcome barriers to connection. Let’s start with getting some clarity on “intimacy” between you and your partner. What feels like an intimate connection to you?

Is it seeing each other’s faces? Then you might try being sexual on a secure video platform. Does hearing their voice feel most intimate for you? Think about exchanging lust-filled voice notes or having sex dates over the phone. Do their words really inspire you? Try writing erotic letters or sensual emails. You might also explore Bluetooth controlled sex toys for some long-distance sexual touch! There is a lot of room to get creative, but it starts by thinking about what you need.

Myth 2: Too much solo sex can ruin partnered sex.

Q: I love having all this time for solo sex but worry about when it’s time to date again. What if nobody feels as good as my vibrator? Have I ruined myself for future lovers? Should I just skip the dating scene and marry my toys now?

A: You can go ahead and cancel that reception – it is a widespread myth that vibrating sex toys desensitize your vulvas to partners. Although human bodies can rarely imitate the speed, intensity, or consistency of sex toys, masturbation does not put your partnered sex at risk. On the contrary, it most often helps people better understand what arouses them and what feels good on their bodies.

Be sure to share what you learn with your future partners. Whether it is a tour of your toy collection or a sexy game of Simon says, it is important that you help your partners understand what you enjoy. We are ultimately responsible for our pleasure, but it is always nice to have some helping hands! And if you’ve already committed to marrying your vibrator, consider making your partnered sexual experiences a 3-way and include your favorite toy in the action!

Myth 3: You have to have solo sex to be a sexual person.

Q: I think I am asexual and like sex but what if I don’t really enjoy masturbation? It feels good and I’m not ashamed I just don’t really like it. Am I just not actually sex-positive?

A: Then don’t do it! My belief is that sex is always about pleasure, and that includes solo sex. If masturbating does not feel or sound pleasurable to you, that is okay. You absolutely do not have to masturbate to be a sexual person, nor do you have to touch yourself to feel pleasure.

Being sex-positive is about respect for the diversity of sexual identities and genders, honoring people’s boundaries, and supporting everyone’s freedom to make informed choices about their sexual lives. Sex positivity doesn’t mean any kind of sex is necessary! Think about what would feel good to you and protect intentional, uninterrupted time for that. It could be a good meal, a long walk, a favorite movie, an art project — whatever you choose, if you can do it without shame or harm to yourself or others, it is perfect.

Masturbation Mythbusting: Solo Sex & Social Distancing by Shadeen Francis originally appeared on Rumble & Buzz

Masturbation Pleasure in Every Room

It’s time to focus on what gets you off with pleasure for the body and mind in your sex space.

What do I mean by sex space? Simply put, it’s the space where you typically prefer to have sex in your home. You know, the boom-boom room, the nookie corner, or simply put- your playroom.

I recently moved to Detroit aka “The D”, to a new apartment with lots of space. Frankly, that means there’s a lot of sex space that I need to christen. For the most part, in my solo sexual experiences, I’ve always considered the bedroom to be the epicenter of play. A little warm-up in the shower, or maybe a hot sex scene in a film gets me going. Then I head straight to the bedroom!

So, I’ve been exploring new ways to bring my toys and play outside the bedroom and I’ve been enjoying the opportunities each room has to offer.

Living Room

Obviously, there’s space to make anything go in the living room. From wands to butt plugs to pussy pumps, sex machines, strokers, and more, the living room has been my warmup space for pleasure-making since my first place. However, I noticed that there are often missing essentials needed in the living room. I mean, there’s always the standard pleasure accessories needed, right?! Lube, toy cleaner, and a towel for quick clean up are always a part of my experience.

My go-to pleasure tools will have to be chosen in the moment, depending on what mood I’m feeling. So, if you can, a small drawer or secret stash with a few toys (small and large)- and those previously mentioned pleasure accessories- are clutch to have in your living room.

Bathroom

Playing in the shower is power!

Make sure to bring lube into the shower ya’ll! I know some of yous (with my Philly accent) are saying water is enough to create the moisture that I need. Incorrect, my friend.

Your shower water simply cannot act as lubrication for your body. Body wash, soap, or hair conditioner can cause irritation leading to yeast or bacterial infections, UTIs, or unwanted dryness. So lube, lube, lube.

If you’re not playing with a silicone pleasure tool (silicone lube is not compatible with a silicone toy!), use silicone lube for the shower. It will reduce friction and irritation during your play. Silicone lube will stay on your body even in the shower, making it ideal for sex in the shower. Plus, it cleans off fast with soap and water. Just make sure you clean the shower surfaces afterward since this lube is ultra-slippery.

Office

Ever since the pandemic, my home office has been my mecca for educating folks all over the world! This is my new normal, Dolly Parton’s 9 to 5, Zoom meeting professional style that I’ve had to adapt to, hard core. Yet, there are some things that were needed to establish a work-life balance.

One strong essential to that balance was to implement breaks in between my daily routines. And yes, that break can sometimes include a masturbation session. Believe me friends, a daily mid-dose of masturbation equals rejuvenation and serotonin released.

Kitchen

Although the kitchen can be questionable and seldomly used as a sexual playground, there are a few erotic game moves that can be enjoyed, especially with the use of sex toys.

Few things to consider, lube comes in many varieties, and adding lube is a totally a plus. Enter the ultimate kitchen cabinet lube- coconut oil. This edible and natural personal lubricant absorbs into the body with its moisturizing properties. Plus, it’s beneficial for the skin. Just make sure to separate your cooking oil from your personal lube!

Your selection of toy play is endless. Hell, you can ride a sex machine with the door opened sucking on a popsicle on a hot day. Or have a palm-sized vibe in your underwear, sitting on a chair, while eating ice cream, your favorite cereal, or whatever your vulva and taste buds desire!

Add a little fun game to mix. Try to masturbate before your timer on your microwave or toaster oven finishes cooking your upcoming meal. Not only can you increase your libido multiple times, but you also enjoy beating your record over and over again! Huzzah!

Wherever you decide to create a new sex space, make sure you enjoy it more than once. It takes us a few times to get adjusted to playing in a new scene, so have patience and remember that novelty adds fun to your solo and partnered sex.

Quick tip for roommates, privacy is key. So, feel free to stuff a towel or blanket at the bottom of your closed door to help soundproof your sex space.

…And if you live in an apartment, consider toys that might be a little quieter from your collection, unless you’re happy to share your sexcapades with your neighbors! LOL!

Masturbation Pleasure in Every Room by Tracy Felder originally appeared on Rumble & Buzz

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

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

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