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

3 Moms On Why Masturbation Still Matters As a Busy Parent


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

Understanding and Embracing the Aging, Female Consumer


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

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

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

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

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

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

Understanding and Embracing the Aging, Female Consumer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Menopause and Painful Sex

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

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

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

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

Intimate CBD Products for Decreasing Pain and Increasing Pleasure

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CBD: Reinventing the Wheel for Sexual Pain Sufferers

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Love Your Labia – Why Your Private Parts Are Perfect Just the Way They Are



Femmes today are surrounded with messages of empowerment and encouragement from all sides, and when someone tries to stop us from spreading the gospel of self-power, there’s an army waiting on Twitter to come to our defense. It’s about time that gender equality became the #1 social media trend!

But for every body-positive Instagrammer, there’s a negative beauty fad lurking in plain sight, just waiting to tear down our self-confidence. One of those nasty trends is labiaplasty – plastic surgery for a super important part of your vulva – the labia.

Getting to Know the Female Anatomy

JIC you’re not aware, the vulva comprises the entirety of your external sex organs: the clitoris, clitoral hood, urethral opening, and labia.

In humans, there are two pairs of labia: the labia majora (or the outer labia) which are larger and fattier, while the labia minora are folds of skin between the outer labia.

The two types of labia – probably better known as the “vagina lips” when you’re talking to your girls – help protect the sensitive vaginal opening and clitoral area while also providing an awesome amount of pleasure potential during sex.

What is Labiaplasty?

Generally, a labiaplasty usually involves altering the inner labia, which are those “curtain” like flaps of skin that lead directly into your vagina.

Some labia are tiny, barely-there labia that are almost completely hidden by the outer labia, while others have longer, inner labia that extend down far enough to be seen outside the outer labia. Many inner labia are even different sizes, with one side hanging lower than the other.

In short, labia are a bit like boobs. It’s extremely rare that both sides are ever perfectly even, and there are so many variations and varieties that it’s impossible to describe them all. Rest assured, regardless of the length, your labia are perfect- exactly the way they are.

Unfortunately, your precious labia are also the target of the plastic surgery industry, which is trying to convince us that if our inner labia aren’t pink, tiny, and even, it’s time to go under the knife — yikes!

Here’s what we think about that- We think your beautiful, unique, and pleasure-giving inner lips are perfect just as they are — like the rest of your gorgeous body parts and we’ve gathered some fantastic reasons why you should always give plastic surgeons the snub in lieu of learning the language of labia love.

  1. Pink or Brown, Big or Small — They’re Natural, so Love Them All

To quote feminist hero Lady Gaga – “Baby, you were born this way!” Whatever your vulva and labia look like right this very moment, at whatever age and stage of life you may be, is exactly how they’re supposed to look.

Grab a mirror and perform a sensual inspection of your vulva. Notice the different colors and textures that change as you move from your outer labia up to your clitoral hood and then down to your inner labia and perineum.

Get acquainted with all your folds, and realize that you’re looking at a functional body part that was created to serve one of the most important events in the universe: to provide pleasure and create life. That’s sheer and utter POWER!


  1. Don’t Take Porn Star Bodies at Face Value

Looking to mainstream porn stars for sexual beauty inspo is like expecting to find a reachable workout goal by attending a high-fashion runway show. What you see in media, advertising, and even porn isn’t real — it’s a visual fantasy.

Porn stars often bleach their genitals, turning normally brown or dark red b-holes and vulvas a lighter shade. They also tend to remove body hair, and some even shell out thousands for labiaplasty, breast enhancements, and cosmetic fillers for larger lips and defined cheekbones.

While we respect every woman’s decision to transform herself into an image of beauty that appeals to her tastes, be sure to do some serious thinking before you consult a surgeon. Many women remove facial fillers and breast implants years down the line, but you can never grow your labia back.


  1. Labiaplasty is Permanent

Beauty trends that empower women to have fun playing with their look without any underhanded body-shaming are tons of fun.

Want to micro-blade your brows for some dramatic eyes? Go for it! Love multi-colored mermaid hair? Sounds like a gorgeous trip to the salon to us! Digging today’s pin-up-pretty make-up with vibrant red lips and huge fake lashes? Babe, we know you’re gonna kill it!

The difference between a trip to a make-up artist or a hair salon and an appointment with a labiaplasty surgeon is this: a dye job or pro make-up are meant to enhance what you already have in the name of fun. When you’re done playing grown-up dress up, make-up washes off and hair dye washes out.

Labiaplasty permanently changes a part of your body that’s uniquely you and sacred. You were given a beautiful vulva at birth, and once you alter that part of yourself, there’s no going back.

  1. Your Labia Contributes to Sexual Pleasure

If you’re still struggling to love the labia you see in the mirror, pay extra attention to those inner lips the next time you have sex or pleasure yourself.

Your labia is full of sensitive nerve endings that can mean the difference between a run-of-the-mill orgasm (which is, no doubt, still pretty great) and a mind-melting climax that encompasses your entire pleasure zone. In fact, some women need labia stimulation to come!

Using a bit of lube and your fingers, stroke your labia and notice how they become engorged and arouse as you stimulation them. Tease yourself by taking a few minutes to touch only your labia — fingers off your clit for now! Then do the same with your favorite vibrator, using it to tenderly touch your inner lips, moving from the base of your vulva to where your lips meet the clitoral hood. As you near orgasm, keep your labia in the game and those explosive feelings of pleasure will radiate throughout your entire vulva.

Once you realize the orgasmic potential of these extra-special sensual parts, you’ll never dream of changing them again. After all, who wants to cut their pleasure short?

Love Your Labia – Why Your Private Parts Are Perfect Just the Way They Are originally appeared on Rumble & Buzz

How to Feel Good Naked



Listen, we’ve all been there. You’re standing naked in front of a mirror and you think to yourself, “Ugh, WTF!” It’s a really shitty feeling…I know. But let me tell you this – if you think feeling good naked is about how your body physically looks, you are dead WRONG. Feeling sexy when you’re naked is all about how you feel about yourself on the inside, not what your body looks like.

Nike has a motto that says, “If you have a body, you’re an athlete.” Damn, I love that. Think about it like this…If you have a body, it already IS sexy.  That’s all there is to it! And it’s all up to you and how you think of yourself. You have a body, it’s beautiful, and you should be able to feel sexy, strong and attractive when you strip everything off and stand there naked in front of that mirror. It’s all about mindset and it really doesn’t matter if you are a supermodel, either, because they can feel just as insecure.

So just in case you’re having one of those “ugh” kinda days, keep the following tips in mind about how to feel SEXY AS HELL when you’re naked, whether you’re standing in front of a mirror by yourself or stripping down for a hookup sesh with a partner.

Your opinion is the only one that matters.

Body shaming is so common today, and it’s such bullshit! Screw a “societal expectation” that a hot body should be skinny, tall and perfectly hairless in the “right” places to be considered beautiful. What does that even mean?? Who decides what a “societal expectation” is, anyway? Focus on YOUR expectations, and what YOU think is beautiful and sexy. In relationships, everyone likes different things, and if you live your life trying to impress all of your partners, you will never be truly satisfied because everyone has their own perception of what is sexy. Set your own expectations for yourself – for your health, for happiness, for your pleasure. Let yourself be the only one who controls your happiness and satisfaction. And that confidence, my friends?  Now THAT is sexy.

Confidence is key.

Let me tell you a little something about confidence; it is a powerful quality to have. When it comes to being naked and having sex, confidence is way more attractive to me than what my partner’s body looks like. Sexual confidence, however, is something that can be hard for people to achieve, especially if you haven’t had many partners.  Masturbating and using sex toys can be a fabulous way to determine what you like and don’t like, what it takes for you to orgasm, and ultimately increase your sexual confidence in the bedroom — or shower, or kitchen counter — whatever floats your boat!

Take care of your body.

Taking care of your body is about way more than just the number on your scale. Self-care is SO important for overall happiness and how you feel. So, spoil yourself! I spoil myself rotten when it comes to self-care (I love a good long massage). Believe me, self-care goes a long way when it comes to your attitude and confidence. Get enough rest, drink a lot of water, get a manicure, go on a walk, take care of your skin – you deserve it! When you feel good and taken care of by you, it’s easier to be happy with your overall physique.

Focus on what you do have, not what you don’t have. 

Some girls have little boobs. Others have big butts and some have long legs. Some guys have smaller cocks. Others have tons of body hair and some have a flat butt. Remember, those physical aspects aren’t what makes you, YOU!  So, flaunt what you have, big or small, tall or short, and make yourself feel damn good about that. Own what you have and work it! Hell, twerk it even!

Communication is important.

If you still feel insecure with your body, try this. Open up and talk about your physical insecurities and fears with your partner. You may be surprised!

Feeling insecure is very normal, but most of the time insecurities are more about speculation. They stem from what you THINK someone wants your body to look like, not how they actually think or feel. If you let your partner know what you’re insecure about, they will probably reassure you that you’re perfect just the way you are. Speculation leads to anxiety, and communication is one of the best ways to make everything better and let you feel comfortable in your own body.

So, next time you get naked, take a deep breath, relax and tell yourself, “Damn, I look FINE!”

How to Feel Good Naked Miranda Buzzlove originally appeared on CalExotics.com

The Importance of Self-Care for Professionals


It’s been amazing to see the resiliency at every level of our industry. Stores and distributors have had to quickly close their doors to weather out the storm, with employees being furloughed until they are able to re-open. Some can stay open by carrying essential items like medical devices such as hand sanitizer or lubricants. Stores that can stay open are having to host customers with extensive social distancing and sanitizing measures. Some manufacturers have been able to quickly modify their production to incorporate hand sanitizers to fill the giant void mass-market production has left on store shelves across the country. I don’t think my family has ever been prouder of me than when I was able to tell them that hand sanitizer was on the way! Both manufacturers and retailers are working tirelessly and in tandem to ensure that we not only preserve our industry but continue to bring incredibly important wellness items to the end consumer.

With people being at home full-time, self-love and promoting self-love is becoming more important than it has ever been. It frustrates me to see the social media memes shaming and insisting people not cut or color their own hair for example. I know that these memes and content are meant for fun and cosmetologists may not look forward to color correcting, but to me they are missing the big picture. We need to encourage people to take care of themselves, to love themselves more than ever, and most importantly practice self-forgiveness when we feel scared or anxious.

In my mind our industry sets the example of what self-love looks like, primarily through branding and marketing content. We use imagery to show how our products will make someone look and feel desirable, that they are wanted. We show products that will make us feel strong and powerful, give us confidence and skills as lovers or partners. We continually create couples’ products to keep intimacy alive and sexual relationships healthy and fun. These are all super important and integral parts to adult business, but they stray a bit from what matters most. Self love.

The #selflove hashtag on Instagram currently has 40.3 million tags to give you an idea of how many people are talking about it. I agree that self-love can be a bit of a catch-all phrase, and gimmicky when used in poor taste. Self-love and self-loving campaigns have never been more important. Evidently it takes a pandemic to come around and make some of us see the importance of such a simplistic phrase. We are all at home practicing social distancing and learning to adjust both physically and mentally to the changes that come with being home a lot. Now is the time to get engaged in the self-love movement, and it isn’t just about vibrators!

Self-love by definition is the regard for one’s own well being or happiness, but so often that takes a back seat to whatever else is going on in our daily lives. As an industry we are poised to help people navigate self-love better than most. Not only that, but we recognize self-love isn’t just about vibrators and masturbating. It’s about processing feelings and thoughts we may not want to. It’s about forcing ourselves out for a walk when we want to lie in bed. It’s deciding it’s OK to color your own hair because the only person you need to make happy in this moment, is you. It’s about recognizing that output does not equal worth, and that we are all worthy of the love we owe ourselves.

Before working in this industry, I can be honest that I was not able to articulate for myself to others what I wanted physically or emotionally. I know I’m not alone; I also know I’m fortunate to have been educated working with all of you that I have learned to speak my words. I’ve learned how to recognize wants and needs, and how to ask for them. We teach people that, it’s amazing. We instill confidence, teach vocabulary and provide tools for others to learn these same skills. We pay it forward not because it’s our job, but because we love what we do. We teach self-love to others because it’s something we’ve learned; we often don’t give ourselves enough credit. I’ve been in stores and heard the heartfelt and honest conversations our retailers are having with customers, and my heart breaks each time I hear shame and confusion. We don’t recognize how much each of has personally overcome to pay it forward and help others, but it’s amazing when you think about it.

Our industry will continue to develop and adapt through this pandemic from a business perspective. We will rally and help each other until we eventually see the light at the end of the tunnel, whenever that is. In the meantime, may we be kinder and gentler to ourselves to show others self-love is OK. May our sex positivity and body positivity be as strong as the self-love we need to support them.

The Importance of Self-Care for Professionals by Danielle Seerley originally appeared in XBIZ


The Importance of Sexual Health and Wellness


When you hear about “sexual health and wellness”, the conversation is often about avoiding STIs and unwanted pregnancies. The understanding is that using condoms, getting tested, and preventing gonorrhea is the cornerstone of what is means to be sexually well.

But if you’ve ever felt:

  • Heartbroken over someone you know isn’t good for you
  • Shamed about your sexual desires and fantasies
  • Embarrassed about the shape, size, function, taste, or smell of your genitals
  • Sexually frustrated and unpleased
  • Lonely and skin hungry
  • Uncomfortable asking for what you want in bed
  • Unheard
  • Unworthy
  • Unsafe
  • Disconnected or disgusted by your body
  • Insecure about your sexual identity
  • Degraded for the way you dress, move, or express your sexuality in the world
  • Meh

… then you probably know that being sexually well goes infinitely deeper than if you have or don’t have a bacterial microbe. It’s about if you have or don’t have a fundamental joy in being you.

Sexuality is a vital part of being human. It’s what makes us who we are.

Being sexually well is about growing and thriving to a place where we can realize our full humanity, unapologetically. It’s physical, social, emotional, and mental.

Sexual wellness is paying attention to and honoring what your body needs.

Sexual wellness is knowing you are worthy of love and kindness from others.

Sexual wellness is living and loving according to your values.

Sexual wellness is practicing gratitude for your genitals and the sexual pleasure they provide.

Sexual wellness is asking your partner for what you want.

Equally important to how you treat yourself as a sexual person, sexual wellness is how you show up to others, and the world around you.

People who are living sexually well are not just doing what’s right by them:

  • Loving their bodies
  • Speaking up
  • Feeling comfortable about their sexual desires
  • Having good orgasms and a healthy vibrator collection

They are also:

  • Loving other people’s bodies, and not engaging in body shaming.
  • Listening when other people speak up, and listening with humility when their partners tells them what they want.
  • Helping other people feel comfortable about their sexual desires, by being a sex-positive person and not ridiculing any of the wild and wonderful ways people do their sexuality.
  • Making space for everyone to enjoy sexual pleasure, have good orgasms and a healthy vibrator collection if they so choose, by never slut-shaming how others express their sexuality.

Sexual wellness is not so much about preventing disease as it is about promoting compassion.

Why is this alternative model of sexual health and wellness important?

It all comes down to feeling good.

Whether it’s the physical feeling good of an incredible orgasm, the emotional feeling good of a , or the social feeling good of knowing you are contributing to a world that is more sexually kind and compassionate, sexual wellness is about embracing our truth- we are sexual beings, we want to feel good, and that’s valid.

The Importance of Sexual Health and Wellness by Dr. Jill McDevitt originally appeared on CalExotics.com

Sweat Your Way to Better Sex! – Your Guide to the Orgasmic Power of Kegels



Kegel exercises are as trendy as rose gold jewelry and hot yoga classes, and for good reason. This simple pelvic floor workout of squeezing and releasing your PC muscles is the key to more intense orgasms, better sex, and a healthier vagina. Doing daily kegels can even help you bounce back from pregnancy or control those little squirts of pee that sneak out when you laugh or sneeze, better known as incontinence.

Kegel repetitions work to tighten the muscles of the pelvic floor and vaginal walls. Though science has long busted the myth that lots of amazing sex or multiple partners will forever leave you loose, the pelvic muscles can lose their tone and strength over time, just like the rest of your body when you cheat on your fitness routine for too long. If you’ve given birth, you’ll also notice a change in the tightness of your vaginal muscles.

All this stuff is totally normal, but your health and pleasure depend on physical fitness to keep your insides in tip-top shape. When those downstairs muscles are properly primed, you’ll enjoy stronger orgasms and more internal pleasure during penetration.

Adding some Kegels to your repertoire is like eating a whole box of chocolate-covered cherries after your regular workout (except orgasms are way better for your body than processed sugars).

Let’s get you started with an easy-peasy Kegel routine, some goodies to spice up your workout, and a little orgasmic game to throw in for motivation.

How the Heck Does a Kegel Work?

You can do a Kegel from wherever you’re sitting or laying down, and that’s what makes them pretty much awesome. Simply clench your vaginal muscles together, kind of like when you’re holding in a fart (yes, really, that’s it!). You’ll feel your butt cheeks and thighs clench up at the same time. To check that you’re doing it right, use those same muscles to stop the flow of urine the next time you’re on the toilet. If the stream stops, you’re doing it right.

Now clench and hold, and see how long you can keep those muscles flexed. Ideally, aim for 5-10 seconds clenched, and then release. Congrats! You’ve done your first Kegel.

Ready, Get Set, Vagina Reps!

Keeping up with your Kegels is no different from any other fitness routine. You’ve got to stick with it on the daily, but thankfully you don’t have to hit the gym. You can do the ol’ squeeze-and-release while sitting at the office, watching a movie, or anywhere that allows you some down time to yourself.

For beginners, start by clenching for 5 seconds, relaxing for 5 seconds, and then repeating this pattern 10 times in sets of 3. Work your way up to clenching for 10 seconds and then relaxing for 10, also aiming for 3 sets of 10 reps.

Twist It Up With Some “Exercise Equipment”

You’ll eventually want to add some resistance to move up to the next level, or maybe you could use a little coaching to get it right. There are all sorts of sexy workout toys to guide your routine or add some light weights to build that kitty into a fierce, dildo-crushing jaguar. (Ok, we’re kidding, you probably won’t crush your sex toy, but your partner will definitely feel the difference.)

Kegel Your Way to an Orgasmic Workout

Once you’ve gotten the kick of Kegel-ing, now comes the fun and games. You can combine your self-pleasure sessions with your daily down-there workout to add in a little reward – orgasms!

Choose a Kegel toy that vibrates as you squeeze, and as you go about your reps, notice how the vibrations ripple through your sacred space. Feel those heavenly vibes stimulate your g-spot and rumble up through your clitoris as you clench. Move your mindset from weightlifting champ to masturbation mode, and enjoy the subtle sensations of the toy as it rocks inside you.

Once you’ve gotten through your usual round of reps, you’ll be all worked up and ready to reach the finish line. Keep going with a few more reps of clench-and-release (or start your Kegel-ciser’s program from the beginning), but this time, slowly massage your clitoris as the Kegel toy’s vibrations bring you to the brink. Hold off for as long as you can, savoring the uniquely subtle pleasure of this deliciously gentle yet deep self-love technique.

When you’re ready, let yourself climax as the Kegel toy gushes forth another 10 second rep of vibration. In this tuned-in state, you’ll feel every last wave as your orgasm matches the toy’s burst of vibes.

Now who said working out has to suck?

Sweat Your Way to Better Sex! – Your Guide to the Orgasmic Power of Kegels By Colleen Godin originally appeared on The Indigo Honey Life

Using Self Pleasure to Tackle Chronic Pain


Conversations about sex often focus on the fun and steamy side. That’s great! It’s also really important to talk about the not-fun parts of sex — the stuff that gets in the way of experiencing pleasure — and what we can do about it. For people who experience chronic pain, enjoying sex can sometimes be challenging.

What is chronic pain?

About 20 percent of individuals in the general population experience chronic pain of some kind. But how do you know when something is chronic pain and not just, well… pain? There are a few differences.

The definition of chronic pain is any pain that lasts for more than three months. The pain can be continuous or can occur every so often.

Additionally, humans tend to experience pain when there is imminent or actual damage to the body. These pain signals stop when the body is no longer injured or in danger of being injured. However, when you have chronic pain, these pain signals persist even when there is no immediate injury to the body. The pain may have originated with an injury, but chronic pain continues well past the initial damage and may last for months or years. Some of the more commonly experienced types of chronic pain are back pain, headaches, nerve damage, and secondary pain associated with a primary disease like cancer or arthritis. However, there are many types of chronic pain. You might experience chronic pain and not even know it! For example, chronic fatigue and recurring, severe menstrual cramps are both forms of chronic pain.

Chronic pain can be a real wet blanket on your libido…

If you suffer from chronic pain, you might find that pain negatively impacts your sex life. In fact, 50 to 80 percent of individuals with chronic pain feel that it causes problems in their sex life. Chronic pain can cause all sorts of obstacles to enjoying your sexuality. For example, certain positions may aggravate the pain. Pain might reduce your libido. Fear of experiencing pain may cause you to avoid sexual stimulation.

Chronic pain can also impact your self-image and how confident you feel in your own body. It can be difficult to feel sexy when you’re experiencing discomfort. These are all common feelings for people who live with chronic pain. In fact, between 35 and 40 percent of people with chronic pain stop engaging in any type of sexual activity at all.

Combating pain with pleasure

Despite pain acting as a barrier to sexual pleasure, sexual pleasure can also be a key for reducing chronic pain. You might already know that masturbation has the potential to reduce stress, improve sleep, and help soothe menstrual cramps, but did you know that self-stimulation can also help you to manage chronic pain? Yes please to more solo sex health benefits!

A few different studies, mostly conducted by Beverly Whipple and Barry Komisaruk, have shown that when vulva owners self-stimulate the clitoris and the vagina, pain tolerance increases. This means that when you are experiencing sexual pleasure, you feel less pain. Whipple and Komisaruk showed that when masturbating, vulva owners’ pain tolerance increase about 40 percent. When those same vulva owners masturbated to orgasm, their pain tolerance increased 74 percent! These effects lasted throughout the sexual experience and for a few minutes after orgasm.

Not only can masturbation temporarily make you a pain-immune superhero but it could also help boost your confidence and actual sex technique. It’s really common for people living with chronic pain to worry about their own sexual performance and ability to orgasm. Here’s where masturbation is, again, a great tool. A 1991 study showed that women who masturbated had higher overall sexual satisfaction and ability to reach orgasm that women who didn’t masturbate. This may be because masturbation can help you to identify what sensations feel most pleasurable for you and it helps you to practice coming. This is a great time to stick to the philosophy that practice makes perfect.

Additionally, masturbation may help with managing the mental health side-effects of chronic pain. Chronic pain can cause depression because when you suffer from chronic pain, you are in a constant state of stress and discomfort. Up to 85 percent of people living with chronic pain also suffer from depression. Though research has not shown whether masturbation can actually cure or significantly reduce depression, we do know that orgasms release dopamine and oxytocin that help you to feel euphoric and good. This too could offer at least some temporary relief from the heaviness of depressive moods.

Try it out!

So how can you begin incorporating these concepts into your own sex life? A great place to start is with your own hands or with a sex toy that can adapt to your sensory needs in the moment.

If you experience chronic pain, particularly in the lower back and pelvis, certain types of sexual stimulation may be painful. You might have days when vaginal penetration feels good and can help to stimulate and reduce tension in internal pelvic muscles. However, there may be days when penetration is too intense and you prefer to concentrate sexual stimulation on the clitoris.

Experiment with different types of self-stimulation on your clitoris, vulva, and even the G-spot, to see what feels best for you.

Remember, learning to manage chronic pain is often a journey where you test out different strategies and find out what works for you. It can be frustrating when you’re looking for solutions and can’t seem to get the results you want.

Be compassionate with yourself and know that with time, community, and the right resources, it’s totally possible to increase your pleasure and build the relationship with sexuality that you desire.

Using Self Pleasure to Tackle Chronic Pain by Louise Head originally appeared on Rumble & Buzz by Le Wand

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