Beyond X & Y: Chromosomes and Sex Organs

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When it comes to sex chromosomes, there’s more to it than XX or XY

Gender and sex beyond X & Y.

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Welcome to Beyond X & Y! This blog will explore all things gender and sex, and there’s a ton of ground to cover. Just a few of the topics I aim to explore include the latest studies on sexual and reproductive health, psychology and gender, sex worker health policies and more — including the titillating stuff.

Let’s start with the bread and butter: genes.

Sex and gender are complex, and our understanding of both is constantly evolving. Even a quality as seemingly simple and binary as biological sex is a spectrum rather than an either/or. In fact, sex chromosomes — and how those chromosomes translate into physical features — can vary in quite a few ways.

Here’s what’s regarded as the “norm”:

XY chromosomes = penis & testes = man

XX chromosomes = vagina & ovaries = woman

Gender is subjective to each person, and sex organs don’t dictate gender. People with penises aren’t necessarily men, and people with vaginas aren’t necessarily women. The thing is, XX and XY chromosomes aren’t cut and dry, either. Actually, sex chromosomes and genetic expression vary widely, beyond a penis/vagina or XY/XX binary. XX and XY with the aforementioned expressions are the most common sex chromosomes and corresponding organs, but they’re not the only ones.

Some people have differing sex chromosomes, such as those who are born with an extra X chromosome (XXY) or who are missing an X chromosome (XO). Or, some people with XX or XY chromosomes might have physical characteristics that don’t seem to align with what’s typically expected of their DNA. All of this is to say that many bodies that exist outside of the assumptions that come with XX and XY sex chromosomes.

One word that often describes these bodies is “intersex.” Intersex is an umbrella term that describes any person whose sex characteristics do not neatly fit into binary categories. Intersex people might have sex organs that include both XX and XY sex characteristics. Babies born intersex are often subjected to superfluous surgery in infancy in order to make their genitals appear either male or female.

Being intersex itself is a spectrum. It’s not always clear-cut when someone is intersex. What’s considered an abnormal size for genitalia? What about when someone has sex organs that align with one binary, but secondary sex traits that do not? Like gender and sexuality, genetic expression varies, too. There is not just one way to be intersex. Here are just a few examples of intersex variations:

Klinefelter Syndrome (XXY chromosome)

A person with this condition has an extra X chromosome, and is usually socialized as male, meaning the doctor will say, “It’s a boy!” at the delivery, and the baby henceforth will be treated like a boy. Affecting about 1 in 650 newborn boys, this is one of the most common sex chromosome variations.

Turner Syndrome (XO chromosome)

While a functioning pair of X chromosomes is common, some people only have one functioning X. They are usually socialized as females (“It’s a girl!”), and have underdeveloped female sex characteristics.

Swyer Syndrome (XY gonadal dysgenesis)

A person with Swyer Syndrome doesn’t have functional sex glands, and typically appears female. The glands they do have are known as gonadal streaks — slightly developed gonad tissue. Those with Swyer Syndrome will not develop secondary sex characteristics (e.g., breasts, Adam’s apple) without hormone replacement because gonadal streaks cannot produce sex hormones characteristic of puberty.

Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia (CAH)

CAH is the most common cause of intersex traits in those with XX chromosomes. It does not cause intersex traits in those with XY chromosomes. CAH results in an imbalanced production of hormones from adrenal glands, which are hormone-producing glands above the kidneys. The glands create an unusually high amount of virilizing hormones that can result in physical characteristics such as a deep voice, dense body hair and prominent musculature.

Ovotestes

These sex glands include both ovarian and testicular tissue. One with this condition can be born with any combination of ovaries and ovotestes. The genitals of a person with ovotestes may appear more typically male, female or somewhere in between.

Some might argue that the fact these physical traits are called “syndromes” or “conditions” means there’s something wrong with the individuals; they have an illness or irregularity. Just because someone is different doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with them. Equating the two results in the stigma that often comes with being intersex. 

Others might argue that intersex people might be sterile, which definitely indicates that something’s wrong or “not natural.” Equating fertility and humanity harms everyone, not just intersex people — plenty of cis men and women are sterile, but each one is no less of a person. Reducing a person to their reproductive organs, and even to their genes, and only rendering two viable options fails to recognize a swath of the population, harming our concept of human sexuality, and — sometimes literally — the people it tries to erase.

Complete Article HERE!

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How to practice tantric sex

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— a slow, meditative form of intimacy that can improve relationships

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  • Tantric sex is a slow, meditative form of intimacy that’s focused on strengthening the bond between you and a partner. 
  • To practice tantric sex, slow down the pace, focus on your breath, and engage all five senses. 
  • Have you ever wanted to slow things down in the bedroom and gain a more intimate connection with a partner? If so, you may want to consider tantric sex — a form of intimacy focused on strengthening the ties between you and your partner. Here’s how to practice tantric sex and tips to integrate the practice into your sex life.

    What is tantric sex?

    Tantric sex is a slowed-down version of sex designed to enhance intimacy. It stems from the Sanskrit word tantra, which means woven together, and is rooted in Hindu and Buddhist teachings.

    In tantric sex, the goal is not about reaching orgasm quickly (if at all) or about feeling incredible physical pleasure. Instead, tantric sex focuses on creating a genuine mindful connection within yourself and then between you and your partner.

    “You feel as if you’re merging together or, rather, that the things that separate you are illusions of the material world,” says Stefani Goerlich, a licensed master social worker and sex therapist. “The result of tantric practice is the creation of close bonds with one’s partner, greater awareness of one’s body, and the development of skills such as mindfulness, restraint, and communication.”

     Another benefit of tantric sex is its ability to ease anxiety. Traditionally, intimacy can cause performance anxiety around premature ejaculation, erectile dysfunction, and the worry about ensuring orgasm.

    “That pressure… takes you from being in the moment and in your body, to being in your head,” says Kamil Lewis, a sex and relationship therapist in Southern California.

    Tantric sex removes those anxieties. “When [you] are able to redirect [your] focus towards experiencing the sensations of simply being present and connected together, [you] are able to enjoy sex without anxiety or fear,” says Goerlich.

    How to prepare for tantric sex

    1. Learn about its history

    As with any practice rooted in a specific culture, taking the time to understand its history shows respect for its origin and allows you to embrace it with a fuller understanding.

    “We cannot take on the spiritual and religious practices of other cultures without taking the time to honor the origins and understand what we’re doing,” says Goerlich. A great place to start could be this cultural and historical overview of tantra.

    2. Practice mindfulness

    To prepare for tantric sex, Lewis recommends doing a mindfulness practice to connect with your body, become aware of senses, and slow down — all integral aspects of tantric sex.

    This can be done through yoga, meditation, or intentionally focusing on sensations and movements throughout the day.

    3. Create a safe environment

    If trying tantric sex, create a safe environment where you and a partner feel free to connect with yourselves and each other.

    “Somewhere where you can feel uninhibited by distractions, and somewhere that you don’t feel self-conscious about sounds you may make,” says Lewis. “Moaning, grunting, and vocalizing are encouraged with tantric sex, so consider a time when roommates, parents, or children aren’t home.”

    Lewis also suggests incorporating calming sensual elements into the space, such as lit candles and essential oils.

    How to practice tantric sex

    1. Focus on breath

    Focusing on breath is an essential component of tantric sex, as it allows for deeper connection.  Partners are encouraged to synchronize their breaths, so it almost becomes one movement, says Molly Papp, LMFT, sexologist, a certified sex addiction therapist, and owner of Bella Vida Therapy.

    As with most mindfulness practices, the breath also grounds you in the present moment. Try paying attention to a part of your body where you feel the breath, like the belly or chest, and refocus your attention to this part.

    2. Gaze into each other’s eyes

    Spend time gazing into a partner’s eyes. While continual eye contact isn’t necessary for tantric sex, Papp highly recommends it occur often to help build an intimate connection. Eye gazing is another way of synchronizing to each other’s energy. To gaze deeper, try focusing on having your right eye connect with their right eye.

    3. Slow down

    Tantric sex is not a race to an orgasmic finish line, but a chance to slow down and explore each other’s bodies. It can last until you reach orgasm, feel connected, or are emotionally satisfied.

    This attitude change relieves a lot of typically felt anxiety. “It is especially great for women because of its focus on slowing things down and waiting for arousal to build,” says Papp. “In an age where we are flooded with unrealistic pressure to feel orgasmic pleasure within minutes, this is freeing for many women.”

    Papp suggests having lube, oils, or lotion nearby to ensure slow movements aren’t painful.

    4. Engage all five senses

    The only “goal” of tantric sex is remaining present and being aware of sensations in the body. To do this, Lewis suggests paying attention to all five of your senses, not just touch.

    “Notice how your partner smells, what the curves of their bodies look like, what tastes you pick up in your mouth as you kiss, what it sounds like when they or you moan,” Lewis says. “These are all great ways to become grounded in your body and present in the moment.”

    5. Incorporate massage 

    Sex does not need to be penetrative. “Kissing, touching, holding, rubbing, and more can all lead to a full tantric sexual experience, no penetration necessary,” says Lewis.

    Even if you want to incorporate penetrative sex, Goerlich says there’s no reason to rush into it. Start by focusing on markers that keep you present and connected, like massaging or cuddling.

    “Prolong this sensory exploration and carry it over into your penetrative sex — if indeed you have penetrative sex,” says Goerlich.

    In fact, focusing on other forms of intimacy can help keep anxiety levels down. “Something more sensual rather than sexual could help calm one or both partners,” says Papp. “A cuddle session or massage would help relieve that anxiety and ease the experience.”

    Takeaways

    Tantric sex slows down an intimate experience and emphasizes the connection between you and a partner. The practice involves focusing on the breath, staying present, and creating a safe environment to explore sensual intimacy.

Complete Article HERE!

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Everything You Need To Know About WAP

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— Vaginal Dryness, and Arousal

By Jamie LeClaire

Over the summer, Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion blessed the world by dropping the sex-positive, empowering banger, “WAP.” The title is an acronym for “wet ass pussy,” and the song itself seeks to normalize and celebrate female-identifying people being unapologetically sexual and prioritizing their pleasure. And yet, a number of reactions revealed how little many know about sexual health, arousal, and how genitals function in relation to sex—especially vulvas and vaginas. Notably, conservative commenter and podcast host Ben Shapiro claimed WAP on its own to be a health concern, and—uh, according to pros that’s not the case.

The thing is, though, even though Shapiro may be deserving of the negative response he’s received for his false statement, his lack of knowledge about vulvar health is not something to be made fun of. Rather, it’s something to correct because sex education leads to more positive and shame-free conversations about sexual health. To continue contributing to that conversation, a doctor and sexual-health expert are here to answer some key questions: What does WAP mean? What does not having WAP mean? And, regardless, will you ever need a mop and a bucket?

What does WAP mean in terms of vaginal lubrication?

Vaginal fluid, especially during sexual arousal, is a normal and healthy component of sexual and reproductive functioning, and it can also fluctuate in its presence over the course of our lives. Vulva-owners have two sets of glands that are responsible for vaginal fluid during sexual arousal: the Bartholin’s glands, which are located to the right and left of the vaginal opening, and the Skene’s glands, which are closer to the urethra. Each produce and secrete what we know as vaginal fluid, and their functioning and physiology is heavily influenced by hormonal fluctuations that happen throughout life, like menopause.

As far as the whole “mop and a bucket” thing? Probably not necessary since the amount of lubrication likely wont accumulate beyond about a teaspoon’s worth.

In terms of function, vaginal lubrication aids in pleasure and the promotion of sexual health. According to Tamika K. Cross, MD, OB/GYN, these secretions help to minimize the possibility of micro tears and fissures from occurring inside the vaginal canal and around the vaginal opening during sexual play. “The less lubrication, the more friction, discomfort and potential trauma,” she says. But, as far as the whole “mop and a bucket” thing? Probably not necessary since the amount of lubrication likely wont accumulate beyond about a teaspoon’s worth.

Vaginal wetness does not always correlate with arousal

It’s important to note that differences between arousal and desire have implications on vaginal wetness, says Isharna Walsh, CEO and founder of sexual wellness app Coral. “They are closely interlinked, but they are not synonyms.” Arousal is the physical manifestation of sexual response and refers to physical reactions, like heart-rate increase, blood flow to the genitals, and, yes, WAP. But just because someone is physically aroused does not mean that they desire sex—desire is more of a mental experience and want.

It is absolutely possible for vaginal fluid to be present without feeling sexual desire, and it’s also possible to be turned on without any lubrication presenting. The descrepancy in these events is called arousal non-concordance, and Dr. Cross says it is a common issue. “The only way to find out if someone is both physically aroused and desires sex,” she says? “Ask them.”

Vaginal dryness can is extremely common and can happen for a number of reasons.

Research shows that around 17 percent of people with vulvas experience vaginal dryness during sex between ages 18 and 50, and around 50 percent of those who are post-menopausal. “Estrogen levels change most notably and drastically during menopause, thus vaginal dryness affects a large part of the population during that time,” says Dr. Cross. (As a reminder, hormonal fluctuations can account for shifts in the presence of vaginal fluid because of their effect on the functioning of our Bartholin’s and Skene’s glands.)

Beyond menopause, other factors that can shift hormone levels include the menstrual cycle, childbirth, stress, diet, medications, genital dysphoria, sleep deprivation, certain health conditions like PCOS and endometriosis, and more. For many people experiencing dryness, especially those who only experience discomfort during penetrative sex, investing in a quality personal lubricant can go a long way. But if your wetness is accompanied by vaginal itch, discomfort, or a new color or smell, it might be worth a visit to your doctor.

Ultimately, not all vulvas are the same, so getting to know your own and learning what’s normal and abnormal for you will help you to understand whether something is an issue that would benefit from addressing with a medical professional. And that’s true no matter where you land on the scale of 0 to WAP.

Complete Article HERE!

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34 erogenous zones and how to stimulate them

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We get you acquainted with these subtle and not-so-suble pleasure points.

Put simply, erogenous zones are extra-sensitive areas of the human body that generate a sexual response when stimulated.

They’re located all over, from your eyelids to your ankles. Though sexual in nature, your body’s response might not necessarily be an out-and-out orgasm – it could be subtle arousal or even deep relaxation.

To get you acquainted with these subtle and not-so-suble pleasure points, we asked Mia Sabat, sex therapist at sexual wellbeing audio app Emjoy, and Marlena Segar, sex and relationships educator and community manager for the Healthy Pleasure Group, to share their tips for locating and stimulating 36 erogenous zones:

36 erogenous zones you should know

‘We’ve likely all experienced the feeling where someone has touched a part of your body in just the right way, and it’s felt so good that it may have sent a shiver down your spine,’ says Segar. ‘That would be an erogenous zone. An area of the body, that when stimulated sends signals to the brain that translate as pleasurable sensations.’

‘Everyone’s erogenous zones are slightly different, both in location and sensory response.’

The sensitivity varies from individual to individual, according to the concentrations of specific nerve endings in that particular area. ‘Everyone’s erogenous zones are slightly different, both in location and sensory response,’ she continues. ‘They’re also context-specific. Exploring both where on your body you want to be touched, and how you want to be touched is the only way to discover what you enjoy.’

Here, we’ve picked out 32 erogenous zones – from the obvious to the overlooked – with advice on how to approach them. Numbers 1-20 are shared spots; 21-28 are specific to women and people with vaginas; while 29-34 refer to men and people with penises.

1. Scalp

The scalp is full of nerve endings, and is especially sensitive just behind the ears and on the nape of the neck. ‘Start by gently stroking or running your fingers through your partner’s hair, always starting at the roots and maintaining a consistent motion and pressure to simulate the scalp directly,’ says Sabat.

2. Earlobes

The earlobes are made up of thin skin, which typically means increased sensitivity. ‘Some enjoy a gentle kiss or nibble on the earlobe, while others might prefer more intense sensations, such as sucking, pinching, biting or pulling,’ says Sabat.



3. Armpits

It might be a little ticklish, but your armpits are chock-full of nerve endings. ‘Caressing, kissing and even licking this area can be equal parts playful and erotic,’ says Sabat. ‘Approach the area with a gentle-but-firm touch, using circular motions and long strokes for maximum pleasure.’

4. Inner arms

This area lends itself to increased sensitivity thanks to the thin, soft skin that makes up the area. ‘Stroking the region, starting just inside the inner shoulder, and moving gently down to the inner elbow can be overwhelmingly pleasurable,’ says Sabat.

5. Small of the back

The intersection of the spine and pelvis, known as the sacrum, is a highly sensitive spot. ‘Treat your partner to a gentle massage, or engage with temperature and sensory play with objects like ice, feathers, warming oils, and silk to elicit an incredible response,’ says Sabat.

6. Lower stomach

The lower stomach is filled with nerve endings that become more and more concentrated towards the genital area, ‘so it’s a great place to show affection and attention,’ says Sabat. ‘You can tease and stimulate this area with a very wide variety of techniques including kissing, gentle biting, and temperature play.’

7. Inner wrist

It mightn’t be the first spot that comes to mind when you think of erogenous zones, but the inner wrist is incredibly sensitive, says Sabat. ‘Feeling your partner’s heart rate increase as you caress this area will turn you on, too,’ she explains. ‘Stroking or kissing this area, especially in public, is a great way to signal that you’re feeling sensual.’

8. Palms and fingertips

Your hands are full of nerve endings – in fact, they’re one of the most sensitive areas of your body. ‘Take your partner’s palm in your hand and gently trace along the edges and lines of their palm with your fingertips,’ Sabat suggests, before kissing or tightly sucking their fingertips.



9. Behind the knee

In a way that’s similar to the inner wrist and arm, caressing and kissing the skin behind the knee can be incredibly erotic thanks to the thin, nerve-packed skin, says Sabat. ‘Gently run your fingers over this area, or engage with it during penetrative sex by touching, stroking or applying pressure,’ she says.

10. Bottoms of feet

Yep, you guessed it – your feet are full of nerve endings, too. ‘Stimulate pressure points through massage, focusing on the arch and pad of the foot as these spots help increase blood flow and promote arousal, before working your way up to kissing and caressing the area with your lips,’ says Sabat.

12. In-between toes

This area is best stimulated through massage, says Sabat, and massage oils can make this experience even better. ‘I recommend a gentle but firm pressure, using your hands to massage each toe individually, focusing on the sides of the toes to engage with the most sensitive points,’ she says.



13. Inside of ankle

It’s unlikely to be an area you’ve thought about before, but the inside of your ankle is an under-stimulated spot that’s sensitive to touch. ‘Focus on stroking either side of the Achilles tendon – more of a caress than a massage, as the area is quite sensitive,’ says Sabat. ‘If your partner likes the sensation, kissing the area can also be highly erotic.’

14. The brain

An underrated sensory spot. Stimulate the brain and the body will follow. ‘Engage with alternative forms of pornography, like audio erotica, that immerse your mind in an experience, or craft your own sexy fantasy,’ says Sabat. ‘Make it a habit to engage with your mind first in intimate moments.’



15. Anus

This less-explored region is packed with nerve endings. ‘Start by playing with the buttocks,’ says Sabat. ‘Stroke the entire area and place your hands on the folds where the legs and buttocks meet, then slide your fingers along the fold, from the inner thigh to the outer area, before caressing the outside of the anus.’

16. Areola and nipples

The nipples are very sensitive because of their thin, highly responsive skin. ‘Many like this region to be stimulated with strokes, licks, kisses and gentle nibbles, but they’re also responsive to sensory play, so don’t be afraid to break out the vibrator, ice cubes, silk, or feathers,’ says Sabat. ‘However, be careful with overly-warm sensory products to avoid discomfort, and note that their sensitivity can change daily.’



17. Mouth and lips

Your lips are packed with more nerve endings than your fingertips, says Sabat, but with much thinner and more sensitive skin. ‘Trace the outline of your partner’s lips with your finger before using your teeth to gently pull on their bottom lip, engaging in an intense kiss,’ she suggests.

18. Neck

A key erogenous zone, your neck is also incredibly sensitive and highly responsive to stimulation. ‘Place your hands on either side of your partner’s neck while kissing them, or stroke the back of their neck lightly with your fingertips to send shivers down their whole body,’ says Sabat. ‘Kissing and licking this area can also be highly pleasurable – start at the base of your partner’s ear and kiss or lick down to their collar bone.’

19. Inner thighs

The skin on your inner thighs is delicate, warm, and full of nerves, says Sabat, so show this spot some attention, especially when leading up to oral sex. ‘Caress, kiss, lick, and even dig your fingers into this area gently to give your partner a range of sensations – being sure to caress the whole area, from inner knee, to upper-inner thigh,’ she says.

20. Groin

Given its close proximity to the genitals, teasing the groin – the area that connects your abdomen to your lower body and legs – can be electrifying. ‘Packed with nerve endings, it’s an exciting spot to kiss and caress when exploring your partner’s body,’ says Sabat. ‘Tease them further by running your fingers over their underwear before slowly moving in to touch their skin.’



Erogenous zones for women

21. Breasts

Massaging, caressing, kissing and licking the breasts indirectly stimulates the nipples, triggering the same area of the brain as the genitals, says Segar. ‘Starting with the breast rather than going straight for the nipple can help build arousal by drawing out the stimulation,’ she says.

22. Pubic mound

Also known as the mons pubis, this area is the fleshy part just above the clitoris. ‘It’s the perfect area to indirectly stimulate the clitoris and encourage blood flow to the genitals,’ says Segar. ‘Try massaging in circular motions and experiment with light and firm pressure.’

23. Clitoris

The clitoris is packed with more than 8,000 nerve endings, and is the only human organ designed entirely for pleasure, says Segar. ‘The most sensitive part of the clitoris is the glans – located at the top of the vulva above the urethral opening, usually covered by the clitoral hood,’ she says. ‘Slow circles tracing around the glans or running your fingers either side is an effective way to gently stimulate the clitoris.’

24. Labia minora

Also known as the inner lips, the labia minora contain numerous nerve endings that can be extremely pleasurable to touch, says Segar. ‘Gently run your index and middle finger along both the inside and outside of the lips,’ she suggests.

25. A-spot

While the exact location will vary slightly from person to person, the A-spot can be found around four to six inches above the entrance to the vagina, on the front wall. If your fingers aren’t long enough to reach this pot, use a toy – especially one with a curved tip – to stimulate it, Segar suggests.

26. G-spot

This erogenous zone is sometimes capable of inducing female ejaculation. ‘You can reach the G-spot by placing one or two fingers inside the vagina about two inches up, using a beckoning or ‘come hither’ motion against the front wall,’ says Segar. ‘The texture often feels a bit rougher than the surrounding area, which is usually a lot smoother.’

27. C-spot

The cervix sits at the deepest point of the vagina, so stimulating this area will often require a toy to reach, says Segar. You can also reach the C-spot during penetrative sex, especially in the woman-on-top position. While not everyone enjoys deep penetration, she adds, this position puts the receiver in charge of the movements.

28. V-spot

Often overlooked, the V-spot refers to the opening of the vagina, which is packed with nerve endings. ‘Using a toy, a finger, or the head of a penis, slowly circle around the vaginal opening,’ she says. ‘You can also experiment with very shallow penetration – only going in an inch or so – to enhance the sensation.’



Erogenous zones for men

29. Glans

The glans – also called the head or tip – is the most sensitive part of the penis. ‘Using lube, run your fingers and thumb from the urethral opening down the head, spreading your hand open as you do, until your palm touches the head,’ says Segar. ‘Bring them slowly back up and repeat. Start with light pressure that you can increase as preferred.’

30. Frenulum

This is the elastic band of tissue on the underside of the glans, and looks similar to the frenulum that connects your tongue to the bottom of your mouth. ‘This tiny area is extremely sensitive to touch,’ says Segar. ‘Running your thumb up and down the frenulum can be extremely pleasurable, though be cautious not to overstimulate.’

31. Foreskin

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the foreskin is packed with nerve endings. ‘As the foreskin retracts when the penis is erect, using a hand to move it up and down the glans can be an extremely enjoyable sensation,’ says Segar. ‘For circumcised people, there are toys that can mimic the feeling of the foreskin as well as adding enhanced sensation.’

32. Scrotum and testicles

This is one of the most sensitive areas of the body, so go carefully. ‘Start with some gentle cupping and light strokes or kiss and lick them,’ says Segar. ‘You can experiment with increasing the pressure and type of stimulation, such as tugging or squeezing, but this is definitely not for everyone.’



33. Perineum

This is the area of skin that stretches from the scrotum to the anal opening. ‘Running your fingers up and down this area, particularly when you are close to orgasm, can increase the intensity of your climax,’ says Segarr. ‘It is also possible to indirectly stimulate the prostate by playing with this area.’

34. P-spot

Located inside the anus, the prostate can be a source of immense pleasure. ‘Using lots of lube, gently trace a finger around the anal opening to relax the muscles,’ says Segar. ‘When you feel ready, slip a finger inside and gently move it approximately two inches upwards and use a ‘come hither’ coaxing motion. If you’re struggling to reach, anal beads or a butt plug can be a really fun addition – just make sure your toy has a flared base.’

Complete Article HERE!

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Would you Wear a Male Chastity Belt?

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Men’s Chastity Devices: A Closer Look

by MJ Booth

It’s Locktober and that means it’s time to talk about chastity devices for men. Would you let your lover lock you down until you begged for mercy? Is it really safe to trust your equipment to somebody else?

Well, it certainly requires a level of trust and intimacy that the faint of heart don’t have. If you or your partner are wearing a chastity device, then you’ve just made an undeniable display of fidelity and kinkiness.

Male chastity belts can be a fun part of BDSM play. There’s also something about having your sexual power essentially belonging to someone else that thrills and tantalizes the libido. The device is physically constraining, but there is a definite psychological component to the chastity experience, as well.

It’s all about an exchange of power.

A Little History About Chastity Belts

Did you know that chastity belts date back to around medieval times? Crusaders and knights who would ride off to battle would sometimes lock away their lovers’ private parts until they returned safely.

The first historical reference comes from religious texts and a drawing of a metal belt depicted in a book called Bellifortis. It was created by a German military engineer named Konrad Kyeser in 1405. (Figures.)

However, some historians believe that medieval chastity belts were just jokes or purely metaphorical. It wasn’t until the eighteenth and early nineteenth century that people started to put these designs into practical use for medieval reference purposes, pure curiosity, and a bit of kinky fun behind closed doors.

What Do Male Chastity Belts Do?

Male chastity belts didn’t become popular until modern times as BDSM toys. However, male chastity belts and devices are far more popular than female versions. Perhaps that has something to do with the prevalence of more men willing to be in submissive roles, (either gay or straight) within the BDSM community.

Essentially, the male chastity device is designed to prevent a man from obtaining an erection or prevent physical contact with the penis. You can prevent someone from masturbating or having direct sexual encounters involving their penis without the permission of the keyholder.

Is this about trust or delayed gratification? Well, it could be either or both.

There are a few different designs out there, but most fall under two types. There’s the cage design which encases a flaccid penis in some sort of elaborate prison for penises and then there’s the plate design which covers the penis so that it can’t get hard.

Some have traditional lock and key components, but you can get really high tech with male chastity belts now.

Lock Your Lover Down with Your Smart Phone

That’s right. You don’t need a key anymore. Some chastity devices can be locked and unlocked remotely from a smartphone, Bluetooth or Wi-Fi enabled device. That’s certainly a futuristic way to get kinky, but it comes with a new set of dangers.

This is how it works. Basically, the dominant person controls the app. They can monitor the submissive wearer’s time in the cage and unlock or lock them remotely. When engaged, a heavy-duty metal ring closes the device on the user.

Dangers of Digital Chastity Devices for Men

Just imagine if your chastity belt was remotely locked by a hacker or your service dropped out and you couldn’t open it? Well, it might seem like something that would happen in a movie, but fact is stranger than fiction.

A security firm in the UK found this exact type of security flaw in a popular BDSM device called The Cellmate. It’s a chastity lock that’s controlled by an app. The security firm, called Pen Test Partners, found that Cellmate could be hacked and remotely operated. The hackers could then prevent anyone from accessing the device. There’s no manual override or physical key.

To be fair, the Cellmate’s designers made an attempt to patch the security flaw. The company in question Qiui made a note on their Google Play and Apple Store page for users “in order to prevent hacker attacks, please review this 2.1.7 version as soon as possible!! ignore version 2.1.4.”

That’s because the problem stems from an outdated application programming interface (API) that is especially vulnerable to outside override from hackers. One disgruntled reviewer still wasn’t entirely happy with his chastity experience with The Cellmate.

He wrote, “App stopped working. Again trouble. Got already stuck twice when wearing it due to the unreliable app. I should not have spent the money for this. Back to normal chastity.”

Is It Okay to Try Chastity This Locktober?

If you’re new to chastity or you just want to add some kinky fun to your romance, then by all means, take it slow. Try small intervals of chastity and be sure to look closely at reviews before buying any chastity devices or chastity belts.

It can be an enjoyable experience and that builds a powerful bond between dominant and submissive lovers. You might want to carefully consider a physical lock versus a digital app locking device.

Afterall, it’s your junk. You’re just slaving it to someone else for a specific period of time and under a specific set of circumstances. It’s for kicks, but nobody wants to get trapped in their cage while the app updates.

High tech isn’t always the best way to go. Maybe this type of technology isn’t superior to the good old fashion BDSM devices. At least you can be sure that only your dom can lock you down.

Ultimately, it’s up to you. But be safe and have fun.

Complete Article HERE!

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I’m Black, Queer, and Polyamorous

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— Why Does That Matter to My Doctors?

I deserve the same health care as you.

By Gabrielle Smith

I’m Black, queer, and polyamorous. These things shouldn’t affect my quality of health care but, unfortunately, they do. Because my life is labeled as “alternative,” I run into endless stigma at the doctor’s office.

I’ve been slut-shamed when seeking birth control. I’ve been scrutinized for my non-monogamous lifestyle. I’ve been side-eyed when I mention I have sex with women and men. I can’t donate blood because I have sex with queer men. So often my concerns have been silenced because doctors don’t listen to Black women. And don’t get me started on how difficult it was to find a therapist who took my insurance and also didn’t discriminate against me.

So when it comes to casting my ballot, you best believe I’m paying attention to a candidate’s health care policy. President Donald Trump has failed LGBTQ Americans in that respect — and in so many other ways. The current administration imposed a ban on transgender folks serving in the military. It rolled back protections within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), ones that previously banned the discrimination of LGBTQ couples seeking adoption. And lest we forget, it also rescinded Obama-era guidance on how schools should treat transgender students’ bathroom usage.

In terms of health care, the Affordable Care Act, passed in 2010 by the Obama administration, was a landmark victory for so many. It insured and extended coverage for 20 million Americans and also clarified and extended protections for the LGBT community. One study found that after the ACA was implemented, the rate of uninsured LGB adults decreased significantly, dropping from 19 percent in 2013 to 10 percent in 2016.

Ever since the ACA passed, though, the Republican party has been trying to tear it down. Most recently, they’ve urged the Supreme Court to declare the bill unconstitutional. Bottom line: Under the Trump administration, we’ve seen a litany of changes in health care legislation that specifically, and negatively, affects folks in the LGBTQ community.

LGBTQ Folks Are Discriminated Against, Underinsured, and More Often Ill

Unsurprisingly, marginalized people are marginalized. That includes the LGBTQ community — an estimated 11 million U.S. adults, according to a 2018 Gallup report.

In May 2018, the Kaiser Family Foundation (a non-partisan, non-profit organization focused on analyzing national health issues) released a comprehensive report on the state of health and access within the community, and found that, overall, LGBTQ folks are more likely to face challenges finding adequate care and to experience physical health issues, chronic conditions, and early onset of disability. That’s not all. They also found: LGBTQ folks are two and a half times more likely to have depression, anxiety, or substance abuse disorders; almost one in six bisexual women reported experiencing “serious psychological distress” in the past 30 days, with a little over a quarter having considered suicide; bisexual adults are significantly less likely to have adequate access to care compared to other sexual orientations; and almost half of transgender folks postponed medical care because they couldn’t afford it.

In addition, the Human Rights Campaign, an LGBTQ advocacy group, released a research brief on the status of LGBTQ folks and COVID-19. It found that they’re more likely to work in at-risk environments such as food service (see: the cute blue-haired barista at your local coffee shop who knows your order by heart, or me, the bartender who asks if you want to do a shot together). LGBTQ folks are also more likely to be poorer than those of other sexualities, and as a result not be able to afford regular medical care.

Finding adequate care goes beyond considering financial means — it includes navigating a minefield of discrimination. In a survey conducted by Lambda Legal (an LGBT legal and advocacy organization), 56 percent of lesbian, gay, and bisexual respondents reported instances of providers denying care, using harsh language, or blaming their sexual orientation or gender identity as the cause of an illness; that jumps to 70 percent for transgender and gender-nonconforming individuals.

It’s pretty clear: Queer folks are far more likely to need the healthcare system and are more likely to be failed by it. While the ACA helped millions of Americans, for so many queer folks, it still didn’t do enough.

Attacks On LGBTQ Protection via Section 1557

The ACA was one step forward for LGBTQ health care, but the Trump administration continues to go after its policies — most importantly, those that prevent medical discrimination.

For folks in the LGBTQ community, one of the most important changes from the ACA was that Section 1557 added language to include gender identity and sexuality toward the protected class of “sex.” This is significant because the Civil Rights Act of 1964 declared it unlawful to discriminate against people on the basis of sex, and thus, adding gender identity and sexuality to the definition of sex protects LGBTQ folks from discrimination as well. It specifically addressed important aspects of care, such as: health care providers must treat individuals consistent with their gender identity, they cannot deny sex-specific treatment due to gender identity (ex: trans men cannot be denied care for HPV or ovarian cancer, etc.), and the explicit exclusion of trans-affirming care (ex: hormone therapy or gender-affirming surgeries) is considered discriminatory.

So, you know, treat people like people. Make sure they don’t die and whatnot. While it seems wild to think that doctors would deny life-saving health care like prostate exams for trans-feminine individuals… some folks would rather see trans folk die. In these cases, a transgender person would need to find care from alternative providers. While this sounds simple, they risk having to go out-of-network or go without.

The HSS, under President Trump, eliminated these protections and others related to LGBT care, which means trouble for queer folks all around. The Supreme Court and a few district courts have sought to uphold some of these protections or block the new regulations, but the chipping away at these protections allows room for anti-queer action by local, state and federal governments, as well as by individual medical providers.

This isn’t the only way the current administration has undermined the ACA, and thus, put marginalized folks at risk. It also passed a ruling to allow “short-term health insurance,” which could leave those faced with sudden health issues to deal with massive medical bills. Short-term health insurance allows people to feel like they have coverage, but in reality, these plans are allowed to bypass ACA requirements like covering pre-existing conditions. This is notable not only because of the community’s predisposition to chronic illness but also because HIV is an especially large concern in the LGBTQ population.

In the 2020 election, we must hold leaders accountable. Vice President Biden says he plans to uphold the Affordable Care Act if elected — and also promises to build on the act and make it even more accessible, according to his campaign. He told NBC News he wants to create a public insurance option and allow Americans to keep their private insurance if they choose, as well as cap medication prices and out-of-pocket costs.

If that’s the case, members of my community will be hoping for the resolution of other health care hurdles as well. Many insurance providers still do not cover facial feminization (cosmetic procedures to affirm gender) for trans-feminine individuals. This can be lifesaving medical care considering the rate at which trans women are murdered; allowing someone to affirm their gender via procedures like this not only allows them to outwardly present the way they identify, but also helps protect them from hate crimes or acts of intolerance. Not to mention, the intersection of religious freedom and LGBTQ rights is consistently used as justification to discriminate against queer folk. In 2018, the current administration created an office of “Conscience and Religious Freedom” within the HHS, which gives individual people, providers, and health care entities more leeway to discriminate against LGBTQ people based on religious beliefs.

Maybe these issues don’t affect you. Maybe you could care less. But think about your loved ones and peers, as well as your fellow Americans. If this country is as great as it’s proclaimed to be, shouldn’t everyone feel comfortable walking into a doctor’s office? Imagine your child couldn’t receive a pap smear because of who they date or how they identify. Then imagine your child gets HPV, the most commonly transmitted STI, which can become cancerous without care. Or imagine your child was like me, faced with the knowledge that an ex-boyfriend’s partner received an abnormal pap (meaning he could have then transmitted potentially-cancerous HPV to me), but unable to receive care due to lack of insurance. This shouldn’t be the reality. Yet, it prevails.

Advocating for equality is a frustrating, exhausting, and terrifying fight. I dream of the day I can walk into my doctor’s office and not fear the details of my sex life will impact the quality of my treatment. Until then, I’m looking for rainbows on the door of my doctor’s office and looking toward this election for a glimmer of hope.

Complete Article HERE!

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Sexual Aftercare Isn’t Just a BDSM Thing

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—Here’s Why Everyone Should Try It

By Mary Grace Garis

If you’ve ever experienced postcoital dysphoria (or felt the post-sex blues)—an hour, day, or even three days after an encounter—it might be because you’re not practicing appropriate aftercare. For the uninitiated, aftercare is a concept that originated in the BDSM community, and it generally refers to the things you do to make sure everyone is okay and taken care of after sex play. (BDSM, which can include bondage, sadism, and/or submission, sometimes involves paddles. When it does, participants might need a little TLC afterward.) But there’s a scientific reason to consider aftercare for all types of sexual encounters: It helps to prevent you from completely crashing after a feel-good chemical rush.

“During sex, chemicals like oxytocin, dopamine, and prolactin are released,” says sexologist Shamyra Howard, LCSW. Aftercare may help to regulate how your body responds as those chemicals dissipate. In this way, aftercare after sex can be helpful for maintaining a feeling of closeness in a relationship—because intimacy, vulnerability, and connection shouldn’t end with orgasm, says sexologist Chris Donaghue, PhD, an intimacy expert for the sexual wellness company Skyn.

“A healthy sexual model is pleasure-based and acknowledges that post-sex aftercare is a way to continue that pleasure and intimacy.” —sexologist Chris Donaghue, PhD

Essentially, how partners respond after sex can affect whether or not people feel safe and comfortable or rejected. “Our culture uses a performance model for sex: It’s treated as though there is a goal, one right way to achieve it, and anything else is a failure,” say Dr. Donaghue. “A healthy sexual model is pleasure-based and acknowledges that post-sex aftercare is a way to continue that pleasure and intimacy. Anything less is a severe and spontaneous disconnection from the sexual connection just achieved.”

How to practice aftercare after sex of any kind:

Before practicing any kind of aftercare, remember that consent is a paramount prerequisite. To attain consent, ask how your partner likes to be approached after sex. “Some people like a lot of closeness and snuggles, other people require lots of space and grounding, and some like both in no particular order,” says sexologist Caitlin V. Neal, MPH.

Other ideas for practicing aftercare after sex? Cuddling is a big one, as is pillow talk, getting a cup of tea, or ordering pizza—basically whatever makes you smile. “One of the best aftercare strategies I have heard of involved having warm towels next to the bed for a full-body wipe down and cookies baking in the oven that are delivered to your lover in bed,” says Neal. “For you, aftercare could mean a steamy scrub down in the shower, meditation, heaping praise upon each other, or reviewing the video footage. There’s no wrong way to practice aftercare, and there’s no upper limit to how much pleasure it can create.”

And the practice isn’t just for madly-in-love, long-term couples who live together. Everybody from casual partners just hooking up and those practicing solo sex to people in long-distance relationships can practice aftercare after sex. “Those who are unpartnered or who are in long-distance relationships can create space for aftercare by using weighted blankets after sexual intimacy or cuddling with clothing or other objects that belong to your partner,” Howard says.

What’s key to remember, though, is that what you do after sex can really change your relationship—and/or your relationship with pleasure—for the better.  “After care doesn’t need to be a mystery, or even a challenge,” Neal says. “With a little planning in advance, it can be as meaningful and pleasurable as intercourse itself.”

Complete Article HERE!

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Why you need to prioritise your own orgasm

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– and it’s not only because they feel amazing

Sadly, no one else will do it for you.

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Can’t remember the last time you had an orgasm? For most women, they last just 10.9 seconds. And, while that may seem rather quick, orgasms can do more than just make you feel good in that short space of time. So you could be missing out on vital health benefits!

If you need help to prioritise your own orgasm, then trying one of the best vibrators could be for you. More than a quarter of British women claim they are “more likely” to orgasm if they use one, found sexual wellness brand Lovehoney.

So, why should you prioritise your own orgasm? Well, not only do the endorphins released during arousal help ease pain, but a study in Israel found that women who had two orgasms per week were 30% less likely to have heart disease. Plus, American research found that menopausal women who had an orgasm every week had oestrogen levels twice as high as those who didn’t, which is essential for protecting bones.

But, with the average woman taking 13 minutes and 25 seconds to climax, according to the Kadave Institute of Medical Sciences, many women don’t feel they have time to fit more sex or masturbation into their already busy lives. “Too many women are afraid to address this fundamental issue and enjoy the sex they deserve,” says Annabelle Knight, sex and relationship expert with Lovehoney.

This is why you need to prioritise your own orgasm. Ready? Here’s how to make sure you have an orgasm every time…

Learn to de-stress and prioritise your own orgasm

Pressures with work or family will directly affect when (or if) you reach climax. “The biggest psychological barrier to orgasm is stress – it’s essentially a sexual poison,” says Annabelle.

Timing is key, so choose a time to have sex or masturbate when you’re not rushing around. Plus, remember to breathe deeply throughout; it will help you block out distractions. A belter of an orgasm is achievable – you just need to relax.

Tightening your pelvic floor can help you orgasm

A weakened pelvic floor can cause a loss in sensation, yet a third of women are too embarrassed to bring the topic up with their GP, found a survey by wellness charity Jo’s Cervical Trust.

“Learning to control your pelvic floor can help you climax,” says Annabelle. Tone up by doing 100-200 pelvic floor contractions daily. Never done them before? Imagine you are stopping a fart, then a wee, then draw these two feelings in together.

Changing positions can help you prioritise your own orgasm

Is your sex life predictable? If it’s the same position every Tuesday after EastEnders, then, sadly, it is. Mixing things up could make accessing your G-spot easier. Need inspiration? Then have sex somewhere different, such as outside or in the shower.

“Trying new positions is important for increasing your orgasm potential, as is remembering that 70% of women need clitoral stimulation to reach orgasm,” says Annabelle. “Some positions are better for this than others, such as missionary. Make sure that you and your partner move in a circular motion, rather than thrust, as this maximises stimulation.”

Faking an orgasm is a waste of time when it comes to your pleasure

Faking your orgasms because you don’t want to hurt your partner’s feelings? “It’s one of the most damaging things a person can do to their own sexual happiness,” warns Annabelle.

“If your partner’s doing something good in bed, tell them. If they’re not, remind them of a time you experienced pleasure and express a desire to repeat this. Reading erotic fiction together can help, as it includes scenarios you could both explore. This also removes sexual responsibility and eliminates any blame your partner might feel if you were to talk directly to them about something you don’t like.”

Eating right can help you prioritise your orgasm

Feeling hungry? Oysters, chocolate, peppers, eggs and spinach can improve your chances of reaching orgasm. “Aphrodisiacs create a sense of heightened sexual state – sometimes just thinking about an aphrodisiac may work as one,” says Annabelle.

“They can also work by producing chemicals linked to sexual desire and increase blood flow, meaning our genitals have access to a ready supply of blood, which makes them engorged and leads to sexual arousal.”

Knowing that you deserve an orgasm will help you have one

“Women have had a rough deal when it comes to sexual pleasure and many struggle with issues, such as shame,” says Annabelle. In fact, a survey by sex-toy brand Tenga found that only 14% of British females were taught about pleasure as part of their sexual education.

“At school, anything to do with sex is discussed with the view that it’s for procreation and nothing else,” says Annabelle. “This delivers a damaging message to women that their pleasure is not only unimportant, but also not to be expected.”

Why you should seek help if you struggle to orgasm

Feel your sex-to-orgasm ratio isn’t sufficiently balanced? Don’t be afraid to seek help from a professional. “A woman who doesn’t think she has had an orgasm should see her GP. She’s denying herself one of the greatest pleasures life has to offer,” says Annabelle.

Thankfully, there are simple changes that can solve the situation. “Certain medications and medical conditions can contribute to lack of orgasm,” says Annabelle. “Usually, though, it’s purely down to poor sexual technique and not enough lubrication, which can make foreplay and intercourse painful.”

Complete Article HERE!

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How to seduce a man you’ve been with for a long time

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It’s easier than you think!

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No couple’s sex life stays the same as it was in the early days, but that doesn’t mean it has to fizzle out completely.

Want to spice things up again? It doesn’t have to be hard. The easiest way to seduce a man could be as simple as introducing a sex toy into the bedroom or trying one of the best vibrators to use with your partner.

“Using sex toys can be a great way for a woman to seduce her partner,” says sexual wellness expert Megwyn White, who works with the innovative sex-toy brand Satisfyer. “A toy creates a bridge to new parts of the body. It can also spark a creative connection that allows you both to try out new things.”

But that’s not the only way to seduce a man. There are some other easy tricks to help.

How to seduce a man

“Seduction is about more than pumping out Barry White and wearing stockings – although those things can help,” says Sammi Cole, sex and relationship expert at sexual wellness brand Lovehoney. “To seduce a man, you have to make the thought of sex with you the most appealing thing in the world. And, when you’ve been with someone for a long time, that means reminding them of how much you still desire them. Plus, what it is about you that they fell in love with.”

Want to give it a try? Following these rules could transform you from his significant other to his seductress in seconds.

To seduce a man you need to become a detective

First rule of seduction? In the words of the Spice Girls, you have to know what your partner wants – what they really, really want. Often worry that your partner never opens up enough about how he really feels about things in the bedroom? “Seduction has to do with guiding someone into what they secretly wish they could give themselves,” says Megwyn. “You have to be a bit of a detective to figure out what this is. And then figure out how you can bring their fantasies to life.”

And if your partner is still reluctant to open up? Don’t rush them. When it comes to seducing a man, any type of pressure or pushy behaviour could actually do more harm than good. “It can take patience to seduce someone,” says Megwyn. “Create a space for communication and if what you’re trying doesn’t work, then try it a new way the next time. For instance, you might explore reading erotica together and find something that sparks your interest and decide to play it out.”

Why you need to forget sexy lingerie if you want to seduce a man

When it comes to how to seduce a man, you need to think about awakening all his senses first. “Great sex should be a multisensory experience so awakening all his senses will really help,” says Sammi. “Sure, treat yourself to some lingerie that makes you feel fantastic, but think about all the other senses, too.”

Need some extra inspiration? “You could dab on some new perfume or scented body lotion,” says Sammi. “Plus, go for soft lighting, pick out music that helps to get you both in the mood and swap out your usual bedsheets for something a bit more luxurious. The more senses you can delight, the better!”

Then, when you’ve successfully aroused all his senses so he’s putty in your hands, you need to try taking the stimulus away. “Withholding one of the senses, such as blindfolding a partner so he can’t see, will actually help activate the others,” recommends Megwyn.

Getting out of your comfort zone helps with seduction

Feel like you are stuck in a sex rut? “Being familiar with your partner and their body is both a blessing and a curse,” says Sammi. “It’s sometimes hard to feel like a sex goddess when you’re surrounded by reminders of everyday life, and it’s the same with our partners.” The solution? “Do things outside of your usual comfort zone and do them together,” says Sammi. “Whether it’s as simple as a night away in a different setting, it can be enough to renew the way you see each other.” You could even try just moving sex from the bedroom to the sofa.

And while you are having that one night away? It might be a cliché, but pretending to be something you’re not, such as mysterious strangers, can be a seduction technique worth trying. “Lots of couples find role play an easy way to switch up their sexual routine. It helps you to see each other in different ways and free your inhibitions,” says Sammi. “The great thing about the ‘strangers meeting in a bar’ role-play situation is that it can help to recreate that fizz of excitement from when you first met.” Keen to give it a try? “Determine the story ahead of time and decide how the story will end,” recommends Megwyn.

Talking dirty can really help to seduce a man

“Talking dirty is a great way to spice things up,” says Megwyn. Not sure where to start? Don’t worry, there is an easy trick! Simply think about the way your partner speaks and then copy it. “Consider if there are certain sexy words you’ve heard them say over others,” says Sammi. “Chances are, those are the ones that they’re most comfortable hearing and saying, so that’s a great jumping-off point.”

Feeling timid? Try dirty texting. “Not only does it take away the face-to-face fear, but it gives you time to think about what you want to say or do next,” says Sammi. “You could tell them about an X-rated dream you had about them.”

And while this might sound a bit crazy, if you’re willing to give it a go then naming his genitals can actually help to seduce a man. “Try using a name that your partner prefers their genitals to be called,” says Megwyn. “It allows your partner a sense of ownership over their parts. Plus, it invites you to understand the specific way they want to experience their bodies in the moment.”

Just doing nothing can help with seduction

Not feeling confident in your ability to seduce a man? Don’t worry. It doesn’t have to be a big deal. In fact, not putting on too much pressure can help. “Firstly, relax,” says Sammi. “It’s meant to be you and your partner having fun and, if you’re nervous, you won’t enjoy it as much. Besides, laughter is a great aphrodisiac.

Then, put down your phone. “One of the sexiest things that you can do is make time for each other,” says Sammi. “When was the last time you paid proper attention to each other, without looking at your phones or other background distractions? Put aside some time, be it an hour, an evening or a weekend, and spend it reconnecting. You’d be surprised what a difference it can make.”

Still not feeling confident? Humming can help. “All women are sexy, but not all women are comfortable in their skin,” says Megwyn. Sounds like you? Try using primal sounds to express your sexuality. “Humming or mmm-ing can act as a bridge to you using your own voice to self-stimulate through the resonance field of the body,” says Meg. “These sounds will naturally be felt in your sexual centre and feel exciting.”

Complete Article HERE!

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24 Ways You or Your Penis-Having Partner Can Increase Penile Sensitivity

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by Adrienne Santos-Longhurst

For many folks, sexual satisfaction is all about the feels, so if you or your penis-having partner are experiencing decreased sensitivity down there, it could really mess with your ability to get off.

There are a few things that can cause a decrease in penile sensation, from the way a person masturbates to lifestyle habits and hormone imbalances. The good news: There are ways to get back that lovin’ feeling.

To be clear, there’s a big difference between less sensation and numbness.

Having less sensation — which is what we’re focusing on in this article — means you don’t feel as much sensation in your peen as you did before.

A numb penis is a whole other ball of wax and refers to not being able to feel any normal sensation when your penis is touched.

Yep, how you pleasure yourself might be affecting your penile sensation.

What does this have to do with it?

The way you masturbate can lead to decreased sensitivity. Some people call this “death grip syndrome.”

The gist is that people who masturbate using a very specific technique or tight grip can become desensitized to other types of pleasure over time.

When this happens, coming or even getting any pleasure without the exact move or pressure becomes difficult.

If you’re feeling all the feels just fine when you masturbate but find that partner sex is where the sensation is lacking, there are a couple potential reasons.

A thinner or smaller-than-average penis, or even too much lube (natural wetness or synthetic), can mean less friction — and ultimately sensation — during intercourse.

What can you do to help address this?

Just switching up your technique should do the trick and help you recondition your sensitivity.

If death grip is the issue, depending on how you’re used to masturbating, this might mean loosening your grip, stroking at a slower pace, or both.

You could also mix things up with a sex toy made for penis play, like the Super Sucker UR3 Masturbator, which you can buy online, or TENGA Zero Flip Hole Masturbator, which is also available online. And don’t forget the lube!

If intercourse is the issue, some positions make for a tighter fit and therefore more friction.

Here’s a little secret: Tweaking any position so your partner can keep their legs tight together during sex should work.

Plus, if anal sex is what you’re both into, the anus is by nature a tighter squeeze. Just be sure to use a lot of lube if you take it to the backside.

And speaking of a lot of lube: If an abundance of wetness is making sex feel a bit like a Slip ’N Slide, a quick wipe with some tissue should fix it.

Certain lifestyle habits can be to blame for your peen’s lessened sensitivity.

What does this have to do with it?

Do you bicycle a lot? Do you masturbate frequently? These things can cause the sensitivity in your peen to tank if you do them often.

When it comes to masturbation, how often you do it matters if you’re doing it a lot, according to research that has linked hyperstimulation to decreased penile sensitivity.

As for bicycling, bicycle seats put pressure on the perineum — the space between your balls and anus. It presses on blood vessels and nerves that provide feeling to the penis.

Sitting in a hard or uncomfortable chair for long periods can do the same.

What can you do to help address this?

Masturbation is healthy, but if the frequency of your handy treats is causing a problem, taking a break for a week or two can help get your penis feeling back to itself.

If you sit or bicycle for long periods, take regular breaks. Consider swapping out your bike seat or usual chair for something more comfortable.

Testosterone is the male sex hormone responsible for libido, not to mention a bunch of other functions.

If your testosterone (T) level drops, you might feel less responsive to sexual stimulation and have trouble getting aroused.

T levels decrease as you age. Damage to your danglers — aka testicles — can also affect T, as well as certain conditions, substances, and cancer treatment.

Your doctor can diagnose low T with a simple blood test and treat it using testosterone replacement therapy (TRT). Lifestyle changes, like regular exercise, maintaining a moderate weight, and getting more sleep can also help.

Certain medical conditions and medications can affect sensation in the penis.

What does this have to do with it?

Diabetes and multiple sclerosis (MS) are just a couple conditions that can damage nerves and affect sensation in different body parts, including the penis.

Medications used to treat Parkinson’s disease can also reduce penile sensation as a side effect.

Ensuring that any underlying condition is well managed might help bring the feels back.

If medication’s the culprit, your doctor may be able to adjust your dose or change your medication.

Sexual pleasure isn’t just about your D. Your brain plays a big role, too.

What does this have to do with it?

If you’re dealing with anxiety, stress, depression, or any other mental health issue, getting in the mood can be near impossible. And even if you really want to get down to business, your penis may not be as receptive.

What can you do to help address this?

It really depends on what’s going on mentally.

Taking some time to unwind before sexy time can help if you’re feeling stressed or anxious.

A hot bath or shower can help your mind and muscles relax. The warm water also increases circulation, which can help increase sensitivity and make your skin more responsive to touch.

If you’re regularly struggling with feelings of anxiety or depression, or having trouble coping with stress, reach out for help.

Talk to a friend or loved one, see a healthcare provider, or find a local mental health provider through the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA).

Not to be punny, but try to not beat yourself silly over this.

We get how frustrating it must be to not be able to enjoy the sensation you want or expect during sexual activity.

Here are some things to keep in mind if you’re struggling.

It’s probably not permanent

Chances are your lessened penile sensation can be improved.

As we’ve already covered, changes in technique, getting in the right frame of mind, or some lifestyle tweaks may be all that’s needed to get your penis feeling right again.

A healthcare provider can help with any underlying medical or mental health issues and recommend the right treatments.

Go easy on yourself

We’re not just talking about choking your chicken either! Stressing about this and putting pressure on yourself will only make things worse in the pleasure department.

Give yourself time to relax and get in the mood before play, and permission to stop and try another time if you’re not feeling it.

Don’t be embarrassed to ask for help

Penis health and sexual health are just as important as other aspects of your health.

If there’s something going on with your penis or your ability to enjoy sexual activity, a professional can help.

Good penis health is in your hands

You can’t control everything, but there are things you can do to help keep your penis healthy:

  • Eat a healthy diet, including foods shown to boost penis health by lowering inflammation and improving T levels and circulation.
  • Get regular exercise to improve mood and T levels, manage your weight, and lower your risk for erectile dysfunction and other conditions.
  • Learn to relax and find healthy ways to cope with stress to improve your T levels, mood, sleep, and overall health.

If it’s your partner who’s struggling with lessened sensitivity down there, don’t worry. Chances are there’s a good reason for it, and it’s probably not what you think.

Here are some things to keep in mind if it’s getting to you.

Don’t take it personally

Your first instinct may be to blame yourself if your partner isn’t enjoying sex. Try to not do this.

Sounds harsh, but: Not your penis, not your problem.

As a loving partner, of course you want them to feel good. But unless you’ve damaged their penis by taking a hammer to it, their lessened penile sensitivity isn’t your fault, so don’t make it about you.

I repeat, don’t make it about you

Seriously, it’s not your penis!

As frustrated as you might be, keep it to yourself

Not trying to dismiss your feelings or anything, but as frustrated as you may be that your partner isn’t feeling it even when you pull out your best moves, it’s probably a lot more frustrating for them.

That said, if your partner’s lack of sensation results in a marathon shag sesh that causes chafing to your nether regions, of course you have the right to take a break or stop. It’s your body, after all. Just be mindful of how you say it.

Ask what your partner needs from you

EVERYONE should be asking what their partner needs when it comes to sex and relationships. It’s the key to making both great.

Do they need a little time to relax before action moves to the peen? Do they need more foreplay that focuses on other pleasure spots to help them get in the mood? Do they want to just stop altogether? Don’t be afraid to ask.

If you’ve lost some of that lovin’ feeling down below, your lifestyle and pleasure routine — solo or partnered — may provide some clues. If not, your doctor or other healthcare provider can help.

In the meantime, be patient and kind with yourself, and consider some of your other pleasure zones for satisfaction.

Complete Article ↪HERE↩!

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6 Ways To Have Better Sex In Your 40s, 50s & Beyond

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by Susan Hardwick-Smith, MD

As a practicing gynecologist for over 20 years, I’m all too familiar with the struggles that women face in midlife, especially when it comes to decreased (or nonexistent) libidos and disconnected, unsatisfying relationships. In fact, this issue is one of the core focuses of my medical practice, which is dedicated to women in midlife.

When you look at the perfect storm that we face beginning in our 40s and 50s—disappearing fertility, hormonal changes, children leaving the nest, aging or dying parents—it’s no wonder that our relationships and our sex drive get put on the back burner and begin to wilt. After a while, we feel as if we have completely lost our sexual being, which is a depressing conclusion to come to, and one that I sought to challenge.

I’ve been there personally, and I’m here to tell you with confidence that your life does have the potential to grow richer over the years, and that includes having the best sex of your life after 40, 50, 60, and beyond! No matter how you might feel right now, know that your sexual being has not died. It is just “taking a nap,” as I say to my patients.

I know this to be true from my own personal transformation as well as through the extensive research study I conducted for my book Sexually Woke. I studied a group of over 1,000 women between the ages of 45 and 65 and discovered that 7% of women in midlife have fulfilling sex lives and relationships. (Other studies have found up to 1 in 5 women saying the same!) While this percentage might seem small, the fact that this is true for some women—whom I call the “sexually woke”—means that it is possible for all of us.

Here are six ways you can begin to reawaken your sexual being and enjoy pleasure in your 50s and beyond:

1. Shift your mindset about what “sex” means.

We typically think of sex as vaginal intercourse. However, we should shift our mindset to define it as “intimate physical contact.” Physical intimacy is key in healthy relationships, and vaginal intercourse is not always a pleasurable way to express this. In fact, only 4 out of 10 women regularly have an orgasm through vaginal intercourse.

As we experience hormonal and physical changes in midlife, vaginal intercourse becomes increasingly difficult, if not agonizingly impossible. There are countless other ways to express intimate physical contact—the only criteria is that it creates pleasure for both parties. This could include cuddling, touching, and rubbing the genitalia together. Focus on whatever expression of sexual intimacy conveys a feeling of connection equally to you both.

2. Prioritize connection.

As we age, orgasm becomes increasingly difficult to achieve, and when it is our final goal, this can cause stress and disconnection that prevents physical intimacy. Instead of fixating on the climax itself, focus on connecting with your partner. The process of connection can be as enjoyable as orgasm itself as you and your partner grow closer together in your physical intimacy.

Research shows that the most reliable way for a woman to achieve orgasm after 50 is with a vibrator or toy, so it’s time to try this out if you haven’t already—partner or not!

Not only do we require more stimulation as we age, but we also can benefit from new types of stimulation. This can be a fun new experience and way to reawaken your sexual being—with or without a partner—as you explore your body in a different and exciting way.

4. Love yourself as you are.

One of my key findings about women in midlife with vibrant sex lives is that they are comfortable in their own skin and familiar with their bodies and what they like and don’t like when it comes to sex. Changes to our bodies and to our sexual anatomy are inevitable as we age, especially if we have children. It’s important that we accept these changes and feel content and deeply connected to ourselves; otherwise, a deep connection with our partner is impossible.

While I believe in loving yourself as you are, I also believe in the power of taking the initiative to address the changes in our sexual bodies that happen due to aging—like vaginal dryness and decreased sensitivity. There are a number of products available to improve sexual desire and functioning, both topically in the form of lubes and creams as well as more in-depth surgical and nonsurgical treatments. Talk to your doctor about what the procedures, products, or other options might be helpful for you.

5. Tune in to your spirituality.

My research affirmed a connection between spiritual wellness and sexual satisfaction. Spirituality looks different for everyone—it can be God, yoga, meditation, nature, or conscious generosity practices. The essential common thread is a deep understanding of connection to something bigger than yourself based in love, connection, and compassion.

While our 30s and 40s are often devoted to work, raising kids, or both, giving us little time for self-reflection, our midlife years offer an opportunity to start relieving ourselves of those burdens, hardships, and resentments. Journaling and meditation can help with this process. Resentment is the No. 1 libido crusher for women, so forgiveness and restoring our relationships are key for healthy, satisfying sex lives in our 50s and beyond.

6. Communicate and be intentional.

Being intentional with your partner is sexy. Small, daily moments of presence, attention, and recognition keep the fire of love alive. Something as small as how you greet each other and say goodbye can make a huge difference in your passion levels. Giving your partner your full attention, even if for a minute, acknowledges that you care about their happiness, and this communication will increase desire in your physical relationship as well.

Complete Article HERE!

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“How lockdown helped me discover my sexuality”

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For some, lockdown provided an important space to reflect on their sexuality and gender identity.

By El Hunt

What did you learn about yourself during lockdown? Besides discovering that I have a worryingly forensic knowledge of Sex and the City’s finest plot details and a surprising talent for line-dancing, I also twigged how much I was on guard in pre-COVID times. The truth is LGBTQ+ people have been staying alert long before it became a lurid yellow and green slogan, and when life began slowly inching back towards something that more closely resembles normality, I realised how exhausting it is.

Skipping the streets of Soho recently, visibly queer once again due to my quite staggering levels of pandemic-date-PDA, the homophobic comments, wolf-whistles and leery requests I unfondly remember from before the lockdown were back in full force. Before the pandemic, I was practically a professional when it came to shooting icy looks at men who swaggered up in the middle of dates to ask if they could “join in” or shoving my hand safely into my pocket after catching a stranger glaring at me holding hands with a woman – these daily interruptions were so routine that it was practically muscle memory. Now, it feels more jarring, because for a few blissful months I’d mostly forgotten that homophobia even existed.

I’m lucky enough to share a flat with a fellow queer, and so my lockdown was completely free of the anxiety that comes with encountering rogue bigots in everyday life. Having that extra space surprised me. I thought I’d just knock together a few sourdough loaves, and puff my way through Couch to 5k with the help of Sophie Ellis Bextor’s greatest hits. Instead it ended up becoming an important place to experiment with how I wanted to express myself.

I’ve always preferred dressing like a especially garish character from Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 and shopping in the men’s section. But in the past, I’ve deliberately toned it down honestly, to avoid drawing attention to myself. But during lockdown, I sort of stopped caring about what other people think. This was no doubt helped along by months without the pressure of being looked at by strangers. Plus, it’s given me more time to think more about what I actually want from relationships when this pandemic finally ends.

I’m not alone in going through this period of reflection and experimentation, either. For many queer people, it seems lockdown and the pandemic has given them to space and time to think about their identities.

“It gave me a chance to think about queer means for my gender identity”

says Alex*,32, from East London

For years, Alex has worked in diversity and inclusion for LGBTQ+ organisations and has long been vocal about standing up for other people and their experiences. Growing up in Yorkshire, “I always knew that I was attracted to everyone,” they say. None of the labels that people applied to Alex early on felt right and bi and lesbian didn’t fit. Then they heard the word queer, and thought, “that works for me.” Up until recently Alex had only considered queerness in terms of how it related to sexuality. “I never had a chance to think about what the word queer means for my gender identity,” they say. A couple of weeks ago they began using she/they pronouns.

“It was life without any kind of binary 9-to-5… or binary anything”

Alex has been living with their girlfriend during lockdown, “and that’s been a really supportive and safe space to have conversations and explore,” they say. “One day I put on my girlfriend’s dress and wandered around the house in that and it felt quite good actually! It’s only through being in the house that I’ve been able to not worry so much about it anymore. Besides, everyone’s queuing for Sainsbury’s in their slippers. Nobody’s going be looking at me in a dress.”

Alex reckons that stepping away the bustle of everyday London life – with its sardine-like commutes and endless pub trips – presented a rare opportunity. “It was life without any kind of binary 9-to-5, or binary anything,” they say. “It’s given me a chance to think about life without binary sexual orientation, or a binary gender. You can just be everything, anything or nothing and that’s OK.”

As the strictest restrictions have lifted, Alex has found it jarring experiencing homophobia for the first time in months. Recently a stranger shouted abuse when they were out on a walk with their girlfriend. “My brain has been able to rest from it. I wasn’t on high alert wondering whether we can walk down this street together. It feels a bit like I’ve taken back the time I’ve spent in the past being anxious and feeling edgy. I’ve used that energy to think more about myself.”

I’ve finally realised who I am”

says Steffe, 34, from Huddersfield

For Steffe, a mum of three who lives in Huddersfield, lockdown has been a difficult journey. Before the pandemic hit, she worked as a nurse in the NHS, but was signed off from work just before the lockdown. Five months ago, her nine-year relationship with the father of her two youngest came to an end. They had been struggling to make things work, and in February they reached breaking point. Steffe proposed on a trip to London, and her ex said no. “I always thought marriage was what I wanted,” she says. “ I tried to put a plaster on my relationship.”

The upheaval led Steffe to reflect on what she actually wanted. “I’d been with a few girls before I got with my ex. I’d always wanted a threesome, but actually I think it was more about me wanting to be with a girl. Now I’ve started to think about what’s actually important, and what my core values are. And loving who you love – that’s a massive core value.”

“It has been a really hard time, with a lot of transitions.”

In lockdown, Steffe found space to experiment. She shaved her hair, and has been trying out different colours. Cut off from LGBTQ+ venues, lesbian accounts on TikTok became an important outlet where she could be herself. “I’ve not got any LGBTQ+ friends,” she says. “So I’m finding it really difficult in the pandemic. I want to have some fun but I’m stuck in straightville. It’s no fun there!”

When Pride came around in June, Steffe decided to come out on social media “I posted that I was bisexual, but to be honest I don’t know what I am at the moment,” she explains. I’m still on that journey. I don’t want to put a label on it.”

She doesn’t view her time in lockdown with rose-tinted glasses. “People say we’re all in the same boat, but really, we’re all in the same storm, in different boats. Some of the boats have a hole in,” she points out. “It has been a really hard time, with a lot of transitions. I had to really figure myself out. But I’ve had time to think, and I’ve finally realised who I am. I know that I can shape my own future now.”

To feel safe in a space that isn’t your home is worth its weight in gold”

says Bec, 30, from Doncaster

At the beginning of this year, student Bec was just beginning to think more about their gender identity. Before the pandemic effectively bolted the doors of every club in the country shut, they would go to south London LGBTQ+ venue The Chateau almost every weekend. “Being in that space gave me a lot of confidence,” Bec says, “because I was around a lot of people I could see were like me. Not having that during lockdown has been really hard. To feel safe in a space that isn’t your home, that really is worth its weight in gold.”

Earlier this year, Bec lived with their sister and a queer friend in a flatshare in south London. At home and out at LGBTQ+ venues they felt safe, but also felt slightly wary towards other public spaces. “For ages I felt very uncomfortable in the clothes that I owned,” they explain, “but I didn’t know how to swan back into uni wearing something totally different. I think I was worried about feeling noticeable to people.” The extra space afforded by lockdown changed things, Bec says. “I’ve had a shield to be myself, for nobody else but me.” The earlier restrictions around meeting up also “opened up pockets of space,” to speak to friends one-on-one about their non-binary identity and using they/them pronouns.

Around a month ago, Bec ended up moving in with their parents in Doncaster – a financial choice because of the impact of the pandemic. “In an ideal world, I wouldn’t have chosen this,” they say. “My mum is White British, and my dad is Congolese. Culturally for my dad, gender isn’t spoken about that much within his immediate family. There’s a religious aspect with both of my parents as they’re Christians. And so there was an added layer of nervousness coming home.”

The first couple of weeks were uncomfortable. Their parents were inadvertently using the wrong pronouns, and Bec wasn’t sure how to broach the subject. Then their dad brought it up over dinner and noticed that they were “dressing very differently.”

“Once it did come up, he responded quite well,” Bec says. “He’s really trying and putting in some work. When he comes downstairs he usually says, ‘Hi girls’. The other morning he said, ‘Hi humans’ instead. We all had a laugh about that.”

Months on from the initial lockdown, our lives remain drastically different – and it’s taxing for many LGBTQ+ people being isolated from their community. Virtually every queer venue in the country remains closed, and any return to normality feels a long way away. But for some of us, perhaps this unexpected time away from the daily grind has also shown how restrictive “normal” life really was sometimes. Forget about the new normal – when all of this eventually blows over, I’m planning on focusing more on the new me.

Complete Article HERE!

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The Term ‘Sexual Preference’ Is Outdated, Offensive, and Incorrect

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By Erin Bunch

During Tuesday’s confirmation hearing at the Senate Judiciary Committee, Judge Amy Coney Barrett, President Trump‘s latest nominee to the Supreme Court, utilized the term “sexual preference” in discussions surrounding LGTBQ+ discrimination. Specifically, she stated that she “would not discriminate on basis of sexual preference” if confirmed.

While Barrett, 47, is not alone in deploying this phrase to describe different types of attraction (physical, romantic, or emotional), it is an antiquated term; in fact, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) has been recommending its eradication from our vocabularies for at least 20 years.

“Sexual preference” is not just old-school lingo, either. “It’s offensive because it’s used by anti-LGBTQ+ activists to suggest that being gay, lesbian, or bisexual is voluntary or a choice and therefore ‘curable,’ like through debunked conversion therapy, which actively harms LGBTQ+ people and should be banned everywhere,” says Barbara Simon, head of news and campaigns at GLAAD. According to research, more than 700,000 people in the LGTBQ+ have been subjected to this form of abuse. It is not condoned by any major medical organization, and no studies have shown it to be effective in changing sexual orientation.

Use of the term “sexual preference” is a microaggression that gaslights the lived reality of LGBTQ+ folks while endangering their physical and mental wellbeing. The accepted phrase to use instead, according to GLAAD, is “sexual orientation” or simply “orientation.”

If you are a member of the LGBTQ+ community and want to correct someone who’s used this term, Simon recommends the following template: “”Sexual preference’ is not a thing. What I think you mean is ‘sexual orientation,’ and it’s a scientifically accurate term for a person’s enduring physical, romantic, and emotional attraction to members of the same-sex, or if you are straight, to members of the opposite sex (being straight is a sexual orientation too!). Sexual ‘preference’ is an inaccurate, outdated, offensive term. Being gay is simply how I’m oriented and who I happily am.’”

Simon also points out that Barrett does indeed have a personal history of discrimination based on sexual orientation—as lawyer and Well+Good contributor Jill Filipovic tweeted Tuesday, and as evidenced by Barrett’s views on marriage for same-sex couples and gender identity. While this doesn’t necessarily mean she would rule according to her personal values as a Supreme Court justice, this history—and the judge’s use of a discriminatory term while on the most important public stage of her life—does not exactly paint her as an LGBTQ+ ally that, if appointed, will allow the LGBTQ+ community to rest easy in the knowledge that their rights will continue to be expanded or protected.

After all, Barrett is a lawyer and a judge and as such, her words are not accidentally spoken but rather carefully chosen. It’s important to hear them as they are intended to be heard.

Complete Article HERE!

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How to make wearing a face mask sexy in the bedroom

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Don’t live with your partner, single or just in a casual relationship? Then combining social distancing with sex can be tricky. And sweaty.

By

But there are – amazingly – things you can do to help make wearing a face mask sexy. Which means, you can still stay protected from Covid-19, but have fun at the same time. Not sure if they will work for you? Then get your hands on one of the best vibrators – potentially one which can be controlled via Bluetooth – and enjoy some solo fun instead. Win, win.

But you don’t have to just take our word for it. These top tips are thanks to sex expert Kate Moyle, who has joined forces with sexual wellness brand Lelo UK. So, here’s everything you need to know about staying sexy while wearing a face mask. Plastic gloves or hand gel: optional!

1 How to make a face mask sexy: use distraction

Let’s be honest. There’s no hiding the fact that you’re wearing a face mask. But, as they have become the new norm, it’s definitely easier to blend in while wearing one. And that’s the same in the bedroom. You just need a few clever distraction techniques to help.

“If you’re finding that incorporating a mask into your routine is distracting, then try and change your environment to take away from that,” says Kate. “Dim the lights, use candles or put on music to introduce more sensual cues. This will also help you to relax and be more in the moment. Adding an eye mask or blindfold too, can completely help you get into the moment.”

2 Have fun with the mask

Luckily, things have moved on from when masks first became mandatory, and now there are endless designs to choose from. Want to live out one of your sexual fantasies? Now is the time. “You can use the mask playfully as a part of a theme, outfit or character play and this can incorporate it into the sexual experience rather than it being the standout feature,” says Kate. “Incorporating it into an outfit/role play can make it feel like a funner and more playful way of introducing it into the bedroom space.”

3 Tease and build anticipation

Sometimes it’s the thought of something that is more erotic than the actual event. Use that to your advantage and focus on other areas of the body. If you’re not face to face, then the masks won’t seem as important. “Anticipation is the most natural aphrodisiac that we have,” says Kate. “Building that up will increase desire and arousal. Spend time focusing on the areas of the body that you wouldn’t usually during sex. This can help to make you explore erogenous zones and take your attention elsewhere.”

4 Try different positions

Hate not kissing during sex? Then take it completely off the table by switching positions. “To achieve kissing-free sex you may find it easier to have sex in positions like the reverse cowgirl, or doggy style,” says Kate. “This is where your faces aren’t close together, and you aren’t directly looking at each other so it takes away the attention drawn to the mask.” Being away from the bedroom, outside or even on the sofa can also help.

5 How to make a face mask sexy? Go tantric

Never tried tantric sex? Now is the perfect opportunity. “Try connecting together in other ways,” says Kate. “This could be synchronised breathing, or touch and play that is with your eyes closed and uses the sensation of touch. The basics of tantric sex are about connection, which can be done through breathing and eye contact.”

6 Utilise sensory props

From feathers to massage, sensory props are great for distracting from the face mask you’re wearing. “Novelty is an important factor of sex lives, and use this as an opportunity to get creative and work around the mask,” says Kate. “Texture, pressure, speed and temperature are all ways that you can mix it up and explore together. Sex toys, such as rabbit vibrators, can be used all over the body. They are great for teasing the thighs, and running up and down the spine, rather than just focusing on the genitals.”

7 Add some viewing or listening pleasure

Still worried about wearing your mask and not looking sexy? “You can also use prompts like audio erotica,” says Kate. “Or, try watching porn together. It can help to boost your imagination, desire and arousal by adding a different type of sexual stimulation.”

Complete Article HERE!

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Drugs that interfere with sexual function

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By Naveed Saleh MD, MS

Sexual function is multiphasic and involves sexual desire, arousal, and orgasm. Men and women can experience issues at any phase, with presentations including decreased desire, premature/retrograde/absent ejaculation, erectile dysfunction, anorgasmia, painful sex, and absence of swelling/lubrication in women.

Some commonly prescribed drugs cause disaster in the bedroom.

Sexual dysfunction can be a side effect of various prescription medications, as well as the conditions that they treat. Some of these treatments, such as antidepressants and antihypertensives, likely come as no surprise to the clinician, and are commonly implicated etiologies. Although sexual dysfunction due to drugs happens in both sexes, the preponderance of extant research has focused on men.

Here are seven types of drugs that also contribute to sexual dysfunction.

Antiandrogens

Antiandrogens are used to treat a gamut of androgen-dependent diseases, including benign prostatic hyperplasia, prostate cancer, paraphilias, hypersexuality, and priapism, as well as precocious puberty in boys. The androgen-blocking effect of these drugs—including cimetidine, cyproterone, digoxin, and spironolactone—decreases sexual desire in both sexes, as well as impacting arousal and orgasm.

Immunosuppressants

Prednisone and other steroids commonly used to treat chronic inflammatory conditions decrease testosterone levels, thus compromising sexual desire in men and leading to erectile dysfunction.

Sirolimus and everolimus, which are steroid-sparing agents used in the setting of kidney transplant, can mitigate gonadal function and lead to erectile dysfunction.

HIV meds

Results from a cross-sectional observational study (n=90) published in AIDS indicated that HIV-infected men with stable disease experienced sexual dysfunction while on antiretroviral therapy.

“Older age, depression and lipodystrophy, combined with the duration of exposure to protease inhibitor, determined a lower score on various sexual dysfunction domains,” the researchers wrote.

“There is a high prevalence of erectile dysfunction in HIV-infected men, with age and the duration of exposure to protease inhibitor being the only identifiable risk factors,” they concluded.

Cancer treatments

Both cancer and cancer treatment can impair sexual relationships. Moreover, cancer treatment itself can further contribute to sexual dysfunction. For instance, long-acting gonadotropin-releasing agonists used to treat prostate and breast cancer can lead to hypogonadism that results in lower sexual desire, orgasmic dysfunction, erectile dysfunction in men, and vaginal atrophy/dyspareunia in women.

Antipsychotics

Per the research, men taking antipsychotic medications report erectile dysfunction, less interest in sex, and lower satisfaction with orgasm with delayed, inhibited, or retrograde ejaculation. Women on antipsychotics report lower sexual desire, difficulty achieving orgasm, anorgasmia, and impaired orgasm quality.

“The majority of antipsychotics cause sexual dysfunction by dopamine receptor blockade,” according to the authors of a review article published in the Australian Prescriber. “This causes hyperprolactinaemia with subsequent suppression of the hypothalamic–pituitary–gonadal axis and hypogonadism in both sexes. This decreases sexual desire and impairs arousal and orgasm. It also causes secondary amenorrhoea and loss of ovarian function in women and low testosterone in men.” Antipsychotics may also affect other neurotransmitter pathways, including histamine blockade, noradrenergic blockade, and anticholinergic effects, the authors added.

Antiepileptic drugs

Many men with epilepsy complain of sexual dysfunction, which is likely multifactorial and due to the pathogenesis of the disease and anti-epileptic drugs, per the results of observational and clinical studies.

Specifically, antiepileptic drugs such as carbamazepine, phenytoin, and sodium valproate could dysregulate the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis, thus resulting in sexual dysfunction. Carbamazepine and other liver-inducing antiepileptic drugs could also heighten blood levels of sex hormone-binding globulin, thus plummeting testosterone bioactivity. Both sodium valproate and carbamazepine have been linked to disruption in sex-hormone levels, sexual dysfunction, and changes in semen measures.

Antihistamines

Histamine likely plays an important role in penile erection by activity of the H2—and possibly the H3—receptor, per the research. In fact, histamine has been suggested as a diagnostic tool to study erectile dysfunction. Consequently, it should come as no surprise that antihistamines—such as diphenhydramine, dimenhydrinate, and promethazine—may lead to erectile dysfunction.

Bottom line

It’s important for clinicians to realize the potential for a wide variety of drugs to contribute to problems in the bedroom. If a patient experiences trouble having sex, they may discontinue use of the drug altogether. Consequently, physicians must tailor treatment plans with patients and their partners in mind.

The key to assessing sexuality is to foster an open discussion with the patient concerning sexual function and providing effective strategies to address these concerns.

Complete Article HERE!

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