What Does It Actually Mean To Be Sexually Fluid?

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It’s not the same as being bisexual.

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[R]ecently, I was speaking with a friend about sexuality and labels: She has fallen in love with both men and women, and cannot quite pin down her orientation.

She doesn’t feel fully lesbian and she doesn’t feel fully straight. But bisexual somehow doesn’t strike her as the right fit, either.

Hers is more an attraction she can categorize on a person-to-person basis and it has evolved over the years, but when pressed to define it herself, no single word surfaces.

I had two words to suggest: sexually fluid.

Sexually, what? This concept can be difficult to wrap your mind around, and comes with a lot of confusion.

What Is Sexual Fluidity?

“I define sexual fluidity as a capacity for a change in sexual attraction—depending on changes in situational or environmental or relationship conditions,” says Lisa Diamond, Ph.D., professor of psychology and gender studies at the University of Utah. Diamond should know: she literally wrote the book on this matter, Sexual Fluidity: Understanding Women’s Love and Desire.

Sexual fluidity: The idea that sexual orientation can change over time, and depending on the situation at hand.

The concept of sexual fluidity doesn’t negate the existence of sexual orientation (heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, and so forth). Rather, fluidity builds in a little wiggle room, Diamond says.

Not quite getting it? Rena McDaniel—a clinical sexologist and licensed therapist—suggests thinking about a spectrum, with attraction to women-identifying people on the left side, and male-identifying people on the right. Your attraction profile exists within a bracket on that spectrum, and that bracket can slide: At age 22, for example, your attraction bracket might sit closer to the left, but by 30, you might find it’s shifted a few degrees to the right.

“You may, for instance, be attracted to the more feminine side of the gender spectrum, and over time, that may evolve and you may find yourself attracted to…people on more the masculine side…and that—over your lifetime—may shift and change,” McDaniel says.

That’s not to say a person chooses their sexual orientation, though: Rather, it means that the degree to which they’re attracted to men or women, or whoever, might vary somewhat over time.

In other words, sexual fluidity does not mean once I was exclusively attracted to men, and now I’m exclusively attracted to women, but something closer to I was once attracted to men and women, but these days I find myself attracted more or less exclusively to women. That migration can depend on a person’s experiences, Diamond adds, and on their personal relationships.

How Is It Different Than Bisexuality?

“Are you not just describing bisexuality?” I hear someone muttering off in the distance. Diamond says she gets that question a lot, and in truth, the two concepts do share much in common.

The confusion isn’t helped by a lack of agreement, even among bisexual people, as to what bisexual means: For some, it’s attraction to both genders; for others, it’s not caring about gender at all and gauging attraction on the basis of the person in front of you.

Bisexuality, she continues, “is a real orientation, it does exist, and I’ve seen a lot of people in the bisexual orientation experience themselves as consistently over time being attracted to both women and men. Maybe not to the exact same degrees—it doesn’t have to be 50/50—but they are consistently attracted to both women and men.”

Fluidity, meanwhile, connotes change over time: “Someone who’s fluid, they aren’t necessarily going to consistently experience attraction for both women and men,” Diamond explains. “There may be times in their life that they are more aware of attraction toward one gender, and times in their life when they’re attracted to the other gender.”

Further, not everyone exhibits the same degree of fluidity—and some people don’t experience fluidity at all, which is also fine. You can be the most open-minded person in the world and still not summon up attraction for a man-identifying or woman-identifying person, because again, you don’t get to choose sexual orientation.

And while Diamond’s research used to indicate that women-identified people were more fluid than male-identified, that’s changing. Many men are increasingly comfortable describing themselves as mostly heterosexual, Diamond notes.

Complete Article HERE!

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What is hyposexuality and how does it affect you?

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If you have a low sex drive – or no sex drive – you might feel like you’re alone.

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[S]ex is everywhere, from raunchy song lyrics to sexy advertising campaigns, everyone’s doing it, right?

Well, not quite.

You’re not on your own if your desire for sex is pretty much non-existent.

In fact, most men and women will experience a low sex drive at some point in their lives.

Hyposexuality, explains sex and relationship therapist Lianne Young, is a recognised condition where a person has no interest in engaging in sexual intercourse and sexual play.

‘It is best explained as a lack of sexual libido in both men and women.

‘Sometimes people just stop having sex or stop doing their favourite sexual things.

‘Some times they even stop masturbating all together because of a lack of desire.

‘Low sex drive comes under the name hyposexuality as it is linked to emotional and physical connections.

‘However, If you have desire but not arousal this could be down to a medical condition or something you are taking, and if you have no desire this could be down to stress, depression or another set of medical conditions.

‘Therefore it is very important to understand the difference between arousal and desire.’

However, hyposexuality is not to be confused with Hypersexuality, commonly referred to as sex addiction, a disorder where the constant need for sex can have a detrimental effect on home and work life.

Lianne explained: ‘The most obvious sign that you suffer from hyposexuality is the lack of desire to want sex and a lack of sexual arousal.

‘Desire for sex is an emotional and psychological and mental process and it’s important to understand that the two are different, especially with couples as people need to understand that they don’t always go together.

‘It’s possible to feel desire and your body cannot act on the desire.’

At different stages, it is normal to lose a desire for sex – after having a baby, during menopause and at times of stress are just some times when sexual desire drops.

Medication can sometimes have an effect as well as other mental health issues.

‘Talking to your doctor at the first sign can help explain what the cause for your low libido,’ explains Lianne.

‘When it comes to sexuality there are a lot of ways in which health impacts people’s sexual functioning, sexual feelings, sexual behaviours and sexual decision-making and they should not be ignored.

‘There are going to be questions and issues that naturally arise during our lives concerning sex and they should be spoken about for both one’s mental and physical health.’

‘Hyposexuality can be treated with medicine and counselling.

‘Medications can be the cause of some sexual issues, for some people they can prevent arousal or interfere with the orgasm or it has a significant impact on sexual functioning by lowering the libido.

‘It can be treated as easy as removing something from your diet.’

But the first step is making sure you speak to your GP.

‘Most people will suffer from a decreased libido at some time in their lives.

‘People should not be embarrassed about having hyposexuality as it could be down to something as simple as your medication.

‘Sex is a normal activity in life so if something feels different then you should seek help to find out the root cause of the problem, sex is as normal as eating and should be openly spoken about.

‘Unfortunately sex is sometimes not openly discussed and this stops people wanting to talk about its effect with their partner.

‘Sometimes people just stop having sex, or stop doing their favorite sexual things when there is no need.

‘By recognising it as something everyone goes through in life this will help others talk to their doctors when it happens to them.’

Complete Article HERE!

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How to Stay Positive When Everyone Around You Is Negative

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By Bianca Mendez

[I]t’s so easy to end up in a bad mood when someone close to you is feeling down. Being there for our friends, family, and partners when they’re going through a hard time is really important, especially if they’re experiencing something genuinely traumatic, like the loss of a loved one. On the other hand, we all have at least one friend who throws a helluva pity-party when they’re just not feeling good about themselves or the world around them.

When our friends are down—whatever the situation is—it’s also critical that we take care of ourselves. It can be hard to take an emotional step back when people close to you are going through a funk, but once you’re sucked into that black hole of negativity, it can be even harder to fight your way out.

Emotions Really Are Contagious

Ever wonder why someone else’s moods can affect you so much? A 2017 study found that teens who surrounded themselves with negative friends also found their moods to worsen over time, a process known as social contagion.

“Scientifically, we talk about the mirror neurons in the brain that are purposely created so we can be empathically able to experience what someone else is feeling,” says Kate Dow, Ph.D., a psychologist and certified wellness coach for women. “The challenge is if you are a very sensitive person, that empathy becomes an open door to taking on other people’s feelings and not being able to have a sense of self to hold onto.”

“It’s the way we’re wired,” says Jonathan Alpert, psychotherapist and author of Be Fearless: Change Your Life in 28 Days. “We try to connect to people, and we do that first by picking up on how they feel and then bringing a level of understanding and support.”

So when your Facebook friend from high school decides to post for the tenth time today about how much her life sucks, or when your coworker is counteracting everything you say with a negative remark, here are some tips from life experts to keep your sanity intact.

1. Acknowledge your funk.

If you’ve fallen into negative thinking because of your friend, the first step toward a positive mindset is consciously accepting that you’re currently in a state of negativity. “Knowing that you’ve fallen into it is a huge advantage,” Dow says.

2. Give yourself a pep talk.

If you know you’re going to see someone who’s in a bad place emotionally, prepare yourself before you interact with them. Dow suggests giving yourself a pep talk before going in—one that acknowledges the fact that you’re going to face this person, that they will be upset, and end with an affirmation stating that you will choose not to take on their emotions. This way, you can have more perspective on your friend’s situation and you’ll give yourself more of a choice about whether or not to be upset, Dow says.

Try pushing the negative self-doubt away by giving yourself a compliment.

3. Get your friend out of their head.

If you’re stuck hearing about your friend’s frustration over their boss and how everything is going wrong for them, your initial reaction may be to nod in agreement. But Alpert suggests a different route: Allow your friend to vent for a few minutes, then redirect.

“If someone is complaining all the time and you’re agreeing with them, you’re reinforcing that behavior, and that may not be so healthy,” says Alpert. Offer an alternative way to look at solutions, such as discussing what’s going well in their life or a shared interest.

Of course, this advice is only good for smaller irritations—if your friend is going through something life-altering, it’s good to let them talk about their feelings as much as they may need to.

4. Set boundaries.

“We only have so much we can give to people,” Alpert says. “Make sure you’re taking care of yourself and your needs are met.” When we get wrapped up in friends’ and loved ones’ drama, we can forget about ourselves. But when you’re at your wit’s end with your pal, setting time apart could be what heals your friendship. Focus on other activities you love or spend time with other people in your life. “Not hanging out with them isn’t about being mean or judgmental,” Dow says. “It’s self-care, and ultimately, it’s each of our responsibilities to ourselves.”

5. Step away from technology.

Being connected at all times has its downsides, and if you’re dealing with your BFF’s issues at 11 p.m., you’re setting yourself up for problems. Try turning off your phone, removing social media apps, or even deactivating accounts until you’re feeling better. “If you don’t take a break, your brain and body are experiencing high-stress stakes constantly, and chronic stress can lead to getting sick,” Dow says.

6. Show gratitude.

A gateway to a positive mind starts by appreciating what you have. In fact, a study performed at the University of Miami found a link between gratitude and happiness. Two groups wrote something every day about their lives: One group focused on things they were grateful for; the other, their irritations. The participants who wrote about gratitude felt happier and better about themselves after ten weeks than the group who focused on griping. And like negativity, gratitude spreads: Another study found that couples who expressed gratitude for one another had more loving, trustworthy relationships.

7. Practice being kind to yourself.

We’re our worst critics, and once we’re in a bad mood, we can’t help but continue to beat ourselves down. Try pushing the negative self-doubt away by giving yourself a compliment. “Positive focus helps support our positive mindset,” Dow says. She suggests setting an intention every day promoting a healthier, kinder attitude.

8. Reframe your thoughts.

If you catch yourself using a lot of negative phrases and bringing yourself down, try looking at the bigger picture. “Repeating negative narratives is really going to put someone in a funk,” Alpert says. So be kind to yourself—and change the narrative.

9. Consider whether this is someone you want in your life.

No one likes to break up with a friend, but if someone is bringing a lot of negativity into your life—or if you suspect they may be toxic—you should reevaluate whether or not you want to spend time with them. It’s an extreme case, but at times, it’s necessary. Figure out how much this friend means to you and how important it is to maintain that friendship, Dow says.

Complete Article HERE!

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Is It Safe to Use Coconut Oil as Lube? Ob-Gyns Explain

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Slick and natural, coconut oil is becoming a go-to sexual lubricant. Here’s what you need to know before you try it.

By Isadora Baum

[C]oconut oil makes for a solid cooking oil, facial moisturizer, and makeup remover. But this popular oil is earning a rep for a totally different reason: as a sexual lubricant. Coconut oil lube can supposedly enhance sensation, help couples last longer, and make sex feel more pleasurable overall.

On one hand, it makes sense to bring coconut oil into the bedroom. It’s slick and slippery, and the fact that it’s a natural product is very appealing. But is coconut oil a safe lubricant for your vagina, and are there any drawbacks? Before pouring some in your hand and hitting the sheets, read up on the facts, explained to us by women’s health specialists.

Is coconut oil safe?

On the whole, yes. “Coconut oil is a natural, preservative-free, and cost-friendly lubricant,” Sherry Ross, MD, a women’s health physician in Santa Monica, California, and author of She-ology, tells Health. Other doctors we spoke to endorsed it as safe as well and explained a bit more about how it is made.

“Coconut oil is edible oil extracted from the meat of mature coconuts [and] has many good qualities: it is very moisturizing and it has natural antimicrobial and antifungal properties,” Nita Landry, MD, an ob-gyn in Los Angeles and physician on the television show The Doctors, tells Health.

Benefits of using coconut oil as lube

As Dr. Landry says, coconut oil is moisturizing. That’s something Florida-based ob-gyn Jennifer Landa, MD, chief medical officer at BodyLogicMD, previously pointed out to Health. “One of my favorite natural lubricants is extra virgin coconut oil,” she said. “It is moisturizing and lubricating and doesn’t ball up like a lot of lubes you can buy.”

Coconut oil’s consistency is also a draw. Dr. Ross says that lt’s thicker and longer-lasting compared to silicone- and water-based artificial lubricants. At the same time, it won’t get clumpy, as other lubricants can, she says.

Any natural, plant-based oil can be used safely as a lubricant, yet “some of these oil-based lubes can be messier, harder to wash off, and stain clothing and sheets,” Dr. Ross believes, adding that coconut oil is less messy than, say, olive oil. (Olive oil was the sexual lubricant of choice for ancient Greeks and Romans, she says.)

Downsides of using coconut oil as lube

First, and this is important, coconut oil lube shouldn’t be used with latex condoms. Like all oil-based lubricants artificial or natural, the oil in coconut oil can potentially degrade the latex in your partner’s condom—possibly putting you at risk of a sexually transmitted infection or pregnancy.

“Coconut oil cannot be used with latex condoms because it can break down the latex and cause the condom to break,” states Dr. Landry. Only water- and silicone-based lubricants can be used with latex condoms without risking breakage, she says. The only time it’s okay to use coconut oil with a condom is if the condom is made from polyurethane, clarifies Dr. Ross, which won’t degrade.

Coconut oil as a lubricant isn’t necessarily a good idea if you’re prone to vaginal infections, such as yeast infections. It’s not exactly clear why some women are more infection prone, but if you are, you may want to play it safe. “Because coconut oil is antibacterial and antifungal, it has the potential to disrupt the pH balance in your vagina and cause a yeast infection,” says Dr. Landry.

What kind of coconut oil should I use?

“Partially hydrogenated and refined coconut oil contain additives that can be irritating or even leave the skin dryer than before,” explains Dr. Landry. So “stick to virgin, unrefined coconut oil when it comes to lube as well as any other use. This oil is extracted from the fruit of fresh coconuts without using high temperatures or chemicals.”

Adds Dr. Ross: “You want to look for pure coconut oil that is natural, preservative-free, and does not contain any fragrances. Look at the ingredient list on the bottle to make sure the only item listed is coconut oil.”

Go easy on how much coconut oil you use during a sex session. While in general it makes for a safe motion lotion, too much is not necessarily a good thing for your vagina. “If you are going to try coconut oil lube, be sure to only use a small amount,” says Dr. Landry. “An excess buildup of oil in the vagina can be a breeding ground for unwanted bacteria or yeast.” Definitely not something you want to happen after a slippery, super pleasurable roll in the hay.

Complete Article HERE!

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BDSM and consent

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How to stop rough sex crossing the line into abuse

[W]hen allegations of assault were made against New York’s top prosecutor Eric Schneiderman this week, he denied them, saying engaging in non-consensual sex was a line he would not cross.

“In the privacy of intimate relationships, I have engaged in role-playing and other consensual sexual activity. I have not assaulted anyone,” he told The New Yorker magazine, which broke the story.

Four women say he repeatedly slapped them and one said he insisted she call him “master” in non-consensual situations.

One former girlfriend, Michelle Manning Barish, said: “This was under no circumstances a sex game gone wrong… I did not consent to physical assault.” New York prosecutors are investigating the allegations.

This is not the first time a man accused of assault has claimed he was consensually engaging in rough sex (in Mr Schneiderman’s case, he was in a sexual relationship with three of his four accusers; a fourth woman said he hit her after she rebuffed him).

In 2014, Canadian musician and former radio host Jian Ghomeshi was acquitted of multiple sexual assault charges after several women claimed he had choked, slapped and bitten them without warning or consent.

And in 2015, nine women accused adult film star James Deen of assaulting them and not respecting their sexual boundaries or safe words. He denied the accusations and no charges were ever brought.

In recent days, Mr Schneiderman’s case has come under close scrutiny in the BDSM community, an overlapping acronym for bondage, discipline, dominance, submission, sadism and masochism.

The BBC spoke with sex experts and prominent members of the community who said full and free consent was a vital element of the practice, in which partners consent to inflicting or enduring pain or physical abuse.

They said they were keen to explain what does, in fact, make a consensual BDSM relationship.

“Stuff like this, doesn’t give [BDSM] a good name,” said Allen TG, one of the directors of Torture Garden, the world’s largest fetish club. “Generally in a BDSM relationship, there are fairly strong guidelines – it’s all about consent.”

Many people who practise BDSM, which is an aspect of kinky sex, may not consider themselves to be in a BDSM relationship or an active member of the community because the exploration of boundaries in sexual imagination are deeply personal and subject to individual tastes.

Certified sex coach Sarah Martin explained: “A lot of people start with something as simple as a blindfold, and it can be erotic and connecting, it doesn’t have to involve equipment or paraphernalia.

“Consent should be freely given, and it should be reversible at any point,” said Ms Martin, who is also executive director of the World Association of Sex Coaches. “Many people think that if you consent, that you agree until it’s done, but that’s not at all how it’s done.”

BDSM vocabulary

  • Kink – a broad term that usually encompasses sexual acts considered outside the norm
  • BDSM – this acronym is described as a pre-agreed power exchange, sometimes not explicitly sexual
  • Dominant and submissive – the names for the roles individuals enact during BDSM practice
  • Play and scene – BDSM participants describe themselves as playing in a scene
  • Munch – a casual social meet-up for people involved in or interested in BDSM
  • Vanilla – refers to someone, or sex, that is not kinky
  • Safe words – words or a gesture pre-agreed with your partner to alert them to your physical and mental limits
  • Aftercare – argued to be just as important as the scene, this is personal to the individual but may involve blankets, cuddles, conversation and a cup of tea to ease both participants physically and emotionally back to normality

To exercise informed consent, the sub – the abbreviated form for submissive – needs to know what activities will take place and how.

“Different bodies respond to touch in different ways,” explained the sex coach. “You may agree to spanking, but then if your partner uses a paddle, then that’s not informed consent.”

“It is entirely unacceptable to ‘surprise’ someone with slaps, whips, blindfolds, or anything like that if you haven’t spoken to them about it before,” said anonymous sex blogger Girl on the Net.

Mr Allen added that there’s a misconception that the dominant partner – or dom as they are sometimes called – is the one with control.

“A good dom is giving pleasure to the submissive, and that’s what gives the dom pleasure. If it’s only going one way, then that’s when it’s not healthy,” the fetish club organiser said.

Clinical sexologist Dr Celina Criss agreed. “It can be said that the power in a scene lies with the submissive because nothing can happen without their agreement.”

Playing it safe

Communication and understanding are cornerstones to any healthy relationship, the experts say. Because there is intimacy in divulging personal fantasies, a level of trust is also developed when establishing a BDSM relationship.

“People who participate in the BDSM community pride themselves on their communication and negotiation skills,” said Dr Criss. “Ideally, negotiation happens before partners ever touch each other.”

Traffic light colours are common safe words used between BDSM partners

Girl on the Net recommended listening carefully, reading the other person’s body language and tone, asking questions to check in and making sure they’re comfortable at every step of play.

The anonymous author also explained that in BDSM there are “pre-agreed safe words or gestures that mean – stop this immediately”.

A simple and common example of this is the traffic light system, using colour cards or the words themselves. Green means “that’s great, keep going”, explained Ms Martin. “Yellow is a check in, but not necessarily a stop, and red is no – it means stop, it means it’s done.”

So why isn’t “no”, as a word, enough?

“For some people, saying no but not being listened to may be part of the sexual fantasy,” explained the sex coach. “But you’ve negotiated this ahead of time so the dominant knows that’s part of your cathartic pleasure.”

Crossing the line

Overstepping a sexual boundary can and does happen, but sexologist Dr Criss said an adherence to communication, negotiation and repeated mutual consent keeps rough sex from becoming wilful abuse.

“People who are not involved in BDSM are likely to have many misconceptions based on what they’ve seen in movies,” she said, referring specifically to the popular erotic romance novel and film series Fifty Shades of Grey.

Ms Martin warned that such mainstream depictions of BDSM relationships are fantasy, and almost never show the level of negotiation and ongoing conversations that shape a successful BDSM experience. She says: “The quickest way for [abuse] to happen is if there isn’t communication.”

Girl on the Net likened it to a contact sport. “BDSM is to abuse what boxing is to being punched by surprise. The former is done with consent and an understanding of risks. The latter isn’t, and is assault.

“I also know that ‘BDSM made me do it’ has been an excuse used by powerful men in the past to try and dodge accountability for their actions. It’s not acceptable… BDSM is not an excuse for abuse.”

“It can be sexy, but also deeply caring,” explained sex coach Ms Martin. Kinky sex should never be used as a way to defend violent behaviour, she said.

“It makes me feel it makes an attempt to take advantage of general societal ignorance of BDSM,” she said.

Complete Article HERE!

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Queen Mother of the South: My Life as a Transgender Parent

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[T]he Southern part of the U.S. has to be one of the more conservative regions in the nation. Rooted in traditional, religious, and conventional values, it is often referred to as the “Bible Belt.” Southern traditionalists marvel at their old-fashioned ways and high moral standards. These standards are applied to every aspect of Southern culture, regardless of race, color, ethnicity, religion, or gender.

Evonne Kaho

This is most evident in the Southern family. As experienced by many in the South, I was taught that the family should consist of a father, a mother, and children. As in my family, these roles are defined and dominated by principles engrained in “Southern tradition.”

Although I embraced this experience, deep down I knew that my life would take a turn that would clash with the very things I had been taught to respect and uphold. In 2000, I became a transgender woman. My transformation was a long-awaited accomplishment that symbolized my freedom, but not an end to my struggle as a member of the transgender community. I so desperately wanted to be a parent, but I shivered at thought of becoming one in Mississippi. As a transgender woman, I hoped, but I thought that I had no chance of having my own child. After all, as a child, I was taught that only traditional families that consisted of heterosexual couples should have children.

In 2002, I met the mate of my dreams, and we were married. In 2003, we were blessed with a beautiful baby girl. Watching the women in my family, I knew how to be a mother, but society was not ready for it. Even my parents criticized me and told me that my household was an abomination to God and was not the right environment in which to raise a child. With less and less support, I became stronger and more determined to be the parent that my child needed. I was taught that support, love, understanding, patience, and empathy were needed to successfully raise a child, and I possessed them all. My transgender identity did not prevent me from loving my daughter, nor did it take away from the positive contributions that I made in her life.

My daughter is 15 now and more beautiful than ever. She is one of my more, if not my most, important accomplishments. She is loving, caring, empathetic, and most of all open-minded. I taught her not to judge or to be critical of those who differ from her. My mate and I both reinforced choice. We would often explain to her that her choice to be whatever she wanted should not be dictated by who we were.

When I contracted HIV, the hardest thing was not accepting that I had it, but deciding how I would explain it to my daughter. I didn’t want the ignorance and stereotypes of society to determine her view of me or those like me.

I remember the morning that I told her. I asked myself, “Am I really prepared her this?” Sure, she knew about HIV/AIDS. My mate and I had both talked to her about it. However, other people had the disease, not one of her parents. It was one of the hardest things that I had ever done. She looked at me and said, “Mama, they have medicine for that, and you will be OK; I will help you.” I had not failed. That was one of my defining moments as a successful parent. The loving, caring, and empathetic spirit that I had worked so hard to impart to my daughter had revealed its beautiful head.

That day, as well as my experiences since, has equipped me with the skills I need to care for others like me. The number of transgender families has increased since 2003. As the CEO of Love Me Unlimited for Life, a non-profit transgender organization in the state of Mississippi, I have the resources to help transgender families and those living with HIV/AIDS. My organization serves as a support system for individuals who lead alternative lifestyles.

Becoming transgender after forming a family can be hard. We provide support for the whole family. In addition, we provide a repertoire of resources for families whose parents are living with HIV/AIDS. It’s very hard to explain to your child what HIV/AIDS is and what it means to live a long healthy life with it. It’s neither a death sentence nor a punishment for being homosexual or transgender; it’s a life change like having any other chronic disease.

Over the years, I have become a mother to many in the LGBTQ community. I have utilized the same parenting skills that I began using with my own child in 2003. Regardless of their ages, they appreciate the love and support that they receive. I am thankful that I have been able to serve as a beacon of hope for so many.

After all, I am known as “Queen Mother of the South.”

Complete Article HERE!

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What Your Recurring Sexuality Fantasy Really Says About You

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[T]urned on by whips? Tickled by images of same-sex lovers, threesomes, and sex on public park benches—despite your straight, monogamous, and law-abiding identity?

Congratulations! You’re human. Sexual fantasies are part of a healthy sex life—they’re simply thoughts and scenarios that get you going, says Laura McGuire, Ed.D., a sex educator in New York. They may be inspired by an image, something you hear, or something you read, she says.

Fantasies let your brain take the risks your body and society might not allow, says Ian Kerner, Ph.D., a psychotherapist and sexuality counselor in New York City, author of She Comes First. What’s more, they facilitate pleasure—and can really come in handy when residual stress from, say, a bad day at work, seems to be orgasm-blocking you. “Studies have shown that as women get aroused and approach orgasm, parts of the brain associated with stress and anxiety need to deactivate,” Kerner says. “If fantasy enables that brain deactivation, then more power to the fantasy.”

Fantasies can give you a window into your desires and even strengthen your relationships when pursued consensually, safely, and legally. “Fantasies are where people start to make sense of things,” says Nasserzadeh. Here’s what common fantasy themes really mean—and how to put them into action:

1 Forbidden Love

Your mysterious coworker. Liam Hemsworth. Your ex. Your sister-in-law. Fantasizing about people other than your partner—even while you’re in bed with them—is common, and doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t love your partner or aren’t enjoying the sex you’re having, Kerner says.

Sometimes, though, such fantasies—like any—could mean you’re craving something you’re not getting in your current relationship. You may consider discussing that missing link with your partner, or maybe you can find that clarity on your own. Whatever you do, though, “never cheat,” McGuire says. “Lying and not telling people the truth is not the way to go in life, much less in bed.”

2 Submission

Consider it a positive sign of the times: More women are holding high-powered jobs than ever. But, as a result, they may not want to also be the boss in bed. “Women who are so powerful in their jobs…want that space where they can put their guards down and make a mistake or two and not be judged and [be] completely vulnerable and taken over,” Nasserzadeh says. Other times, women have this fantasy for no clear reason, and that’s totally fine.

Sound appealing? McGuire recommends studying up, since there are different kinds of domination and submission dynamics. See what interests you and your partner or, if you’re solo, what kind of a partner you want to find. “Make sure that explicit and enthusiastic consent are present throughout your interactions, and be sure to decide on what are your yes, no’s, and maybe’s beforehand.”

3 Domination

On the other hand, women who spend most of their waking hours caring for others might feel turned on by the thought of taking some sexual control, Kerner says. “Sometimes somebody says, ‘I spend all day at the beck and call of others—I really want to dominate,’” he says. Again, some women may not have a clear reason for being drawn to domination, but that doesn’t make the desire any less real.

Like submission, pursuing this fantasy requires research, consent, and strategies for making sure everyone involved is on board each step of the way. Nasserzadeh recommends picking code words along a spectrum, like from green to red, rather than direct words like “yes” or “no.” Code words remove the stigma of saying “no” in the middle of the act and liberate partners to try things without worrying the whole time, she says.

4 Threesome

Kerner has worked with plenty of couples interested in bringing in a third party for all kinds of reasons. “Sometimes it’s just because of the novelty and the exponential possibility it has; sometimes it’s about really wanting to watch your partner be pleased by somebody new,” he says.

If done right, opening up a relationship either for the night or the long-term can strengthen your partnership, McGuire says. “The biggest key is communication,” she says. Talk about what sex acts you are and aren’t okay with, and how emotionally connected you want to get to the third person (if at all). Depending on your goal—a hot night or long-term polyamory—you can seek the third partner anywhere from swingers’ events to dating apps, McGuire says.

5 Public Sex

Why is it that sex on an airplane, in a public bathroom or on a beach seems exponentially hotter than the exact same act in the safety of your bedroom? Science. “Both the adrenaline rush of imagining being caught and getting in trouble, and the rush of having someone enjoying or getting off on watching you, are very stimulating mentally and thus increase physical sensations,” McGuire says.

If you’re truly considering getting naked, masturbating, or having sex in full-blown public, though, hold up: Remember: It’s illegal and you could face sex crime charges, McGuire says. To more safely explore this fantasy, consider checking out places like sex clubs, swingers parties, and orgies. Look up reputable ones in your area on sites like Fetlife.com, McGuire suggests.

6 Same-Sex Love

Fantasies that contradict your sexual identity can be confusing, McGuire finds. “Does this mean I’m bi? Does this mean I’m gay? Should I change my life because I had this dream last night?” clients sometimes ask her. Usually, the answer is no—all it means is there is something about that experience that’s resonating.

For example, the way you saw a lesbian couple kiss made you crave a similar connection. “It doesn’t break down who you are as a person and as sexual being to simply be curious and try different things,” McGuire says.

To figure out if the intrigue is something worth taking out of your mind and into practice, McGuire recommends mentally “going down that path” by, say, reading stories, looking at pictures, or watching ethical, realistic porn with those themes. Still interested? Look for a partner who’s open to helping you “try it on,” she says. “It’s okay to say, ‘I’m interested in seeing what this feels like in real life.’”

Complete Article HERE!

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Here’s How Consent and BDSM Role-Play Actually Work

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In an article published in The New Yorker, four women detailed the extreme psychological and physical violence they say they experienced at the hands of former New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman. In response, Schneiderman resigned, but he also made a disturbing statement linking these women’s allegations with sexual role play. His claim was promptly dismissed by Ronan Farrow, one of the reporters who broke the story, and the women who allege he assaulted them. (One of the women wasn’t even in a relationship with Schneiderman at the time, and all the alleged acts of violence happened well outside the context of sex.) The Cut spoke to sex and BDSM educator Barbara Carrellas, who explains exactly why Schneiderman’s “role play” defense is so flawed.


[R]ole play means two people had a conversation and decided: I think this sounds really hot, now how can we sensibly play this out. You need to negotiate before you start playing. When you negotiate, you talk transparently about what you like, your no-go zones and you state what (in certain circumstances) you might be okay with. We call it the yes/no/maybe list. For acts that you decide are a “maybe,” you should think very deeply about what conditions would have to be in place for that “maybe” to be a “yes.” Get specific — there can’t be any surprises. You also distinguish between what you would give and what you would like to receive. Maybe you enjoy being spanked, but you have no interest in spanking? Then you and your partner can switch lists you can see where they match up.

Being slapped, choked, spit on, and called racial slurs out of nowhere by a drunk person with no prior discussion of kink or role play is a red light of volcanic brightness. For most people, those fall under “edge play,” and that’s the most carefully negotiated play in BDSM. It’s much better to let a desire go unfulfilled for the moment than to be left physically or emotionally injured.

When you have both consented to something that requires skill, or has potential to trigger — such as receiving a slap on the face — your partner should know how to safely execute it and be prepared to support you emotionally. The kind of BDSM we have been talking about, consensual play, requires affirmative yeses, which are all prenegotiated. Of course, you can consent to being slapped on the face, or to being called a slave, but that did not happen here. The slapping as described in this article was bang-on brute violence.

In BDSM role play face-slapping is a trigger for a whole lot of people. The trigger level is so high that we really need to get three times consent. People who slap should learn how to do it safely, and you would never slap someone on an ear. Before the role play, the slapper would ask, are you sure you have no triggers from childhood? Have you ever been slapped before? If so, under what circumstances? Someone might say, “I was slapped a lot in the past by someone who hated me but I want to try being slapped in role play so I can see what it’s like.” I would move very slowly and I’d probably stop after the slap so we can process it and if the receiver wanted to go further we would pick up at a later date.

Responsible BDSM players do not negotiate or play while intoxicated. There was a lot of drinking reported in the story about Schneiderman. You can’t give consent and you can’t accept consent when you are intoxicated. When you are asking for consent you are asking someone to turn over their emotions and their bodies to loan you a piece of their power. We don’t lend power to drunks and drug addicts. People who are BDSM sadists or doms are not enacting their will on a poor, helpless victim; they are accepting responsibility to give someone an experience they have asked for and they are responsible for the result.

A master-slave contract takes time, thought, and sensitivity to negotiate. Schneiderman’s reported references to terms like “master” and “slave” are alarming. Master-slave contracts are negotiated between two consenting, loving people, and they usually take years. They are fine-tuned so that everyone knows where they stand. You discuss exactly how much power is given up and in which situations. They typically do not include what someone eats, and most masters do not order their slave to remove things like tattoos from their bodies.

Race play requires extra-sensitive negotiation and consent. It’s reported that Schneiderman called one of his partners his “brown slave” and demanded that she repeat that she was his property. Race play is just as, if not more, delicate a negotiation than master-slave. It is so loaded. They are some of the deepest, edgiest emotional role-play scenes that two loving people can agree to do together. They are not entered into casually. Or when drunk.

All play requires an affirmative yes from both partners to all planned activities. He was hitting these women so hard they had marks the next day. Marks would be part of the negotiation — you’d ask each other, “Are marks okay?” In cases where you have negotiated no marks and it seems like a sex act might leave a mark, a responsible top will stop and say: “I will not go any further because I can’t be certain that this won’t leave a mark; what else would you like that would not leave a mark?” You have to talk these things through and you have to do that when you are sober. This takes skill.

Nonconsensual breath play (choking) is about the most hideous nonconsensual act in SM, or at least it’s way high on the list. When you are controlling someone’s breath it is so dangerous. Most people don’t swim in that pond. You can do choking with a lot of acting, there are safe places on the neck like the collarbone. You can then put your fingers up over the throat to give the illusion of choking. BDSM is a collection of skills. BDSM players learn from people who know what they are doing.

Always establish a safe word.
When you use a safe word it means that you have to stop. You don’t want to deploy your safe word because you are miserable or hurt: Maybe you need to pee? Maybe a rope is too tight. You stop, come out of role immediately and ask: What do you need? The safe word would stop all play instantly — it doesn’t mean, okay, this is completely over; it just means when it’s uttered everything stops until we figure out why. Safe words are usually words that don’t come up during sex, saying “no no no no no” could be part of the scene. So when someone screams “grapefruit” in the middle of a rape fantasy, it’s clear what that means.

Accidents happen even when there is consent and proper preparation, but there’s a way to deal with that.
Of course role play doesn’t always go exactly as planned. If the giver accidentally makes a wrong stroke and hits some place they didn’t intend to hit, I recommend that the top should acknowledge it. You don’t have to come out of role, you don’t have to grovel. But if you tell the bottom “that was unintentional” that is very important for creating trust and letting the scene swim on. The top might put their hand on the spot to take the sting out. Or give them a kiss, and you can do all of that in a very dominant fashion.

Consent is ongoing, and it can be rescinded at any time.
Withdrawing consent is not renegotiation. Even if these women had consented to a little bit of rough sex (and there’s nothing wrong with that), they did not consent to being brutalized. They did not consent to being slapped in the face on the ear. They didn’t consent to being choked. It doesn’t matter what the role play was if they didn’t consent to that. Role-playing is consensual pretending, it is not BDSM without consent. It’s not violence and abuse.

Complete Article HERE!

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What asexuality can teach us about sexual relationships and boundaries

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[T]here is an expectation that everyone feels sexual attraction and sexual desire and that these feelings begin in adolescence. Assumptions about sex are everywhere – most of time we don’t even notice them. Music videos, films, reality shows, advertising, video games, newspapers and magazines all use sexual content which supports the idea that sexuality, attraction and desire are normal. There is, however, a group of people that are challenging this sexual assumption, who identify as asexual.

Asexuality was once thought of as a problem which left people unable to feel sexual attraction to others. Upon the discovery that some people had little or no interest in sexual behaviour, researchers in the 1940s called this group “asexuals”, and labelled them as “Group X”. There was no more discussion of “Group X”, and asexuals and asexuality were lost to history, while studies of sexuality grew and flourished.

Even today, asexuality still seems to be something of a mystery for many people – despite more people talking about it, and more people identifying as asexual. Asexuality is difficult for a lot of people to understand. And research shows that as a sexual identity, people have more negativity towards asexuals than any other sexual minority.

What is asexuality?

What exactly asexuality is, is very much still being decided – with a lot of debate going on as to whether it is a sexual orientation or a sexual identity. There have also been discussions about whether it is a medical condition or if it should be seen as a problem to be treated.

But it seems that for many, being asexual is less about a traditional understanding of sexual attraction and behaviour, and more about being able to discuss likes and dislikes, as well as expectations and preferences in the early stages of a relationship. In this way, it is a refreshing way of being honest and clear with potential partners – and avoiding any assumptions being made about sex. Maybe because of this approach, a growing number of self-identified asexuals see asexuality as less of a problem, and more of a way of life.

Discussions about sex and sexuality during the early stage of a relationship can make partners and potential partners more respectful towards a person’s choices and decisions. They also can reduce the potential of others making requests that may make someone uncomfortable, or which carry subtle elements of coercion.

Redefining boundaries

In this way, then, with its need for honesty and clarity, asexuality is an insightful way of looking at sexuality, and the ways in which non-asexuals – also known as allosexuals in the asexual community – interact with others on a close and intimate level.

According to one asexual, her friends’ reactions to her “coming out” were underwhelming – mainly because it is an orientation defined by “what is not happening”. But for self-identified asexuals, there is actually a lot happening. They are exploring and articulating what feels right in the context of intimacy. They are considering different aspects of relationships and partnerships. They are talking to others about their experiences. And they are looking for people they can share a similar experience with.

Asexuals are thinking carefully and critically about what it means to be close to someone, and in doing so, many of them have an understanding of non-sexual practices of intimacy. By doing all of this, they are developing a very unique skill set in a culture which is often considered to be over sexualised.

At a time when there is a growing recognition that many teenagers struggle to understand what a healthy romantic relationship actually looks like, asexuality gives us a new way of understanding relationships – both sexual and asexual, romantic and unromantic. And this could have a huge potential to help others understand closeness in relationships where there is an absence of sexual intimacy.

Complete Article HERE!

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Celebrating Magnus Hirschfeld, the Einstein of Sex

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[D]ecades ago, wandering a ramshackle German flea market, an old book caught my eye. Emblazoned in gold on its brick red cover was the beckoning title Sexualkatastrophen. In its inevitably German way, the title (in English, obviously, Sexual Catastrophes) said it all and that alone was worth the few dollars price. Little did I know I had purchased a 1926 first edition of a collection of sexual studies including several written by the father of modern LGBTQ liberation, Magnus Hirschfeld.

Like his other works on the subject, his contributions to Sexualkatastrophen present scientific biographies of individual trans (he invented the term “transvestite” in 1910 that would evolve into today’s transgender and its variants), gay and lesbian subjects. Reading it at the time, I was struck by Hirschfeld’s candid and natural embrace of sexuality that helped confirm my own sense of being of another identity that was as valid as any other. And, as it still does today, the book made clear how we are so predisposed to ignorance and denial that our whole social structure continues to suffer as a result.

May 14 marks the 150th anniversary of Hirschfeld’s birth in 1868. The significance of the occasion is recognized in his native Germany where 2018-2019 has been declared “Hirschfeld Anniversary Year.” In July, the German Federal Post Office will issue a postage stamp in his honor. Throughout the jubilee, arts events, seminars, exhibits, conferences and concerts will celebrate the “Einstein of Sex” or, as he was affectionately known within his gay Weimar circle, Tante Magnesia (“Aunt Magnesia”).

Hirschfeld’s work in the field of sex was groundbreaking and visionary. Basing his theory of sexuality and gender on the “born this way” principle, he argued the case for fluidity and that all sexual expressions and their characteristics were part of a spectrum from masculine to feminine. He believed that homosexuality was, in fact, a third sex and practiced universally. As early as the 1890s he advocated the legalization of abortion and the decriminalization of homosexuality. In 1919, he helped produce a film, Anders als die Andern (Different from the Others). It depicts the plight of a gay man subjected to blackmail (it still exists today only as a restored reconstruction). His work, he hoped, would help fight prejudice and provide justice through knowledge for those “hostages of morality,” the victims of an invented system that condemned their natural deviations from the norm as deviance.

But given the politics of the times, whether in conservative Imperial Germany or, later, under the Nazi

Magnus Hirschfeld

regime, particularly as a Jewish gay liberal, Hirschfeld was considered revolutionary in its most subversive sense. A year after his film’s release, it was banned. The Nazis burned his books and his Institute for Sexual Science was ransacked and razed. Hirshfeld managed to escape to Switzerland and, later France, where he died in 1935.

In Germany today, his legacy was the complete repeal in 1994 of the infamous Paragraph 175, the anti-gay law in the German penal code and the founding of the Magnus Hirschfeld Federal Foundation.

Hirschfeld Anniversary Year should be recognized here as well. It seems, after all, we are still, a century later, fighting for the same cause.

Complete Article HERE!

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Mutual masturbation could help end orgasm inequality

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May is National Masturbation Month, so we’re celebrating by exploring the many facets of self-love.

[S]o, your sexual partner just came and you didn’t. It’s infuriating, it’s frustrating, and it’s — rather dismally — all too common during heterosexual sex.

I’m talking about the orgasm gap — the inequality in men and women’s sexual pleasure, which affects an alarming number of women. A whopping 95 percent of straight men always come during sex, but a mere 65 percent of heterosexual women can say the same, per a study by Chapman University.

But, save living in a state of perpetual sexual frustration and faking your orgasms for the rest of your days, what exactly can be done about it? Well, these two words could bring us closer to closing the orgasm gap: Mutual masturbation (a.k.a. masturbating with your sexual partner).

Dan Savage, sex advice columnist and host of the Savage Lovecast, told Mashable he’s long been “an advocate for mutual masturbation” in heterosexual relationships and for “straight people broadening their definition of what qualifies as sex.” And, given that a recent study by Indiana University found that heterosexual women experience the fewest orgasms, it appears something is definitely amiss in the realm of straight sex.

Savage believes that straight couples should take a leaf out of gay people’s books when it comes to bringing mutual masturbation into the bedroom: “A lot of the sex that gay people have is mutual masturbation, which a lot of straight people — guys in particular — don’t think counts as sex, or is some sort of tragic consolation prize.” Savage says we need to reframe the way we view the concept of mutual masturbation, and see it as “the main event” rather than “a pity-not-fuck.” “If straight people approach mutual masturbation as a rich and rewarding form of sexual expression it would improve their sex lives so much,” says Savage.

Researchers believe that sex education that fails to teach sexual pleasure, in addition to a lack of communication between sexual partners are reasons for the gap. While it’ll take a long time to remedy these causes at their root, mutual masturbation combines non-verbal communication with a learning experience about a partner’s individual needs.

Savage says if guys watch their girlfriends masturbate, they’ll see “what it looks like when she makes herself come,” and what is takes to get there. For 75 percent of women, it takes more than vaginal penetration alone to get there. “That’s not gonna get them there, you need additional, direct, focused stimulation that a vibrator, a finger, a tongue can provide,” Savage says.

“It really helps for men to learn a woman’s particular needs when it comes to stimulation, and what she needs on a plateau before orgasm, and what it looks like when she reaches the point of orgasmic inevitability, so that he can be a better partner to her,” says Savage. “The only way for him to see that is through masturbating together.”

Watch and learn

How exactly should sexual partners go about incorporating mutual masturbation into their sex lives? Heather Corinna founder of Scarleteen, an inclusive sex and relationships education site for young people—says women need to make sure mutual masturbation is “really about what feels good to them.” That might sound obvious, but this is to ensure that women masturbating in front of male partners isn’t “just another way to give a partner a sexual performance for *their* benefit.” Corinna says men should observe their partners masturbating, and “take notes.”

For many people, the very idea of masturbating in front of another human being is daunting. Corinna says that’s because “there’s still so much cultural shame with masturbation,” but it’s important to keep in mind that this shame comes largely from the “same places that don’t support sex as being about pleasure for anyone, especially women.”

But, in order for the orgasm gap to be completely fixed, Corinna says we also need “some changes in how women’s sexual desire is treated, including by partners.” Mutual masturbation isn’t a performance, it’s an opportunity for women to show men what they need in bed.

Blindfold your partner

How do we move past any shame and nervousness we might feel? Savage has some advice that he’s given to women before, which has worked. First, he recommends closing the door when masturbating while their partner is at home, so there’s someone in the same house who’s aware of them masturbating. Next time, “bring them in the room with you but blindfold them so they can’t look at you, and you can’t look in their eyes and read their expressions and how they’re perceiving you,” says Savage. After half a dozen times of doing this, take the blindfold off. By this point, Savage says you’ll have “acclimated” to having another person with you when you masturbate.

“The first couple times they don’t touch you, or maybe you lay on opposite sides of the bed and you’re just aware of their presence,” says Savage. He suggests sitting on your partner when you masturbate, and getting them to touch your breasts while you touch yourself. “You will get to a point where you will want them to see,” says Savage.

Try phone sex

Still feeling vulnerable? Corinna recommends letting a partner know if you need “some extra TLC or support” or even “a wild cheering section.” “If you feel extra nervous, trying a half-step like phone sex where you are masturbating but not sharing the visual experience might help you build some trust and comfort,” they say.

Watch gay porn

Savage says he tells callers to his show to watch gay porn. “I say this to straight guys all the time: you want your girlfriend to come during intercourse? Watch gay porn and look what the guy getting fucked is doing. He’s jacking himself off,” he says.

Not only that, gay porn can also provide a valuable lesson in the art of being unselfconscious when masturbating in front of a partner. “What you always see in gay porn is guys rolling around with each other, stroking each other, touching themselves, incorporating self-touch into the touch from the other person that they’re getting,” he says. The “completely unselfconscious” mutual masturbation in gay porn shows “it doesn’t mean your partner isn’t attractive or pleasing to you.”

“In fact, you’re kind of masturbating about them while they’re right there,” says Savage.

Whichever way you look at it, mutual masturbation gives you the power to take this pleasure disparity into your own hands. The tools are quite literally at your fingertips.

Complete Article HERE!

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Masturbation Tips for your Queerest, Sexiest Spring Ever

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Masturbation, more than any other sex act, is a time to be completely selfish and all about yourself.

By Cameron Glover

[M]ay is here, which means that it is finally National Masturbation Month! You may have seen the memes or innuendo-laced content swirling around social media, but this month is more important than you may know. Masturbation Month has evolved to become one of the most ambitious nationwide efforts to create more inclusive, welcoming sex education.

The month actually has political roots: it was started back in 1995 in San Francisco as a response to the forced resignation of the first Black U.S. Surgeon General, Joycelyn Elders. Elders gave a speech for the United Nations World AIDS Day in 1994, where a member of the audience asked her about “masturbation’s potential for discouraging early sexual activity.” Yeah, you read that right. Her response (which was: “I think it is something that is part of human sexuality and a part of something that perhaps should be taught”) caused such a backlash that it led to her forced resignation.

While this instance highlights the unaddressed and still unresolved issues of misogynoir within this country’s healthcare and politics, it also makes us even more aware of how access to sexuality education remains inadequate. Following the incident with Elders, a local sex toy and education shop, Good Vibrations, continued to push for a conversation around Elder’s forced resignation and the importance of masturbation.

Over twenty years later, there’s still heavy stigma and shame around masturbation. This is especially true for marginalized people, who have dealt with a disproportionate lack of access to sexuality resources that include them.

Here are a few tips to help make this Masturbation Month the best yet:

Set The Mood

Masturbation gets a bad rep — most people see it as a downgrade from sex with a partner, when that couldn’t be further from the truth. Masturbation/solo sex sessions/whatever you want to call it can be a sacred, special practice. If you’re having trouble getting into the mindset of masturbation as sex, trying incorporating the same things that you do when you prepare for sex with a partner. Wear that lingerie that makes you feel desirable and sexy; put on your favorite scents; even read your favorite sexy novel or erotic fanfiction.

No matter the method, take the time to have a ritual to make the experience as special as if you were preparing to have an experience with a partner. Masturbation can be an important part of showing yourself self-love, so why not honor that?

Choose The Right Lube

If there’s anything that you should incorporate immediately into your masturbation (or sex in general) routine, it should be bringing in the lube. Now despite what you may think, lube isn’t only for if you have a problem with lubrication, it can actually help intensify sensation and increase pleasure, which is exactly what we want during a solo session. Even if getting a new sex toy isn’t an option (and we’ll get to those in a minute), new lube can be more affordable and is a good way to spice things up without going too far out of your comfort zone.

I suggest that everyone have both a water-based lube and a silicone-based lube — I recommend this one for your silicone option and that one for the water-based lube. If you do have sex toys, not every toy can be used with each lube; as a rule of thumb, silicone toys should only be used with water-based lube as silicone breaks down silicone. Try different brands to see which feels right for you.

Switch Up the Method

If you’re someone who has sex or masturbates frequently, there can often be the issue of being less stimulated by the same old positions. An easy solution for this can be to just switch it up! Yes, it’s good to know which go-to positions or angles can get you off in a pinch, but masturbation is a special time where exploration is actually encouraged. Try using slower methods — use your hands and fingers to slowly build up pleasure in less-sensitive areas, followed by focus on areas with a higher concentration of nerve endings, like the clitoris, the head of the penis, or the anus.

Invest in a New Toy

If you’re financially able, investing in a good, quality sex toy can be a huge improvement for your solo sex sessions. For people with vulvas, I highly recommend a G-spot vibrator like the OVO E3, but brands like njoy and Fun Factory have quality, reasonably priced toys for a variety of interests.

My girl Sophie does the best monthly roundups on when good toys go on sale. Do your research, have fun, and make sure to

Have Fun!

Seriously. Sex and so much of our lives can be heavy and serious. Masturbation, more than any other sex act, is a time to be completely selfish and all about yourself. What gets you off? What makes you feel sexy? Lean into that and don’t forget to enjoy yourself.

Complete Article HERE!

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Financial Domination: Inside the Erotic Fetish That Controls Men’s Wallets

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A financial dominatrix rarely takes off her clothes or engages in sex. But she might have to talk a lot of shit about a client’s FICO score or let him listen in while she splurges at Saks with his cash.

 

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[T]he first time Ceara Lynch dipped a toe in the world of sex work, she was 17 and a long way from home. A high school student who had grown up in the Portland, Oregon, area, Lynch was doing a semester abroad as an exchange student in Japan. She didn’t know the language, or anyone who spoke English. She was bored and lonely. So she did what people do now when faced with social isolation: connected with friends, and strangers, online.

“This one guy started randomly talking to me after he saw my profile on some site,” Lynch remembers. Though it wasn’t an adult platform, she explains: “To be straightforward: He was a big pervert.”

This stranger on the Internet had a host of fetishes—golden showers, pantyhose, you name it—stuff that seemed shocking at the time, though Lynch wouldn’t blink twice about anymore. He wanted to meet up; she said absolutely not. “I was young, but I wasn’t stupid,” she points out with a laugh.

When the man finally accepted that there would be no IRL meet-up, he asked her if she’d do something else: let him buy a bottle of her urine. At first she thought no way. But the more that Lynch considered the offer, the more she felt like, “What did I have to lose?” She packed up her pee and sent it away to the address he provided. Two weeks later an envelope arrived in the mail—containing $250 cash. That’s when she recognized a potential business opportunity. “I thought: If guys like this found me by accident, what would happen if I went looking for them?”

Lynch started selling her used underwear, among other things, online through an auction site that is best described at eBay but for fetishes. Guys would bid for her garbage, her used tampons, excrement, “all this wild stuff,” she recalls. But when she started to get messages from men begging to be her “money slave” she had to do some research to figure out what they meant. Eventually she stumbled on the kink she was looking for: financial domination. That was 10 years ago. And it’s how she’s been making her living ever since.

At its most basic level, financial domination is pretty much what it sounds like: domination whereby, instead of a bondage or ball gag, money is the means of (consensual) abuse. When you scratch below the surface though, that’s where it gets a little tougher to understand—as Lynch explains it, all BDSM is an exchange of power, and financial domination isn’t any different, but it’s not a kink most people understand unless they’re into it.

A financial dominatrix might be paid by her submissive to talk shit about his FICO score or tell him she’s going to spend all his money, even if she never actually has access to his accounts. Or maybe she has his credit card numbers and he gets off on the fear that one day she’ll decide to max it out; in other cases, he might send her, via Venmo or another money-sharing app, a certain amount of cash and want to listen in while she’s shopping so he knows how she’s spending it. The whole point is that the submissive gets off on the idea of losing power over his money—it’s his form of waiting for the bullwhip to crack.

FinDom for short, the fetish falls under the BDSM umbrella, can take on a variety of forms, and is admittedly fairly niche; it also goes by other names, like financial slavery. A financial dominatrix rarely—if ever—takes off her clothes or has sex with a client. According to Lynch, the fact that she doesn’t is an integral part of her brand.

“I don’t get naked in my videos. That’s kind of important for my image actually. If I were to do that, I would certainly gain another audience,” she says. “But I would lose a lot of them too, because the whole idea is that my submissives aren’t worthy of seeing me naked. Also I just don’t want to.”

FinDoms—who are typically women, though not always—might be called money mistresses, while submissives are referred to as cash cows, money slaves, or pay pigs, among other epithets. Unlike a sugar baby, a woman who has an emotional or sexual relationship with her client in exchange for cash, she’s demanding and assertive, not supplicant or sweet. But though the specifics of a relationship dynamic might vary, in a culture that equates money with power, and sex with power, financial domination can sound, at least in theory, like the ultimate aphrodisiac to some.

While financial domination is better known than it used to be, it remains a highly niche fetish that sex researchers don’t know much about, much like BDSM itself. Justin Lehmiller, Ph.D., is an award-winning sex researcher and psychology professor whose book Tell Me What You Want: The Science of Sexual Desire and How It Can Help You Improve Your Sex Life hits shelves this summer, explains that the lack of qualitative and quantitative data on this sexual proclivity has much to do with the fact that we literally haven’t been asking people about it. Questions about FinDom have yet to appear on national sex surveys, which also means that we have little way of knowing if it’s more or less popular now than it used to be.

At least one thing is clear, though. “The Internet has allowed people with interest in BDSM to find a like-minded community.” That’s the medium through which most FinDoms work, whether via chat, video, pay-per-minute calls, and “ignore lines,” which are exactly what they sound like: a line that a sub calls into with the express purpose of paying for the pleasure of being ignored.

If you think it sounds easy, Lynch wants to correct the record: “You see a lot of girls try and get into it by just setting up a Twitter account. But if you’re going hunting for these guys, you’re just not going to find them.”

In a way, a successful financial dominatrix is just like any other online influencer. It’s all about building a brand, creating content, and connecting with followers in a way that brings them back for more. “Offering webcam, making videos, having an Instagram and Twitter presence”—in other words, diversifying revenue streams so that you’re widening your reach and depending less on one-on-one interactions. Maybe you also dabble in foot fetish or humiliation (Lynch also refers to herself as a humiliatrix). “If you keep doing that, and putting it out there, every once in a while, you’ll catch what I like to call a white whale,” she says, “one of those guys who surfaces, gives you a ton of money and then disappears.”

Speaking of money, by now you’re probably wondering what a financial dominatrix actually commands for her services. That answer depends on a range of variables. But Lynch breaks it down by the things she actually sells. “My webcam rate is $10 per minute, and my prerecorded videos, which usually run about 10 minutes, are around $10. If I guy wants a custom video, those start at $250 or so, and scale up depending on how elaborate their idea is. Then I have my phone lines: Talking to me is $5 per minute. With the ignore line, the guy just calls me and then I put the phone down, and I get paid for as long as he stays on the line.”

Other FinDoms Glamour spoke to for this story said they wouldn’t get on the phone for less than $50, and that their financial domination “side hustle” might yield $30,000 a year. Lynch is less inclined to share an exact figure, but it’s worth mentioning that, when we spoke, she was in the midst of a three-month trip through Asia, and that this duration of travel is a pretty normal part of her lifestyle. “I make six figures, I’ll say that,” she says. She’s used the money to buy a few investment properties, and has been an incorporated business for 10 years.

Another FinDom Glamour emailed with shared that, over the past 19 years, her financial domination business has afforded her the kind of lifestyle where she could be available and present for her four kids every day. When we connected, she was currently taking her youngest on a class trip to Disney World before heading back to work after the vacation.

Of course, on top of the rates and attention for pay, there’s also another financial element: spending sub’s money. Tatiana, a 30-year-old West Coast-based financial dominatrix, relayed an exchange with a client who transferred $450 into her Venmo account—under the condition that she go shopping and let him listen into how he spent her money.

The phone stayed in her purse, from which she could hear him loudly protesting the conversations about specific items she was having with the salespeople—the resistance, and the sub’s inability to do anything about it, is part of the kink. When she pouted about the fact that he hadn’t sent her enough to buy a pair Louboutin booties, he eventually wound up sending her an extra $200. “I viewed it as a tip,” she says.

Lynch recalled a time that a sub wanted to be “tag-teamed” by herself and another FinDom: He paid for an hour of their cam time each, set up his credit card information with Saks Fifth Avenue sites, and requested that they tell him what they were buying as they shopped the site. “I think we ended up spending something like $10,000 between us just in that hour,” she says.

But it’s not all shopping sprees and big spenders. “The thing about this fetish is that you don’t necessarily have to have a lot of money to have it,” she says. “You might just get off on the idea of it.”

“For instance, I had a guy one time call me on my talk line, just for a quick chat. He wanted me to tell him how rich I am, how I want all his money, how greedy I am. Then, at the end, he hung up and paid me maybe $10.”

Another thing about being a financial dominatrix versus a real-life dungeon master is that it removes the element—and some of the potential danger—of working in the BDSM world. Because doms and subs tend not to exchange real identifying information, it allows for more anonymity (for example, Ceara Lynch is not Ceara Lynch’s real name), and the fact that interactions largely happen online on or the phone adds a protective layer into the practice.

Over the last decade Lynch can recall being doxxed only once, and when she reported it to police, they basically told her there was no recourse. In the end, she decided the best way to deal with it was to ignore it, and eventually the guy just faded away. “Unfortunately, if someone really wanted to find a lot of personal information about me, they could. There’s only so much I can do about it. It’s just kind of a risk I’m willing to take.”

Subs are obviously going out on a limb too. Sydney Lee, a dominatrix whose YouTube channel AstroDomina is devoted to explaining kinks of all kinds to the layman viewer, describes how her pay pigs getting aroused by the idea that she could financially ruin them at any moment.

“It’s a deep mental fetish, and it definitely takes more than a random pretty girl saying, ‘Give me money,’” she says in a video devoted to FinDom. That comment echoed an observation Lynch made about supply and demand—and why it’s harder to be a successful financial dominatrix than it might seem. Which makes sense, given that capitulation to the dom is part of the kink.

“One thing about financial domination is that there’s this element of humiliation that goes along with it,” explains Lehmiller. “What we know now from a lot of research is that physical pain and psychological pain activate the same areas of the brain and have similar effects. One of those effects makes us focus more on the here and now, allowing us to experience other things more intensely—for example, if you experience pain and then have sexual stimulation afterward, it might feel more intense.” In the case of financial domination, it’s not hard to see how chasing intensity might put a submissive on the road to financial ruin. It’s the kind of costly thrill you don’t want to be addicted to unless you can afford it.

Lee, of AstroDomina, positioned it in her FinDom video like this: “Handing over money is the ultimate representation of surrender or submission for most money slaves.” And with all the ways to connect and spend money these days, it’s never been easier for subs to find their financial doms or make deposits into their accounts.

Lynch has watched the landscape change a lot over the years. “When I first started, there were about five girls doing this,” she says. “But now there’s this huge influx of girls trying to do it because it seems easy. Once, one of my slaves gave me his log-in to Twitter and I went through his DMs—there were all these women trying to hustle him, like, ‘Hey bitch, pay me.’ I’ve had the luxury of time to build my brand, and I don’t mean to talk shit; however girls make it work, they make it work. But I thought it was fascinating because I have never sent a message to a guy first. They come to me.”

She used to think she would be out of the business by now, and, in a way, she’s a little surprised at how in-demand she continues to be.

“In the adult industry youth and beauty are your main currency—I imagined that mine would be up by now. But I make more and more money every year. It’s really confusing and unexpected. I always told myself I would keep doing it until it makes sense not to. I have my bachelor’s, but it’s not a very useful bachelor’s, so I’ve thought about going back to school one day.”

But even though she know she has plenty of options on the table, Lynch says, at this point, it doesn’t make sense to set FinDom aside—she just doesn’t have a reason to. “I make a lot of money. I travel. I have a really cool life right now. My focus is to make as much money as I can for the future, put it into real estate and other investments. Once the reason to stop arrives, I just want to have a good nest egg to explore the rest of my life.”

Complete Article HERE!

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This Female Filmmaker Is Changing the Porn Industry—One Perfectly Lit Sex Scene at a Time

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Catching up with Erika Lust.

By:Lindsay Brown</a

[S]ince we last spoke to Erika Lust, her star has continued to rise. She was recently honored with the Maguey Award at the Guadalajara International Film Festival—a prize that celebrates “the career and achievements of a person who, through her work, has transformed sexual diversity, breaking down barriers and showing new paradigms of sexuality and gender.” Indeed, the Barcelona-based erotic filmmaker is transforming the porn industry. Lust has spent the last ten years elevating porn’s aesthetic, using her role behind the camera to put the focus on female pleasure. (Lest you think that sounds like a lot of gentle lovemaking, I can assure you that you’re wrong; it’s intense and X-rated—from a female gaze—and it will absolutely get you off.)

On the heels of her first American screening in L.A., we spoke to Lust about her revolt against male-centric content, the importance of ethical porn, and why audiences are so hungry for her style of sexual storytelling.

You’re often described as an erotic filmmaker, perhaps because the word “porn” doesn’t seem to do your films justice. Does the word “porn” get a bad rap, and how do you deal with that?

“People have so many ideas about what porn is, and most of those ideas have bad connotations around them. It’s related to mainstream porn that we are used to online today—this kind of ‘Pornhub’ porn. That is very different from my kind of porn. I show explicit sex, obviously, and the conventional porn is also showing explicit sex. But I am trying to do much more with my films. I am a filmmaker. I love film—that is my big passion.”

How would you explain the difference between your movies and mainstream porn to someone who hasn’t seen your films?

“It’s like the difference between eating fast food, and eating at a small little family-owned restaurant. You know, where the owners go to the market and pick out the ingredients themselves…where the owners are elaborating on an old recipe, trying everything out and deciding how it is going to look…caring about the quality.”

The fast-food analogy is such a perfect way to describe mainstream porn sites. A lot of it literally looks greasy, gross, and borderline unhealthy.

“Ha! Exactly!”

What do you think the problem is with mainstream pornography?

“My problem with porn is not the explicit sex in it, [it’s that] it’s so aggressive, so misogynistic, many times so racist, and sometimes even homophobic. It looks like [men] are more interested in punishing women, instead of, you know, coming together and just having a fabulous time! That is what sex should be about, right? But mainstream porn is all about fetishizing people based on body type, age, and race. It takes [away] the humanity of people, and that’s sad, because that’s the interesting part.”

Would you say your films are designed for women?

“I would say…my films are made from a female perspective with a female gaze, but they really are for everyone. I think men will find great benefits from watching real pleasure from women on screen.”

They might learn something!

“Exactly! Many men are confused about what pleasure really looks like. I mean, if you go to Pornhub or something like that, [the women] are all screaming from penetration, and we know that’s not true. We all know that most women need some sort of clitoral stimulation to create those kinds of screams.”

One of the differences between your films and mainstream porn is the casting. You have a lot of diversity. Can you tell us about your casting process?

“It’s totally essential. Without the right actors, you can’t really make it, and it’s something we have really been working a lot with over the last year, to get better at it. I work with a great casting director who is an actress, as well. But [it] is not easy to find the right people… You have to make an effort.”

You’ve been making films for over 10 years now, but recently your company has started to invest in other women’s films as well, financing projects. How important do you think it is to have representation behind the camera?

“I think it’s ridiculous that [mostly] men are telling the sexual stories of humanity. I started financing other women because I realized that I cannot change an industry by myself. The project is growing and has become bigger, and now I have the means to fund other films by women.”

You’ve spoken a fair bit about the importance of ethical porn. Can you elaborate on what that means in practice when it comes to your company?

“Ethical porn means taking care of your cast and crew—making sure that they’re comfortable, that they understand the contract they’re signing and the type of sex they’re agreeing to beforehand. All the sexual acts are negotiated up front, so there are no surprises. And then basic things; that they have water and snacks, that they have blankets, and that they have time to have a break. I hear from women that they feel so safe on my sets, because they are surrounded by sisters.”

You recently hosted a sold-out screening at the legendary Mack Sennett Studios in L.A., which was your first time screening in the States. What do you look forward to at these events?

“I love the audience interaction. I love to communicate with the audience, to answer their questions, to feel the energy in the room. When it comes to the screening in America, it’s particularly special because we really are a small art house European film company.”

Have you found difference between American viewers and Europeans? Do you think there is a different sensibility there about sex and sexuality?

“Absolutely. But even within Europe there are differences. In Germany, for example, they are very open-minded. America is a little bit more…hypocritical when it comes to porn. [Americans] want it, but they don’t want it. They are so drawn to porn privately, but then they don’t want to talk about it as much.”

You’ve mentioned that just how comedy is supposed to make you laugh and horror is supposed to make you scared, porn is supposed to turn you on. Has anyone ever enjoyed the films a little too much during a screening?

“I don’t know if I’ve ever seen anything bad. Mostly people are behaving very well! But when you say that, it sounds like that could be the plot of a new movie!”

Complete Article HERE!

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Performance Anxiety Doesn’t Mean the End of Your Sex Life… Here’s Why

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Sometimes sex can be stressful, but these steps may help you get your groove back.

by Stephanie Booth

[A]fter her first sexual partner belittled her in the bedroom, Steph Auteri began second-guessing herself when it came to sex.

“I felt self-conscious and nervous about being a disappointment to the other person,” the 37-year-old says. “I found myself never feeling sexual, never wanting to be intimate, and never initiating anything.”

Even with different partners, Auteri “went through the motions” of sex, always hoping the act would be over quickly.

“I felt broken,” she admits. “And more than anything else, I felt guilty for being weird about sex. I felt that I wasn’t someone who was worth committing to. Then, I would feel resentful for the fact that I had to feel guilty and would want sex even less. It was a vicious circle.”

“Sex anxiety,” like Auteri experienced, isn’t an official medical diagnosis. It’s a colloquial term used to describe fear or apprehension related to sex. But it is real — and it affects more people than is commonly known.

“In my experience, [the incidence] is relatively high,” says Michael J. Salas, LPC-S, AASECT, a certified sex therapist and relationship expert in Dallas, Texas. “Many sexual dysfunctions are relatively common, and almost all of the sexual dysfunction cases that I’ve worked with have an element of anxiety associated with them.”

How sex anxiety manifests can occur in a wide variety of ways for different people. Women may have a significant drop in libido or interest, have trouble getting aroused or having an orgasm, or experience physical pain during sex. Men can struggle with their performance or their ability to ejaculate.

Some people get so nervous at the idea of having sex that they avoid having it altogether.

However, Ravi Shah, MD, a psychiatrist at ColumbiaDoctors and assistant professor of psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City, suggests one of the keys to overcoming sex anxiety is viewing it as a “symptom” instead of a condition.

“You’re getting anxious around sex, but what’s the real diagnosis?” Shah asks.

The link between anxiety and sex

If it seems like just about everyone you know is anxious about something these days — well, that’s because they are. Anxiety disorders are currently the most common mental health issue in the United States, affecting about 40 million adults.

When a person senses a threat (real or imagined), their body instinctively switches into “fight or flight” mode. Should I stay and fight the snake in front of me, or book it to safety?

The chemicals that get released into the body during this process don’t contribute to sexual desire. Rather, they put a damper on it, so a person’s attention can be focused on the immediate threat.

“In general, people who experience anxiety disorders in the rest of their lives are more likely to experience sexual dysfunction, too,” says Nicole Prause, PhD, a sexual psychophysiologist and licensed psychologist in Los Angeles.

Additionally, trauma — such as sexual abuse or sexual assault — can trigger apprehension about sex. So can chronic pain, a change in hormones (like right after giving birth or when going through menopause), and even a lack of quality sex education.

“Abstinence-only education tends to create a stigma and shame around sex that can continue into adolescence and adulthood,” says Salas. “Sex education that focuses only on pregnancy ignores the importance of sexual stimulation and pleasure. This can leave people looking to porn for their sex education… [which] can increase myths of sexual performance and increase anxiety.”

“Some people may have anxiety around sex because they have unrealistic expectations about what healthy sex is,” agrees Shah. “Across both men and women, that has to do with low self-esteem, what sex is like in porn and movies versus in real life, and how much sex they feel they ‘should’ be having.”

“People wrongly believe everyone else is having sex all the time and it’s great and no one else has problems except them,” he adds.

How to alleviate sex anxiety

There are plenty of benefits to maintaining a healthy sex life. Sex improves your bond with your partner, gives your self-esteem a boost, and can lower your blood pressure and strengthen your immune system.

The “feel good” hormones released during sex can even help combat feelings of stress and anxiety.

So how do you get past your current anxiety about sex to reap those benefits?

Talk to your doctor

First, rule out any physical problems.

“Many physiological problems can increase sexual dysfunction, which can then increase sex anxiety,” Salas says. These include chronic health issues like arthritis, cancer, and diabetes. Certain medications, such as antidepressants, can also do a number on your libido.

Explore intimacy in different ways

“Sensate focus” exercises, which involve touching your partner and being touched for your own pleasure, are meant to help you reconnect with both your sensual and sexual feelings.

“Initially, no genital touching is allowed,” explains Prause. “More touching is gradually added back in as exercises progress, which are often done with a therapist between home sessions. These are done to help identify sources and times of anxiety and work through what those might mean.”

Since anxiety “most often is about something failing around the moments of penetration,” says Prause, you could also choose to avoid that specific act until your confidence builds back. That way, you can learn how to enjoy other pleasurable sexual activities that still provide intimacy, but without the pressure.

Just make sure you talk with your partner if you decide this direction is best for you. As Prause cautions, “There’s no skirting good communication on this one.”

Be mindful

During sex, you may find yourself trying to read your partner’s mind or worrying that you’re not living up to their fantasies. “Mindfulness can help keep you in the present, while managing negative emotions as they arise,” says Salas.

To do that, he urges his clients to view the signals they get from their body as information, rather than judgments. “Listen to your body, rather than try to override it,” he says.

For instance, instead of worrying why you don’t yet have an erection — and panicking that you should — accept that you’re still enjoying what you’re currently doing, like kissing or being touched by your partner.

“Noticing without judgment and acceptance are key aspects of lowering sexual anxiety,” says Salas.

Make sex a regular conversation

“It’s a fantasy that your partner should know what you want,” says Shah. “They don’t know what you want for dinner without you telling them, and the same goes for sexual activity.”

Choose a private moment and suggest, “There’s something I want to talk to you about in regards to sex. Can we talk about that now?” This gentle heads-up will give your partner a moment to mentally prepare. Then approach the heart of the matter: “I love you and want us to have a good sex life. One thing that’s hard for me is [fill-in-the-blank].”

Don’t forget to invite your partner to chime in, too, by asking: “How do you think our sex life is?”

Talking openly about sex may feel awkward at first, but can be a great starting point for working through your anxiety, Shah says.

Don’t discount foreplay

“There are so many ways to get sexual pleasure,” says Shah. “Massages, baths, manual masturbation, just touching each other… Build up a repertoire of good, positive experiences.”

Explore issues of shame

Maybe you’re embarrassed about your appearance, the number of partners you’ve had, a sexually transmitted disease — or perhaps you were raised to believe that your sexuality is wrong.

“When it comes to sex, shame isn’t very far behind,” says Salas. “The problem with shame is that we don’t talk about it. Some of us won’t even own it.” Identify which aspect is causing you to feel ashamed, then consider opening up about it to your partner.

“When people survive sharing the information that they’re most ashamed about, the fears of sharing it lessen,” says Salas. “They realize that they can share this, and still be accepted and loved.”

Seek professional help

If your anxiety isn’t confined to the bedroom, or you’ve tried without success to improve your sex life, seek professional help. “You may need more robust treatment with a therapist or even medication,” says Shah.

Life after sexual anxiety

Steph Auteri didn’t find an instant cure for her sex anxiety. It stuck around for 15 years. Even when she met her current husband, their first sexual encounter was marked by Auteri’s tears and a confession that she had “weirdness” about sex.

An accidental career as a sex columnist helped her slowly start to realize that her anxiety wasn’t so unusual. “People would comment or email me thanking me for being so open and honest about a thing they were also experiencing,” says Auteri, who’s now written a memoir, “A Dirty Word,” about her experience. “They had always thought they were alone. But none of us are alone in this.”

When she and her husband decided to have a baby, Auteri was surprised to find that the more she had sex, the more she desired it. A regular yoga practice also helped her improve a sense of mindfulness, and she started asking her husband for more foreplay and nonsexual intimacy throughout the day.

“I also became more open to intimacy even when I wasn’t necessarily ‘in the mood.’ Although let’s be real,” Auteri adds, “sometimes I’m really not in the mood, and I still honor that.”

And honoring our own feelings is often the first (and biggest) step toward overcoming sex anxiety.

Complete Article HERE!

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