Why Tumblr’s ban on adult content is bad for LGBTQ youth

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Tumblr’s new rules will likely shut much of the LGBTQ youth activity. Here a chaptered LGBTQ youth themed comic on Tumblr.

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As of Dec. 17, Tumblr will no longer allow “adult content,” defined as that which shows “real-life human genitals or female-presenting nipples, and any content — including photos, videos, GIFs and illustrations — that depicts sex acts.”

Before this, the platform’s lenient policies contrasted significantly with those of Facebook and Instagram, which have stricter content moderation guidelines.

This update follows the removal of Tumblr’s app from Apple’s app store after child pornography was found on the platform. However, it also reflects broader changes following Verizon’s acquisition of Yahoo, Tumblr’s parent company.

Katrin Tiidenberg, a researcher who has studied self-expression on Tumblr, conjectures that this change may have more to do with advertising sales than protecting users. Regardless of Tumblr’s motives, this update will seriously affect LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer) youth who rely on Tumblr and its communities for self-discovery and support.

‘Safer’ online spaces

Since LGBTQ identities have often been stigmatized, the internet has been pivotal in helping those with diverse gender and sexual identities learn about themselves and find each other. Tumblr has provided a safe space for this through many of its key features (e.g. pseudonymous accounts, reblogging) and the communities it attracts.

Given this, it’s not surprising that a large Australian survey found LGBTQ youth use Tumblr much more frequently than the rest of the population. Many respondents indicated content on Tumblr broadened their understanding of sexuality and gender and facilitated self-acceptance.

The Tumblr logo is displayed at Nasdaq in New York in July 2013.

Tumblr has served as an essential outlet for LGBTQ youth in relation to other popular platforms. Alexander Cho, a postdoctoral fellow at UC Irvine, has written about Tumblr’s “queer ecosystem” where “users circulate porn, flirt, provide support to deal with homophobia as well as advice on coming out…” Cho has found that queer youth of colour experience Facebook as a space of “default publicness” and prefer Tumblr for sharing intimate and personal content.

LGBTQ people have also found Tumblr to be powerful for self-representation. Through sophisticated hashtagging practices, transgender people share art, stories and engage in dialogue that challenges cisgender norms.

Researcher Tim Highfield and I have explored how sharing queer GIFs – short, looping media — not only allows LGBTQ youth to engage in Tumblr’s fan communities but also playfully displays queer culture en masse. This broad representation of LGBTQ identities may dissuade homophobic harassment, as some of the queer women I’ve interviewed perceive less discrimination on Tumblr.

What’s porn got to do with it?

Porn is a portion of the multiple forms of media resonating among LGBTQ users. This media allows them to knit together non-mainstream identities and survive in a world where heterosexuality is ubiquitously portrayed across social media and broadcast outlets.

Not all LGBTQ content contains genitals, “female-presenting nipples” or sex acts, but not all content with these elements constitutes what we would generally think of as pornography. Much of the sexualized content circulated among LGBTQ Tumblr users make available depictions of sexuality that are frequently rendered invisible or marginalized.

These can take the form of fan art, remixed film clips of sensual embraces and selfies. This media allows LGBTQ people to see themselves as sexual beings — something that is particularly important for young people developing a sense of sexual and gender identity.

Even if you disagree with teenagers accessing this type of content, Tumblr’s new policy bans it for everyone regardless of age. Formerly, users could voluntarily mark their blogs as “NSFW” (Not Safe for Work) if they posted occasional nudity and “adult” if posting substantial nudity. This provided a sort of checkpoint to hinder younger users in accessing this content.

Now even adults won’t be able to access “adult content.” This means that young people over 18, who may be facing formative life changes, like starting post-secondary education or moving away from home, won’t have access to media that may help them learn about their identity and feel supported while doing so.

Commercial platforms shape culture

Strict content moderation policies tend to have negative outcomes for already marginalized users. In my research with Jean Burgess and Nicolas Suzor, we found that some queer women experienced Instagram’s content moderation as overly stringent.

Instagram asks users to report content and responds through automated mechanisms. Therefore, queer women’s content was subject to removal based on other users’ whims and the banning of certain hashtags like #lesbian. Tumblr’s new updates promise a similar mixture of user reporting and automated content detection tools.

Several scholars have begun to critically examine how platforms’ decisions shape our social and cultural norms.

In Canada, Chris Tenove, Heidi Tworek and Fenwick McKelvey have pointed out that content moderation is not standardized and lacks federal oversight. Platforms often apply content moderation categories, such as “adult content,” without transparency or accountability.

Tumblr’s CEO, Jeff D’Onofrio, said: “There are no shortage of sites on the internet that feature adult content. We will leave it to them and focus our efforts on creating the most welcoming environment possible for our community.”

It seems that with this new change, youth who want to encounter sexual content will need to relocate. While some young people may turn to pornography sites, many of these sites are not designed with diverse sexual and gender identities in mind.

Youth entering these sites may be more likely to encounter stigmatized, stereotypical and demeaning representations of women and transgender people. Even LGBTQ-friendly pornography sites don’t have the elaborate community networks unique to Tumblr.

Such communities help youth to make sense of sexual content in relation to who they are becoming as they grow up. Tumblr’s decision means LGBTQ youth will have one less outlet where they can learn about sexual identity and gain support from peers who are like them and sharing content for them.

Complete Article HERE!

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What is BDSM?

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A beginners kinky guide to getting started with BDSM

By Mistress Scarlett

What is BDSM?

BDSM originally stood for the terms bondage, discipline, domination, submission, sadism and masochism but is now generally accepted to mean any sexual practice or interest that is outside of the mainstream. Interestingly enough, not all BDSM is about sex and there are many aspects that are enjoyed by BDSM lovers that has nothing to do with sex. We will however, in this beginners guide, mainly focus on the more erotic side of BDSM, which is usually what draws people to a more alternative choice in the bedroom and even outside of it.  BDSM play can take on many forms and incorporate a wide variety of kinks. It doesn’t have to be about tying someone up and having your wicked way with them, although this type of fantasy is often what gets people curious about the lifestyle.

So are you curious and wondering what BDSM is all about? While there is no actual BDSM guide, there are a number of important factors to look at before jumping in blindly. We can consider this a beginner’s guide to BDSM but it is far from complete and will only offer some guidelines and insights for people who are new to BDSM or curious about it. To start off with, you need to let your imagination be your guide and don’t get bogged down by the way BDSM is portrayed in porn or in sensationalized movies which have minimal bearing on what BDSM actually is. You do not need a dungeon, you do not need special equipment and you do not need fetish clothing to start with. If you really get involved in kink, you can always add these things in later. You can always start with things you have in your home. Use the back of a brush for spanking or a tie as a blindfold. All it takes is a little imagination. Let’s look a little more in-depth in to BDSM for beginners.

BDSM, what is it actually We will do a quick breakdown of what the term means before we get in to the beginners BDSM basics. Bondage and discipline refers to restraining a partner which can be done in many ways, from fluffy handcuffs to rope, and for the more advanced, you can try Shibari and other forms of decorative bondage, which is artistic as well as effective. The discipline part can be physical, mental, emotional or a combination of these. This often forms part of training to change behaviors to suit the partner that is in control. This can also simply be erotic such as spanking and flogging for enjoyment. While it is not recommended for beginners, this type of discipline can also lead to sadism and masochism as well as humiliation play and more.

While there are many types of BDSM, most BDSM play for beginners will focus on the dominant and submissive part which means that one person is in control (the Dominant) and one person is being controlled (the submissive). In the lifestyle, male dominants are usually referred to as Doms or Masters, while female dominants are referred to as Dommes or Mistresses. Submissive are usually referred to as subs or slaves, depending on the level of control. There are other terms used as well, but these are the most common. When you are just starting out with BDSM your role may not be defined and may actually fluctuate. A switch is a person that enjoys being both dominant and submissive in different circumstances. For BDSM plays, it is good to establish one person as being in control and the other person as being the submissive, even if it is just for the sake of role play at the beginning.

Sadism and masochism is usually not the first port of call for those starting off in BDSM besides perhaps a light spanking. This part of BDSM refers to giving and receiving pain. Masochists enjoy and often experience erotic pleasure from inflicting pain while sadists enjoy receiving pain for a variety of reasons. For some it is the pleasure from the hormones released, for others it is the joy their partner experiences and for others it is purely letting go of themselves for a period of time. BDSM can include a combination of these aspects and can include some or all of the above. There is no strict lines drawn, BDSM is what you make of it.

Okay, now let’s look at how to BDSM up your bedroom and beyond. This is the beginner’s guide to what is BDSM that was promised. The following is a guideline which will help you get started and also assist you with protocol and the basics for BDSM play.

Take it slow

Do not run out and outfit a dungeon or buy up every BDSM toy you can find right at the start. Everything comes with time and experience. Even something as simple as spanking does take practice and needs to be done well for full enjoyment. You don’t have to try out every kink and fetish over the space of a weekend. There are many deep, dark desires and plenty temptations in the BDSM lifestyle, but take your time to explore, learn and enjoy and you will get a lot more out of the lifestyle.

Consent is Key

This should actually be step one, step two and step three in the guide. Before any BDSM play starts there needs to be consent. You and your partner need to be fully aware of all risks involved in the potential play. All parties have to be informed and agree to what will be happening. There needs to be no coercion. Consent needs to be freely given and the persons need to be of an age and in a state of mind that is acceptable for giving consent. It is not acceptable to manipulate someone in to giving consent or to play with someone who has given consent while under the influence. BDSM can involve risks of a physical, mental and sexual nature so no play is ever to take place without consent given willingly before anything starts.

Enjoy it

BDSM is not the same as you see in the movies, there will be some awkwardness, you may feel silly and you may make mistakes but BDSM is about fun. Explore some fetishes, delve in to your darker desires but most of all, and enjoy it. If you are not enjoying something, try something else. That is what makes BDSM so much fun, there are endless kinks to try and you are sure to discover one or two along the way that really make your toes curl. Don’t be afraid to talk to people in the community to help ensure that your play times are safe. They may even give you some naughty ideas to try out with your partner.

Power play decisions

If you get in to the power play part of BDSM, it is important to have a dominant and a submissive during role play, even though you might want to switch roles next time around. Before play starts, both parties have an equal say in what is going to happen and all possible risks need to be discussed and consent given. Once the role-play starts, the one in control needs to take the lead and be in control of the play. You can choose to end your role-play at any point if it is uncomfortable for either of you. At a later point you might want to look at pushing boundaries and limits a little, but this is not recommended when you are just starting out in BDSM.

Have a safe word

It is important to also include safe words when negotiating a BDSM scene or session. Many people use colors such as Red to indicate an immediate stop, orange or amber to indicate that they are close to their limits or to slow down and green to indicate everything is okay and to continue. Others choose more elaborate safe words to prevent accidental use of the words during play. It is important to note that the safe words not be overly complicated so that people cannot remember them should it become necessary to use them. If people are unable to communicate verbally during a scene due to a gag or similar, it is important to establish non-verbal safe words that can be used.

BDSM is often restricted to the bedroom for many people although some do go as far as 24/7 BDSM where there are protocols and behaviors required even when not role-playing. This is generally referred to as lifestyle BDSM. You might only enjoy role-playing in the bedroom or you and your partner might want a full time Master/slave relationship or even an Owner/puppy relationship or a Daddy/baby girl dynamic. There are many variations and some work for some people while others prefers no dynamic at all. You can try a few different roles and see what appeals to you and you may also decide at some point if you want it to be permanent roles within the home or if you only want to practice your kink in the bedroom.

The key to BDSM is being open and honest with your partner. Discuss what turns you on, and what does not. Have a conversation about triggers, health concerns, previous experiences that may be relevant and especially your hard and soft limits. Your partner will need to be as open and able to discuss these aspects with you as well. Talk about your wants and needs and what you would like to try and see where the two of you match up. Soft limits may eventually fall away, but ensure that hard limits are established and update continuously so that you do not overstep these boundaries at any point. Start the chat with simple fantasies and go from there. BDSM is not something you experience in one day and then you’ve done it all. There is so much to learn and explore and how much you learn and explore depends on you.

Complete Article HERE!

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Holiday sex toy shopping dos and don’ts

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By Lucky Tomaszek

Like it or not, we’ve entered the annual period of seasonal gift giving. Hanukkah begins Sunday, December 2. St. Nick’s follows on Thursday, December 6 (leave your shoes out on the night of the 5th). Next up is Winter Solstice on Friday, December 21. And then we wrap up the traditional gifting holidays with Christmas on Tuesday, December 25. Basically, if you’ve got a romantic partner in your life, you’re probably going to be doing a little shopping real soon.

Each year, the staff of the Tool Shed spends about six weeks helping people navigate the fun—but sometimes tricky—adventure of purchasing sex toys for another person. Giving overtly sexy gifts has an etiquette all its own. There are some obvious things (like don’t give an acquaintance a set of vibrating nipple clamps) that are basically common sense. But there are some less obvious things, too. Read on for some important gift giving dos and don’ts from Tool Shed staffers…

Don’t limit yourself to obvious sex toys, i.e. dildos, vibrators, butt plugs, etc. Shy or modest folks may recoil from a gift so blatant. You may also find that a person is just not interested in owning or using a sex toy. And if you’re in a new relationship, getting a sex toy out of the blue can feel like a lot of pressure.

Do remember how many different ways there are to be sexy. TS staffer Stephanie says, “For my sister, I got soap and socks with a gift card. It encouraged her to come back to the store and shop for herself.” Massage oil, books, underwear, and truth or dare games are also fun ideas.

Don’t just buy the most expensive vibrator you can find. You wouldn’t believe how often this happens! A customer will walk in the store, browse briefly, and pick out a vibrator in the $179-$219 price range. Sometimes they’ll ask, “So, is this the best one?” And we’ll try to explain that there’s no best vibrator for everyone. It’s a very individual thing. But because our culture equates cost with quality, they buy the toy anyway.

Do pick a toy that is body safe and reliable, but also that’s likely to make your partner happy. Different things are important to different people. Some people love vibration, while other people find it distracting or annoying. Some people want something small and discreet, but some folks feel that bigger is better. Even color can make or break someone’s relationship with a sex toy.

Don’t buy a sex toy to fulfill your own fantasy, especially if you’ve never discussed it with your partner. For instance, TS staffer Ashe says, “Unless you’ve had a few conversations with your partner about anal play, don’t surprise your partner with an anal toy.” This is also true for BDSM related gifts like paddles, masks, and bondage supplies. New items for activities that you haven’t talked about before can feel less like a special treat and more like an ambush.

Do pick a toy based on what you know about your partner’s pleasure and previous sex toy experience. If the two of you have had your eye on something, but have held back because it seemed too extravagant for a random Tuesday in June, now’s a great time to pick it up. TS staffer Kayla adds, “If you haven’t tried mojoupgrade.com, it might be a great and somewhat subtle way of finding a new gift idea that you would both enjoy. This website allows you and a sexual partner to choose what you both want or desire, then emails you the areas in which you overlap.”

Don’t assume that you’ll get to participate in the using of the sex toy. If it’s a gift, then the recipient gets to decide how they’re going to use it. Before you buy something, ask yourself who will really benefit from the gift. If you want to get your boyfriend a cockring so that his erection will last longer, talk about that ahead of time. If you’re dying to use a vibrator on your girlfriend because you want to see her reaction, be up front about that.

Do give a gift because you want your partner to be happy, and to have some tools to make that easier. While there are definitely toys that are designed for couples to use together, gifts should be things that will bring joy to the receiver.

Don’t use gift giving to make a joke or intentionally cause someone to feel embarrassed. As Kayla wisely says, “Avoid gag gifts or gifts meant as a prank. They may seem funny at the time, but the money you’ve spent could go towards a gift they’ll definitely enjoy, without all the stigma and shame wrapped up around it. Consider getting a hilarious card or funny wrapping paper instead, and have the gift either be meaningful or practical.”

Do pick up supplies and accessories to help the recipient enjoy the gift. That could mean batteries, lube, locking toy box, or instructional book. Consider charging up rechargeable toys so they’re ready right out of the wrapping paper. Make sure you know how to clean and care for the toys, and share that information when you give the gift.

Complete Article HERE!

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Gender Identity in Weimar Germany

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Remembering an early academic effort to define sexual orientation and gender identity as variable natural phenomena, rather than moral matters.

The Eldorado, a popular gay night club in Berlin, 1932

By: Livia Gershon

As the already precarious legal rights of trangender Americans come under renewed threat, it’s worth looking back at the first political movement around gender identity in the modern West. As German Studies scholar Katie Sutton writes, that was activism by people in Weimar Germany who referred to themselves as “transvestites.”

Sutton writes that sex researcher and political activist Magnus Hirschfield invented the term “transvestism” in 1910. “Transvestites” were understood as people whose gender identity and preferred clothing did not align with the sex to which they were assigned at birth. Hirschfield was part of an academic effort to define sexual orientation and gender identity as variable natural phenomena rather than moral matters.

Under German law, cross-dressing could be prosecuted as a public nuisance. But starting in 1908, the government began issuing “transvestite certificates” with the support of Hirschfield and other scientists and psychologists. Holding a “transvestite certificate” allowed people to legally wear clothing that contradicted their assigned biological sex.

After World War I, Sutton writes, continuing urbanization, social liberalism, and the spread of new “scientific” ideas about sexuality in the Weimar Republic helped usher in a movement for gay rights. The nation’s two major gay organizations sponsored subgroups and publications for transvestites. In big cities, they organized lectures, fashion parades and balls, and other social events. For trans people scattered across the country, they published magazine columns and supplements.

Cover of The Lesbians of Berlin by Magnus Hirschfeld

The science of sex that Hirschfield and other German researchers were developing informed transvestite organizing. In the magazine supplements, readers debated “sex-change” operations and discussed the biological underpinnings of their identities. One described blood tests required to apply for an official name change, which supposedly revealed “gender-specific elements of both sexes.”

Like the larger gay rights movement at the time, the public face of transvestite organizing was middle-class and focused on bourgeois values. Fighting back against lurid media stereotypes of cross-dressing criminals, the organizations worked for more visibility of “respectable” trans people. They called on their members to apply for transvestite certificates en masse and to “confess” their identity to their spouses, families, and coworkers. Middle-class male-to-female transvestite organizers policed their peers, rejecting gaudy clothing and celebrating the ability to “pass” as a middle-class lady. (Female-to-male dressing was simpler since masculine clothing was fashionable for cis women in the mid-20s.)

Despite their organizational connections with gay groups, transvestite activists drew a line between gender presentation and sexual orientation. Female-to-male transvestites were often sidelined, partly because they were closely identified with lesbian culture. Many male-to-female representatives featured in the movement’s media took pains to declare themselves heterosexual—by which they meant biologically male people who were attracted to women. (A flip side of this was gay men embracing militaristic masculinity to gain acceptance within the rising Nazi party.)

Despite all their self-policing, the transvestite movement came under attack when the Nazis gained power. The party made Hirschfield’s Institute of Sexology one of its first targets in 1933. Still, the activists’ work helped pave the way for today’s transgender movement.

Complete Article HERE!

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5 Blindfolded Sex Positions That’ll Heighten Every Sense

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Blindfolds are really an excuse to just sit back and enjoy the ride.

Blindfolds are like the duct tape of sex—they’re multi-purpose. They can help you be super present and lessen your inhibitions while also making everything seem a little edgier. Caveat though: the first time being blindfolded is scary. If you’re the blindfolder, be super gentle, keep talking so your partner has a sense of where you are, and try to keep a reassuring hand resting on them at all times. Have safe words if you’re incorporating any sort of bondage. If you’ve got all that down, go for it!

1 The Beginner’s Brush

Have a first timer lie face down (it feels less vulnerable that way). Toy with their other senses–a scarf trailed up their inner thigh, an ice cube or massage oil candle left to melt in the small of their back, a taste of something on your finger (Chocolate? Wine? You?). The finale? A handy with warmed lube.

2 The Mystery Dance

They won’t be able to see you, but they’ll feel you extra. And if you’re inhibited by an inner critic offering unwanted commentary during sex, a blindfold can stop that shit. It tricks your brain—if you can’t see your partner, they can’t see you–so it’s easier to relax and grind away as you please with no one looking at you.

3 The Rapture

Again, this is also good if you’re feeling a little shy or inhibited–lie back and really enjoy their mouth or a toy on you. (This is especially perfect after a long day. Treat yourself!!!).

4 The Blindfold Bluff

Go a lil BDSM (again, ask first because consent) by sitting their ass in a chair and telling them to do as you say. Brush a boob across their cheek and mouth, let them feel your wetness, lick your way up their thigh. Reward their bravery with the finest oral. If you want to freak them out extra (again, consent times infinity here), leave the room for a moment or two and let them wonder when you’ll be back (and what you’ll do when you are).

5 The Blackout

If you feel like blindfold pros, bust out two of them and try to feel your way into a semi-tricky position (It beats just turning out the lights because you can always peek through your blindfold if you need to). You’re on your back with one leg up over your partner’s shoulder, while they kneel and straddle your leg. Teamwork but also sensory overload.

Complete Article HERE!

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What the BDSM community can teach us about consent

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By Olivia Cassano

In heteronormative porn scripts, enthusiastic consent is about as common as a real female orgasm.

However, there’s a fringe of mainstream society that actually knows how to practise affirmative consent, and one from whom the general community could learn a thing or two: BDSM enthusiasts.

As it turns out, kinksters are the ones who have been doing sex right this whole time.

According to a recent survey conducted by the sexual health charity FPA (Family Planning Association), 47% of the 2,000 people surveyed think it’s OK for someone to withdraw consent if they are already naked, and only 13% said they would discuss issues of consent with a partner.

Too often in sexual encounters, consent is considered implicit: it’s rarely asked for, and sex continues until someone – usually the woman – says no.

However, in BDSM scenarios, only a clear, enthusiastic and ongoing ‘yes’ constitutes consent. There’s a big difference between our mainstream ‘no means no’ mentality and BDSM’s ‘yes means yes’ approach.

Speaking to Metro.co.uk, sex educator, queer porn maker and BDSM provider Pandora Blake explains that the absence of a ‘no’ isn’t enough to constitute consent.

‘We’re conditioned from a young age to not say no,’ Pandora tells us. ‘Women are socialised to be people-pleasing, and when you get into the habit of people-pleasing it can make it hard not only to say no but to even be in touch with what we want.’

Because BDSM is an umbrella term that encapsulates a wide spectrum of different activities, Blake explains that you can never assume what your partner will be keen on.

‘Saying “I’m into BDSM” doesn’t mean you’re going to know what the other person actually likes, and you have to talk through it to find out if you have any kinks in common.

‘In mainstream sex people think they know the script, and actually that script doesn’t work for a lot of people, but there’s this assumption that they know what sex is.’

In the BDSM scene, partners explicitly negotiate specific sex acts beforehand, rather than assuming it’s kosher until somebody says no. Because BDSM can be risky and push people’s comfort limits, those who practise it don’t just assume a partner will be okay with a certain act just because they haven’t said ‘no’.

‘Everybody who plays BDSM games has their own ways of keeping themselves safe, and there are different community standards which different people subscribe to,’ says Blake. ‘One of the mantras that people use is Safe, Sane and Consensual, which is the idea that any riskier activities are done in a way that minimises risk and is as safe as possible.

‘Sane refers to people’s abilities to give informed consent, so: are they in a state of mind where they’re able to look after themselves? Are they sober, for example? Are they going through a crisis in their life right now where they’d be inclined to make bad decisions?

‘Another system people use is Risk-Aware Consensual Kink, which makes slightly more space for risky activity, if they consent.’

BDSM is a subculture where consent and negotiation are normalised and accepted. A 2016 study published in the Journal of Sex Research found that compared to vanilla people, the kink community had significantly lower levels of benevolent sexism, rape myth acceptance, and victim blaming.

Another survey published in 2012 by the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom also found that 85% of BDSM practitioners polled agreed with statements such as ‘a person can revoke consent at any time’, ‘consent should be an ongoing discussion in a relationship’, and ‘clear, overt consent must be given before a scene’. Over 93% of respondents endorsed the statement ‘consent is not valid when coerced’.

‘From pre-negotiations to post-mortems – just talking about things before, after and all the way throughout – it really just comes down to communication and making sure that everybody is on the same page,’ explains Blake.

‘Most consent violations happen because people are selfish and don’t have the communication tools to find out what’s going on with the other person, but most of us want to be having sex with people who genuinely want to be having sex with us.

‘There is nothing sexier than getting that information from your partner.’

Pleasure plays a huge part in consent, and heterosexual women are the ones who get the sh*t end of the stick in bed. While 95% of straight men regularly orgasm during sex, only 65% of straight women do. Society discourages us from talking about sex (ahem, prudes), making it harder for women especially to explore what they like in bed.

If we don’t encourage women to speak up about what they want in bed, how will we ever normalise affirmative consent?

‘This idea that consent is a contract is really pernicious,’ Blake says. ‘Consent is revocable and ongoing, and being encouraged to change your mind is necessary for consent. By saying you’ve changed your mind, you’re helping your partner respect your boundaries.’

‘Consent isn’t about just avoiding negative situations, it’s not about getting permission to do something, it’s an active process and collaboration between two people who respect each other to create the best experience for everyone involved.’

The same rules of engagement the BDSM community respects can easily be applied to vanilla encounters. Talking about what you want before, during and after a sexual encounter isn’t just necessary, but can be incredibly sexy too.

Asking and giving consent doesn’t have to be a formal sit down where you lay out all the things you’re ok and not ok with (although, if you want to do it that way, it’s perfectly cool).

In fact, foreplay and dirty talk are perfect ways to practice explicit consent. Asking things like ‘can I do X?’, ‘do you like it when I X?’, ‘I want to do X to you, do you want that?’ not only make the experience that much hotter, but they make sure you’re respecting your partner’s boundaries.

The only reason some people think of consent as a formal request for a sex, something that ruins the mood, is because in heteronormative, vanilla sex scenes, consent is rarely given as explicitly as it should be.

Explicit consent has a number of advantages over the implicit consent practised (or better yet, not practised) in traditional sexual scripts because everyone is required and encouraged to ask for what they want.

Boundaries and acts that are off-limit are clearly discussed, there’s no intimidation or coercion, and there’s no ambiguous silence that can be exploited. Just because you’re not keen on a flogging session, doesn’t mean you can’t learn a thing or two from BDSM.

Complete Article HERE!

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How to Use A Wand Vibrator During Sex

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By GiGi Engle

It’s no secret that a wand vibrator is the cornerstone of any notable sex toy collection. There is a reason why Hitachi wands have been best sellers since their advent in the 70s: They deliver powerful, insanely awesome orgasms.

The wand is the clit-whisperer. No matter who you are or what you like, almost every woman will agree that a wand vibrator is the best thing in the world.

Did you know that the love you have for your wand can be a part of partner sex and not just your favorite masturbation accomplice? Yes, that’s correct. The two things are not mutually exclusive. Here’s how to use your favorite giant sex toy during sex.

Why a wand vibrator during sex?

Bringing sex toys into the bedroom is finally becoming a new normal for many people — as .it should. Nearly every woman requires stimulation of the external clitoris to experience orgasm. Sex toys are a conduit to this necessary sexual touching, and vibrators are designed to help you orgasm. Any partner who is comfortable with themselves will not be intimidated by a sex toy, but rather open to experimentation. After all, who doesn’t want their partner to come?

If you’re in the early stages of your sex toy adventures, you’ll probably want to start with something small and non-threatening. Finger vibrators and pocket rockets are excellent for beginners, but eventually you’ll probably be ready to graduate to something bigger and more powerful. That’s where wang vibrators come in.

Wands are, for the most part, freaking enormous. I’m currently looking at my favorite wand and this sucker is a solid twelve inches long. It’s a subway sandwich-sized sex toy.

We love our wands because of their power-packed charge and long handles. They make masturbation easy. You can hold the handle at chest-height and reach the clitoris without moving a muscle. Convenient! The girthy head gives you all-over clitoral stimulation without having to do much in the way of maneuvering.

For the brave amongst you, these same positive attributes can be utilized during partner play. You may have cornered the wand as your solo-only toy, but its big head and long body make orgasms during intercourse even easier.
If you want to ease your partner into it, start by having them watch you use it on yourself. This can be a huge turn on. Seeing how you make yourself orgasm could be just the push your partner needs to get on board.

The best positions for wand play

Starting out with wand play means finding the right positions that are both comfortable and orgasmic for you. Now is not the time to be getting acrobatic. There will plenty of opportunities for that later down the line. For now, stick to these three basic positions to get placement in order.

Don’t worry if it feels awkward at first. All new sex things are weird in the beginning.

Missionary: Your wand can seriously spice up this go-to position. When you’re in missionary, slip the wand between you and your partner. If they are able to stay propped up on the their arms, it will help make some extra room for the wand. Hold the wand like you would while masturbating on your back.

The reach of the wand’s base helps you access your clitoris without reaching down too far. You’ll have ample opportunity to make out with your partner and focus on the combination of internal and external stimulation. Your partner’s weight will add to the pressure of the wand head on your clitoris for intense, full-body orgasms

Open-Legged Spoon: This is like a regular spoon only, you know, open-legged. Lie on your back and spread your legs, bent at the knee. Have your partner enter you from below, perpendicular to your body. Drape your knees over their side. You can align bodies like you would in a classic spoon for more intimacy

Grab your wand and rest it on the clitoris. This is an ideal lazy-girl sex position. You have total access to your clitoris, while your partner penetrates you. This low-impact position will change how you see your wand forever. Plus, it’s super sexy and dirty looking.

Doggy Style: For those of you who enjoy masturbating on all-fours with a wand, this will be your bread and butter. Lie on your stomach, sticking two or three pillows under your hips. Prop your wand against the pillows so you can lean your vulva against the top. Have your partner enter you with either their penis, fingers or dildo from behind.

A wand is amazing for doggy style because you get to ride it while your partner is riding you. You’re basically the center of a filthy nasty sandwich — something everyone deserves.

Queening: This position is great for everyone, but works especially well for same-sex couples. Lean your back against a throne of pillows like a queen. Grab the wand and hold it against your glans clitoris while your partner uses their tongue on the rest of your vulva. The vaginal opening is full of nerve endings and is amazing for exploration. They can also lick up and down your labia. Want to make it even more intense? Have them place a stainless steel dildo inside your vagina while they lick around the opening. The weight of the toy will pull the entire pelvic floor and internal clitoris downwards, resulting in an orgasm for the books.

If you don’t already have a wand vibrator, stop what you’re doing right now! You need one. Whether you’re planning to use it for partner play, by yourself, or both, it’s a must-have.

While Hitachi has long reigned supreme, it’s never admitted to being a sex toy. To this day it claims to be a neck massager. There are approximately zero people on this planet who have used a Hitachi magic wand as a neck massager, but I digress.

Female-run companies have stepped up and created wands that are proudly marketed as sex toys. Plus, they’re made from high quality materials you can trust. Our favorites are Le Wand and Ollie from Unbound. We like our sex toys like we like everything else: Highly quality, feminist, and orgasmic.

Complete Article HERE!

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5 Ways to Be More Sexual…

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Even When You’re Not in Bed

By Amy Stanton & Catherine Connors

Getting in touch with your erotic self can help you feel more authentic, and confident too.

This may seem counterintuitive in a culture that celebrates the Kardashians and made 50 Shades of Grey a bestseller, but female sexual power has always been controversial.

Women who own their erotic power have, for pretty much all of human history, been seen as dangerous and disruptive. (Who is Eve, after all, if not a brazen woman who tempts an otherwise innocent man? And she, apparently, caused humanity to be kicked out of paradise as a result!) History and theology are full of tales of women whose sexual power caused the downfall of nations and peoples. From the Hindus’ Mohini to the Greeks’ Sirens to the Old Testament’s Jezebel, Delilah, and Salome to Stormy Daniels—sexually confident women have been long characterized as capital-T Trouble.

It’s not hard to figure out why: women’s sexual power has long been directly associated with men’s sexual weakness. Delilah’s cutting of Samson’s hair is a figurative castration: a sexually powerful woman can rob a man of his strength and will and render him vulnerable. Other cultures viewed a man’s falling under the influence of a woman as so disempowering that it could only be the work of demons or other supernatural forces. And we all know the tragedy of the cuckold (who persists to the present day in the idea of the “cuck”): sexually duped by a woman, the cuckolded man can’t know who his real children are, and so is effectively impotent. (That this became the basis for The Maury Povich Show is arguably a compounded tragedy.)

The idea that women shouldn’t be sexually empowered runs so deep that we often don’t realize how much it influences us. Take the notion of the “slut” and the double standard it purveys. According to author and journalist Peggy Orenstein, “A sexually active girl [or woman] is a slut while a similar boy [man] is a player.” Apart from “player,” we don’t really have words to describe the sexually active boy or man. Girls and women are called “sluts,” “whores,” “slags,” “slatterns,” and (for older women) “cougars,” to name a few. And although we shame unabashedly sexual women (think of how much vitriol gets aimed at Kim Kardashian), we also vilify the so-called prude who suppresses her sexuality. To say that these double standards and contradictions create a confusing landscape for girls and women is an understatement.

It’s not only confusing… it’s also a dangerous landscape. In the era of #metoo, #BelieveHer, and #WhyIDidntReport, we are more aware than ever that our confidence—sexual or otherwise—won’t protect us from the risk of assault. And even though we know that the arguments about constraining women’s sexual freedom for our own protection are completely bogus–even dangerous—it’s hard to not absorb the chill of those messages. So how do we claim and own our sexual power? How can we use it in a way that promotes our emotional, spiritual, and physical well-being?

We think the starting point is to get in touch with your erotic self. Explore your sexual identity so that you can get to know it better. As Amy discusses in our book, The Feminine Revolution, one of the ways she does this is by embracing her love of lingerie—a love that started for her, because it made her feel great and then if men appreciate it, even better. For Catherine it’s been a process of embracing sensuality in all its forms—not just sexual—and getting to know what moves and inspires her senses. For you, it could be something completely different—what matters is only that you get started. Ask yourself, What makes me feel good? What makes me feel sexually and sensually gratified—and confident? And consider trying a few of these tricks:

Practice the skill of erotic observation

Explore what it feels like to “love” a sunset or the curve of smoke above a fire—and cultivate connection to beauty everywhere you find it. Your erotic self is defined by its connection to beauty and spirit in all forms, so being in touch with your erotic—and, by extension, sexual—power requires practicing appreciation of those things outside the sphere of sex and romance.

Use your senses

Sexuality is a power of the mind, but also, of course, of the body, and so the practiced exercise of sexual power requires connection to the senses. But this isn’t restricted to the sexual experiences of the senses—on the contrary, honing your senses more broadly can only enhance more, um, specific sensual experiences. Pay attention to what delights your senses. Is it the taste of fine wine or great chocolate? Is it the warmth of crackling fires, the feel of wind in your hair, the tingling of your muscles after a run? Do more of that. Find more of that.

Own your physicality

The way you sit, the way you walk—every movement plays into your sexual power. How can this work to your advantage? How can you express yourself intentionally through your movement? Pilates is a great way to get really specific with your various body parts and learn how to move and control them. Dance allows you to free and express yourself. Bring attention to how you’re walking down the street and how you feel.

Experiment

Try different ways of expressing and feeling your sensuality and sexuality. See how it feels. Play with it—visit extremes and fantasies. What feels right? Perhaps you’ll find you’ve been playing it too safe, and there’s room to indulge. Or maybe you’ll find that you want to dial it back. No matter what, the result is clarity and power.

Find inspiration in others

Look to sexual/sensual/erotic role models as a way to find your own approach to sexuality. Consider people across the gender spectrum: Whom do you find sexy? Why? What about that person is sexually or erotically compelling? Is it his or her physical beauty or sense of style, intelligence, or charisma? Understanding what we find erotic—what we desire—can help us find our own sexual being.

As we explore our femininity, our feminine power and, as part of that, our sexuality and sexual power, let’s not forget it’s a journey. A journey of freeing ourselves, learning what makes us feel our best and most confident and moving towards true authenticity. Towards a better world for us and for those around us.

Complete Article HERE!

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Fire & Ice:

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A How-To Guide To Temperature Sex Play

By Kasandra Brabaw

Temperature play might sound kind of intense, but working hot and cold into your sex life is actually pretty easy. All you need to get started is a bowl of ice or a glass of hot water. But why play with temperature at all? Besides the obviously sexy thought of rolling an ice cube around your lips and then down your partner’s body, what does adding heat or cold to your sex life actually do? It’s all about the psychology of it.

“When temperature play is negotiated and consented to, the brain starts preparing for a sexy and exciting experience, and basically puts nerve endings in the body — erogenous zones, but also everywhere else — on high alert for new sensations,” says Dulcinea Pitagora, a sex therapist known as the Kink Doctor.

Of course, not everyone is going to be interested in temperature play. And if you’re not into it, don’t feel like you have to be, says Holly Richmond, PhD, a somatic psychologist and certified sex therapist (CST). Temperature play can be fun, but not wanting to play with ice or heat doesn’t make you boring in bed. “My husband absolutely detests cold,” Dr. Richmond says. So he wouldn’t find it sexy if she pulled out a bowl full of ice, and that’s totally fine.

If you are intrigued, using cold or heat can be a fun way to mix up your usual sex routine. Pro tip: Consider blindfolding the partner on the receiving end of the temperature play. Restricting their sense of sight can make the feelings of hot and cold more intense.

But like many kinks, temperature play can range from harmless to potentially dangerous. So if you’re a beginner, start slowly. You don’t want to dive in with the more edgy forms of temperature play like fire play or branding, Pitagora says. Instead, try the tips listed below

1
Put your dildo in the freezer, or stick it in a cup of hot water

Certain sex toys, like those made from glass or metal, are great for temperature play because they hold the heat or the cold really well. Put your toy in the freezer for a while or warm up a glass of water and dunk it in for a few minutes to heat it up.

Be careful: You don’t want to stick either a scalding or a totally frozen sex toy inside of your body. Place the dildo against your wrist to check that it’s a comfortable temperature before you start using it.

2
Drip ice cream (or whip cream, or another tasty treat)

Why not combine food play and temperature play — all you need is some ice cream or whip cream. Drip or spray the treat over your partner’s body. They’ll get to feel a fun cold sensation as it hits their skin and then a nice warm up when you lick it off. Sure, playing with food can be sticky, but it’s also sweet.

Be careful: If either partner has a vagina, be careful not to get ice cream too close to their vulva. Sugar can cause yeast infections, and no one wants that.

3
Warm your mouth before oral sex

Before you go down on someone, it can be fun to warm up your mouth. How do you make your mouth hot, you ask? With hot tea, coffee, or any other hot thing you want to drink.

Be careful: Again, sugar near a vagina can cause yeast infections. So if you’re planning to go down on someone who has a vagina, maybe drink your coffee or tea black.

4
Play with ice

This is maybe the most obvious tip, but it’s also one of the most versatile. With an ice cube, you can cool you mouth down before performing oral sex, drip melted ice water over your partner’s body, rub the ice around their nipples, and lots of other things if you know how to get creative.

Be careful: It might sound counter-intuitive, but there’s a chance your ice could be too cold. Like that scene in A Christmas Story when the kid sticks his tongue to a metal pole, a too-cold ice cube could stick to your partner’s skin. But it’s an easy fix: Either take some ice out and let it warm up in a bowl for a bit or stick the cube in your mouth and warm it with your body heat.

5
Try wax play

Think of it like dripping cold ice water over your partner’s body, except instead of freezing water it’s melted wax. With the right kind of candle, you can turn temperature play into a sexy massage.

Be careful: Don’t just use any old candle from your cupboard. Melted wax from regular candles can be so hot that it causes burns, Pitagora says. “When playing with hot wax, it’s important to use the right kind of wax, as some candles burn hotter than others and vary in terms of toxicity,” they say. Instead of a regular candle, use a massage oil candle that you can buy in any sex toy shop (or online, like this one). Candles made for sex burn at cooler temperatures, so they’re less likely to burn your skin.

6
Warm up your lube, or cool it down

If you’re a fan of lube (and really, why wouldn’t you be?), then you can use your favorite lube for temperature play. “If lube is at body temperature, we’re not feeling it. All we’re feeling is the penetration or the vibration,” Dr. Richmond says. “But if you add that extra layer, that extra element of warmth or cool, that takes things to another sensory level.” Stick your lube in the fridge for a few minutes to cool it down, Dr. Richmond suggests. Or, get a lube warmer, such as a Touch or a Pulse.

Be careful: Just like with your sex toys, you don’t want to get your lube too warm or too cold. Test a few drops on your wrist before using the lube if you’re concerned.

Complete Article HERE!

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4 Sexy Ways to Use Sensation in the Bedroom

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Sex is all about sensation and sensual touch. So whether you’re hitting the sack with a one night stand or spicing things up with a longterm bae, bringing new sensations into the bedroom will make for a night neither of you will forget. Read on for SlutBox Blog’s tips for adding unforgettable sensation to you next hookup!

By Amber Rose

1. Do More With Your Lube

Lube is super important for solo and partner play. Any time there’s friction, add in some lube to protect your skin, increase sensation and sensitivity and multiply those O’s. Now, why settle for any ol’ lube when you can slather on some extra sensation?

Warming or buzzing lubes are a super simple way to try something new in the bedroom, without fussing with a new toy or trying to set up a crazy sex swing apparatus! A warming lube we love is the Ignite Lubricant from Kush Queens (as found in our June Sluts 4 Love SlutBox).

This cannabis lube is 100% natural coconut oil based, and totally compatible with latex barriers so you can stay safe and sexy. Another fave is the ON Arousal Gel for Her from Sensuva (featured in our very first SlutBox!). ON Arousal Gel is a water-based blend of essential oils that jumpstart natural arousal and increase natural lubrication in folx with vaginas. No further explanation needed!

2. Amp Up The Foreplay

Take your time, baby! Build the excitement with sensation-building massage gels. Our recommendations? Sizzle Lips Edible Warming Gel and HandiPop Edible Handjob Massage Gel from Sensuva (as seen in our first SlutBox).

Sizzle Lips is a warming massage gel that heels hot when you blow on it. Massage Sizzle Lips into a sensitive area on bae’s body, and gently blow to get them all hot and bothered. Kiss and lick it all off – the more you rub it in the warmer it’ll feel.

HandiPop is a super sweet edible massage gel for the slipperiest, longest-lasting handjob. Getting a hand cramp? Finish the job with your lips and tongue.

Speaking of lips: want to give bae a kiss they’ll never forget? Slather on some Doctor Lip Bang’s Lip Freak Buzzing Lip Balm (found in our June Sluts 4 Love SlutBox) and lay one on ’em. The buzzing, tingling sensation will bring them to their knees! 

3. Try A Sexxxy Massage

What’s more intimate than a massage? Indulge your sensuous side with the Lelo Flickering Touch Massage Candle, made from all-natural soy wax, shea butter and apricot kernel oil in luscious scents like Vanilla & Creme de Cacao, Snow Pear & Cedarwood, and Black Pepper & Pomegranate.

This gorgeously-designed candle melts into a pool of decadent massage oil. Never greasy, this massage oil is easily absorbed into the skin for a smooth, buttery touch. With a burn time of 36 hours, you have plenty of time to enjoy. Use alone, for a romantic night in, or invite a few friends. Netflix and Chill just got a major upgrade.   

4. Ease Into Impact Play

Tickles don’t seem so silly now! Ticklers are an amazing, safe introduction to impact play and BDSM, especially when combined with a sexy blindfold! The Bijoux Indescrets Tickle Me Tickler (featured in the June Sluts 4 Love SlutBox) has a super cute retro look, but don’t be fooled: use this tickler can be used to tease and thrill your entire body.

Stimulate every inch of your lover’s bod with the tickler’s delicate feathers. Trust me, after just a few moments their skin will be super sensitive and they’ll be relishing a whole new world of unique sensation.

Complete Article HERE!

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What’s A Prostate Orgasm

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—And How Do I Make It Happen For A Guy?

First of all, he’s got to be okay with butt stuff.

By

Butt stuff has been taboo probably for as long as there have been taboos. But thanks to a growing conversation on anal play (hello, pegging!) you and your partner might find yourselves ready to, erm, enter new territory and attempt a prostate orgasm.

Rewind: What is a prostate orgasm?

The prostate—a gland about the size of a walnut which sits deep in the groin between the base of a guy’s penis and his rectum—is to men what the G-spot is to women. For some men, it can potentially be a total pleasure center.

Biologically, the prostate produces semen, but “sexually and erotically, it can function to heighten pleasure,” says Jenni Skyler, Ph.D., founder of The Intimacy Institute in Colorado. “What prostate stimulation does is press upon the urethra in such a way that it can actually prevent ejaculation,” Skyler says—a.k.a. it can stretch out that just-about-to-orgasm feeling even longer.

“If your partner is comfortable with prostate contact and is able to relax and enjoy anal stimulation”—the only way to get to the prostate is by sticking your finger or a toy about an inch and a half into his butt—“it adds this sensation of fullness and pressure that maximizes the intensity of an orgasm for a man,” Skyler explains.

Aside from the prostate stimulation itself, the anal action that’s part of the process can also boost a guy’s pleasure. “It’s hard to know how much of ‘prostate pleasure’ actually involves the prostate at all and how much is related to the fact that the only way to get to a man’s prostate is through his anus,” says Stephen Snyder, M.D., a sex therapist and author of Love Worth Making. “A lot of people enjoy anal stimulation, which makes sense—like the genitals, the anal area is richly supplied with nerve endings and blood flow.”

That said, “Some men don’t enjoy it—it can be a psychological lack of enjoyment or it could be a physiological one,” says Skyler, adding she’s had patients in both categories. Or maybe he’s just not interested in exploring (and that’s okay). Either way, as with any sex act, it’s important to communicate and make sure both parties are game—that includes you, btw.

How do I help my partner have a prostate orgasm?

If you’re intrigued by exploring this new territory, Skyler has some tips for how to make a prostate orgasm happen.

1. Help your partner relax.
If you are both jazzed to poke around his prostate, it’s important to start by getting super-relaxed. “The anus has two sphincters and they can tighten up and close,” Skyler says. “The way to get entrance and invitation is to really deeply relax the whole body.”

Start with a sensual massage, the goal of which isn’t necessarily to turn your partner on, but to help him feel totally comfortable.

2. Try some anal foreplay.
Once your partner feels chilled out, ease your way in. “If you’ve never done anal play, approach the anus respectfully and slowly,” Sklyer says. “Play with the full buttocks and inner thighs first and then move to play with the outer rim of the opening of the anus

3. Get some lube.
“The anus is not self-lubricating so make sure there’s a lot of lube, no matter what,” Skyler says. She recommends picking up a lubricant that’s specifically designed for anal play since these formulas tend to be a little thicker and last a bit longer. (Here are the best lubes for anal, FYI.)

4. Choose your tools.
The best way to stimulate the prostate is either with your finger or a prostate toy (basically a slim butt plug). If you’re hesitant about using your finger (even if he just took a shower, it’s okay if the idea still makes you feel a little squeamish) a toy is an awesome alternative.

“Sex toy retailers like Adam and Eve sell a lot of beginner prostate toys,” Skyler says. “Most of them even have a rounded edge like a finger.”

5. Slowly massage the prostate.
To make a prostate orgasm happen, go super-slowly—especially if this is the first time you and your partner are trying the technique. Once you’re inside, feel for the prostate gland, which is about “one knuckle’s worth” into the rectum in the direction of his penis (as opposed to his lower back), Skyler says. “It feels like a soft pillow-y ball,” she says.

Once you’ve found it, apply soft pressure or try stroking it slowly, and keep communicating with your partner about how it feels. Take your cues from him on whether to stroke or apply even pressure, go slower or faster, press more or less intense, etc. Whatever way you do it: Prepare for a whole new type of O.

Complete Article HERE!

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How To Make Consent Sexy, According To A Dominatrix

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By Kasandra Brabaw

When Mistress Velvet, a BDSM dominatrix in Chicago, spanks a client, she demands that they tell her how much it hurts on a scale from 1 to 10. “I have to be careful and not just ask them, ‘Do you like this?’ Because I need them to feel submissive to me,” she says. That means she’s continually asking clients for their consent to hit them and tie them up, which can be tricky when the whole point is that they feel submissive to her. “When I ask for a scale, I’m gauging where they’re at so I know how to play with them next time.”

Mistress Velvet calls covert questions of this sort “consent training,” because even though people seek her out to dominate them in a sexual manner, getting consent from her clients is paramount to everything that she does. People who don’t engage in BDSM may assume that consent isn’t a huge part of bondage and masochism. How much can you really care about what a person feels if you’re intentionally causing them pain, the thinking may go. But purposely inflicting pain is a delicate task, especially when struggles, shouts, yelps, and begging someone to stop are all part of the experience. That’s why dommes and their submissives establish safe words before a BDSM scene even gets started, and why consent is so vital to the work Mistress Velvet does. It ensures that both she and her clients have a safe and satisfying experience. The argument that asking for consent “ruins the mood” is infuriating to her. There’s never a reason to risk someone’s bodily autonomy, she says, and it’s 100% possible to ask for consent while keeping the sexy mood alive — in fact consent can heighten the erotic energy in both BDSM and non-BDSM exchanges in ways you might not expect.

Just because someone let you put your hands up their shirt, doesn’t mean that they want you to put your hands down their pants.
Mistress Velvet, BDSM Dominatrix

In both Mistress Velvet’s work and personal life, she’s a huge proponent of affirmative consent, the idea that you should be asking for a verbal “yes” at every step (from kissing to caressing to penetration) of intimate and sexual encounters. “Just because someone let you put your hands up their shirt, doesn’t mean that they want you to put your hands down their pants,” she tells Refinery29. “Just because my client is okay with me spanking them in some ways doesn’t mean they’re okay with me spanking them in other ways.”

Similar to sex, consent should be fun, even if you’re not into BDSM. Asking someone, “Can I kiss you?” isn’t a mood killer, it’s an important step for intimacy to continue in a way that confirms everyone is on the same page, comfortable, and safe. You can also get creative with how you say it by lowering your voice or throwing some sexy eyes your partner’s way. As long as you remain clear and give the person you’re being intimate with the space to object or say “no,” asking for consent shouldn’t be much different from other communication during intimacy.

You can use the same kind of language throughout a sexual experience — saying things such as, “I’m going to rip your clothes off now, okay?” or “What do you want me to do to you?” — so you don’t have to stop having sex in order to obtain ongoing consent.

“If I was having sex with someone for the first time, I wouldn’t want them to assume that I like to be choked,” Mistress Velvet says. “But there’s a way to ask when they’re pounding me and they’re like, ‘Do you like to be choked? And then I can be like, ‘Yes, choke me daddy.'” The same scenario works in the reverse if you want to offer consent. So, if you like to be choked, but aren’t sure that your partner will ask, then you can say, “Can you choke me?” during sex. Asking for what you want — whether it’s choking, oral, or a simple ass grab — won’t ruin the moment, it’ll make things even more steamy.

If I was having sex with someone for the first time, I wouldn’t want them to assume that I like to be choked.
Mistress Velvet, BDSM Dominatrix

Of course, you might feel as if you’re being thrown out of your sexy headspace at first if you or your partner aren’t accustomed to asking questions before, during and after sex. But practice makes perfect, and eventually you’ll not only get used to it, but also come to appreciate the benefits of getting exactly what you want, and being able to give someone else exactly what they want.

Mistress Velvet says that she struggled to make consent sexy at first, too. “Definitely at times [in my vanilla sex life], people would say, ‘Why are you asking me so many questions?’ and it would sometimes pause things,” she says. In those moments, she would explain that she has a history of sexual trauma, and so it’s important to her that her needs are being heard.

Maybe there’s no trauma in your past, but it’s still important to ask for and give consent regardless of your sexual history. When you’re first starting to have these conversations, you’re likely not going to be good at it. And there’s a chance that starting the consent convo will take you out of the mood, or that someone might no longer want to have sex with you because they feel that you’re making it too complicated. Those are moments to ask yourself: Is it more important to have sex or more important to learn how to stand up for my needs?

“If someone doesn’t make the space to have that kind of conversation with you, I would question if they’re a person that you feel safe with,” Mistress Velvet says. “A conscious and aware person would be like, ‘Yeah, this feels really awkward and I don’t have experience with this. Let’s just try it out.'”

Complete Article HERE!

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New Studies Show That Marijuana Enhances And Increases Sex

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by Sara Brittany Somerset

Recent scientific studies substantiate what many marijuana users have claimed all along — that it enhances sexual relations. Currently, almost all research into the effects of the cannabis plant is prohibited by the U.S. government due to its classification as a Schedule I substance. However, 31 states and the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana, while nine states have also legalized adult use of recreational marijuana. Legalization benefits academia, as it finally allows researchers to study and analyze marijuana’s effects, including its impact on sexual intercourse.

According to a research study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine (JSM), entitled the Association Between Marijuana Use and Sexual Frequency in the United States: A Population-Based Study, the goal of the study was, “To elucidate whether a relation between marijuana use and sexual frequency exists using a nationally representative sample of reproductive-age men and women.”

The analysis represented 28,176 women and 22,943 men nationwide who were surveyed by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) via a questionnaire. The CDC’s broad, all-encompassing survey is often utilized by researchers as a basis for further, more specific analysis.

Researchers Dr. Michael L. Eisenberg and Dr. Andrew J. Sun are both affiliated with the Department of Urology, at Stanford University, in California. The duo accessed the CDC’s study to research marijuana’s effects on male sexual and reproductive function, which is Dr. Eisenberg’s area of expertise. As such, he sees men with various forms of sexual dysfunction. As for medical or lifestyle factors that may influence function, he is often asked about what role, if any that marijuana may play.

The clinical implications of their study revealed that “Marijuana use is independently associated with increased sexual frequency and does not appear to impair sexual function.” In fact, daily users across all demographic groups reported having 20% more sex than those who have never used cannabis.

Dr. Eisenberg thinks doing more research in this area is important. Previously, most doctors had generally counseled men that marijuana, like tobacco, is harmful. However, his current study suggests that may not be the case.

An additional JSM-published study entitled, The Relationship Between Marijuana Use Prior to Sex and Sexual Function in Women, conducted at Saint Louis University in Missouri claims, “The internet is rife with claims regarding the ability of marijuana to improve the sexual experience; however, scientific data is lacking.” The objective of this study “is to determine if marijuana use before sex affects the sexual experience, by how much, and which domains of sexual function are affected.”

In this survey, researchers polled 133 sexually-active adult women at one particular, academic ObGyn practice, during their annual check-ups. The female patients filled out a lengthy questionnaire regarding marijuana use before sex (hashtag #MUBS).

Thirty-eight women (29%) disclosed consuming cannabis prior to copulation. Of those 38 women, 68 percent reported more pleasurable sex, 16% said it ruined their sexual experience, while the remaining 16% were undecided or unaware.  

Among the enhanced sexuality camp, 72% said it always increased their erotic pleasure, while 24% said it sometimes did. Almost 62% said it enhanced the quality of their orgasms and their libidos in general. Additionally, 16% of MUBS adherents disclosed they purposefully puff pot prior to sex, specifically to relieve any potential pain associated with the act. There were conflicting reports as to whether or not it enhanced vaginal lubrication.

The same research team later widened the scope of their survey to 289 adult MUBS women, with similar results: 65% decided it enhanced their sexual experience, 23% said it did not matter one way or the other, 9% had no significant feedback and 3% said it sabotaged their sexual experience.

Dr. Monica Grover of Asira Medical is double Board certified in Family Medicine and Gynecology, with practices in both Midtown, Manhattan and Westchester, New York. Although she did not participate in either clinical study, she is currently conducting independent research.

“Although some studies have shown results that are equivocal, anecdotally patients have reported positive feedback,” says Dr. Grover.

“Consumption of small quantities [of marijuana] prior to sex may increase libido in female patients, which in turn can release positive endorphins and increase vaginal lubrication.”

Dr. Grover believes this may be due to the short-term anxiolytic of cannabis.  In women. Reduced sexual libido in women usually correlates with any anxiety or stress they are experiencing. So, in the short-term, cannabis has anxiety-reducing effects. However, in the long-term, it can increase anxiety, which may explain the lack of libido in possible habitual users. Dr. Grover is currently working on a study to determine this theory.  

Notable clinical implications among male users reported in the Stanford study were that Cannabis does not impair sexual function nearly as much as alcohol does. Nor are there any contraindications of mixing marijuana with other drugs for sexual performance enhancement such as Viagra or Cialis.  

Additionally, and perhaps most importantly, unlike alcohol, so far there is no direct correlation between marijuana consumption and a significantly increased risk of fatalities.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 88,0008 people (approximately 62,000 men and 26,000 women) die from alcohol-related causes annually, making alcohol the third leading preventable cause of death in the United States.  The Journal of the American Medical Association corroborates these findings. The first preventable cause of death in the United States is tobacco use and the second is poor diet combined with physical inactivity. These findings may help build the case for consuming cannabis to become more sexually active to benefit one’s overall health.

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Can yoga improve your sex life?

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The Internet abounds with wellness blogs that recommend yoga for a better sex life, as well as personal accounts of the practice improving sexual experience — often to an enviable degree. Does the research back up these claims, however? We investigate.

Modern research is only just starting to unpack the numerous health benefits of the ancient practice of yoga.

Some conditions that yoga reportedly helps with include depression, stress, and anxiety, as well as metabolic syndrome, diabetes, and thyroid problems.

Recent studies have also delved into the more complex mechanisms behind such benefits.

It turns out that yoga lowers the body’s inflammatory response, counters the genetic expression that predisposes people to stress, lowers cortisol, and boosts a protein that helps the brain grow and stay young and healthy.

On top of all its benefits, we must add, it just feels good. Sometimes — if we’re to believe the hype around the mythical coregasm during yoga — it feels really, really good.

Getting in touch with our bodies can feel replenishing, restorative, and physically pleasurable. However, can yoga’s yummy poses improve our sex lives? We take a look at the research.

Yoga improves sexual function in women

One often-referenced study that was published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine found that yoga can indeed improve sexual function — particularly in women over the age of 45.

The study examined the effects of 12 weeks of yoga on 40 women who self-reported on their sexual function before and after the yoga sessions.

After the 12-week period, the women’s sexual function had significantly improved across all sections of the Female Sexual Function Index: “desire, arousal, lubrication, orgasm, satisfaction, and pain.”

As many as 75 percent of the women reported an improvement in their sex life after yoga training.

As part of the study, all of the women were trained on 22 poses, or yogasanas, which are believed to improve core abdominal muscles, improve digestion, strengthen the pelvic floor, and improve mood.

Some poses included trikonasana (also known as the triangle pose), bhujangasana (the snake), and ardha matsyendra mudra (half spinal twist). The full list of asanas can be accessed here.

Yoga improves sexual function in men

Yoga doesn’t benefit just women. An analogous study led Dr. Vikas Dhikav, who’s a neurologist at the Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital in New Delhi, India, examined the effects of a 12-week yoga program on the sexual satisfaction of men.

At the end of the study period, the participants reported a significant improvement in their sexual function, as evaluated by the standard Male Sexual Quotient.

The researchers found improvements across all aspects of male sexual satisfaction: “desire, intercourse satisfaction, performance, confidence, partner synchronization, erection, ejaculatory control, [and] orgasm.”

Also, a comparative trial carried out by the same team of researchers found that yoga is a viable and nonpharmacological alternative to fluoxetine (brand name Prozac) for treating premature ejaculation.

It included 15 yoga poses, ranging from easier ones (such as Kapalbhati, which involves sitting with your back straight in a crossed-legged position, with the chest open, eyes closed, hands on knees, and abdominal muscles contracted) to more complex ones (such as dhanurasana, or the “bow pose”).

Yogic mechanisms for better sex

How does yoga improve one’s sex life, exactly? A review of existing literature led by researchers at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, from the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Vancouver, Canada, helps us elucidate some of its sex-enhancing mechanisms.

Dr. Lori Brotto, a professor in the Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology at UBC, is the first author of the review.

Dr. Brotto and colleagues explain that yoga regulates attention and breathing, lowers anxiety and stress, and regulates parasympathetic nervous activity — that is, it activates the part of the nervous system that tells your body to stop, relax, rest, digest, lower the heart rate, and triggers any other metabolic processes that induce relaxation.

“All of these effects are associated with improvements in sexual response,” write the reviewers, so it is “reasonable that yoga might also be associated with improvements in sexual health.”

There are also psychological mechanisms at play. “Female practitioners of yoga have been found to be less likely to objectify their bodies,” explain Dr. Brotto and her colleagues, “and to be more aware of their physical selves.”

“This tendency, in turn, may be associated with increased sexual responsibility and assertiveness, and perhaps sexual desires.”

The power of the moola bandha

It is safe to say that stories about releasing blocked energy in root chakras and moving “kundalini energy” up and down the spine to the point that it produces ejaculation-free male orgasms lack rigorous scientific evidence.

However, other yogic concepts could make more sense to the skeptics among us. Moola bandha is one such concept.

“Moola bandha is a perineal contraction that stimulates the sensory-motor and the autonomic nervous system in the pelvic region, and therefore enforces parasympathetic activity in the body,” write Dr. Brotto and her colleagues in their review.

“Specifically, moola bandha is thought to directly innervate the gonads and perineal body/cervix.” The video below incorporates the movement into a practice for pelvic floor muscles.


 
Some studies quoted by the researchers have suggested that practicing moola bandha relieves period pain, childbirth pain, and sexual difficulties in women, as well as treating premature ejaculation and controlling testosterone secretion in men.

Moola bandha is similar to the modern, medically recommended Kegel exercises, which are thought to prevent urinary incontinence and help women (and men) enjoy sex for longer.

In fact, many sex therapy centers recommend this yoga practice to help women become more aware of their sensations of arousal in the genital area, thus improving desire and sexual experience.

“[M]oola bandha stretches the muscles of the pelvic floor, […] balances, stimulates, and rejuvenates the area through techniques that increase awareness and circulation,” explain Dr. Brotto and colleagues, referring to the work of other researchers.

Another yoga pose that strengthens the pelvic floor muscles is bhekasana, or the “frog pose.”

As well as improving the sexual experience, this pose may help ease symptoms of vestibulodynia, or pain in the vestibule of the vagina, as well as vaginismus, which is the involuntary contraction of vaginal muscles that prevents women from enjoying penetrative sex.

How reliable is the evidence?

While it is easy to get, ahem, excited by the potential sexual benefits of yoga, it is worth bearing in mind the large discrepancy between the amount of so-called empirical, or experimental, evidence, and that of non-empirical, or anecdotal, evidence.

The Internet hosts a plethora of the latter, but the studies that have actually trialed the benefits of yoga for sexual function remain scarce.

Additionally, most of the studies mentioned above — which found improvements in sexual satisfaction and function for both men and women — have quite a small sample size and didn’t benefit from a control group.

However, more recent studies — which focused on women who have sexual dysfunction in addition to other conditions — have yielded stronger evidence.

For example, a randomized controlled trial examined the effects of yoga in women with metabolic syndrome, a population with a higher risk of sexual dysfunction overall.

For these women, a 12-week yoga program led to “significant improvement” in arousal and lubrication, whereas such improvements were not seen in the women who did not practice yoga.

Improvements were also found in blood pressure, prompting the researchers to conclude that “yoga may be an effective treatment for sexual dysfunction in women with metabolic syndrome as well as for metabolic risk factors.”

Another randomized trial looked at the sexual benefits of yoga for women living with multiple sclerosis (MS). The participants undertook 3 months of yoga training, consisting of eight weekly sessions.

Importantly, women in the yoga group “showed improvement in physical ability” and sexual function, “while women in [the] control group manifested exacerbated symptoms.”

“Yoga techniques may improve physical activities and sexual satisfaction function of women with MS,” the study paper concluded.

So, while we need more scientific evidence to support yoga’s benefits for our sex lives, the seeds are definitely there. Until future research can ascertain whether “yogasms” are a real, achievable thing, we think that there’s enough reason to incorporate yoga in our daily routines.

Trying it out for ourselves could prove tremendously enriching — and our pelvic muscles will definitely thank us for it.

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