In a sex slump?

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There’s an app for that…

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As a nation, we’re getting less action in the bedroom than ever – and technology could be to blame. But it may also be the answer, says Rosie Mullender, who road tests the latest sex gadgets

There are three people in my relationship: me, my boyfriend Don, and Betty. She’s the female avatar he plays with on his PS4, and I often head to bed alone, while he stays up for hours killing aliens with gamers in a different time zone. Meanwhile, I’m happily having a passionate fling with Facebook, and both of us are seeing Netflix on the side.

We’re not the only ones whose sex lives have been interrupted by technology. Nearly all of us use some form before bed. Our always-on work culture is sending stress levels soaring, while online porn has been found to cause real-world relationship problems. Data analysed from the National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles recently revealed that sex across the board in the UK is declining, with fewer than half of British men and women having sex at least once a week. This decline is most pronounced among the over-25s, and couples who are cohabiting or married (yep, that’s us). I sometimes get nostalgic about the days when we barely made it to the bedroom because the hallway was closer – rather than because we were watching ‘just one more episode’ on iPlayer.

But if technology is helping send the nation into a libido slump, could it also pull us out of it? Sex tech is a growing industry that is set to be worth £22m in revenue by 2020, and a new generation of toys and apps promises to help us get it on more often. So, which apps are most effective in encouraging us to reconnect with our partners instead of our screens? I asked four sex and relationship experts for their recommendations.

I thought Don would be excited by the prospect of trying them out, but when I asked him if he was up for it, he simply shrugged without looking up from his iPad. Oh dear, technology definitely owes us, big time, so let’s get started…

The sex-play app

‘Some apps, such as Kindu, offer a way to discover more about what you’d like to try as a couple,’ says Dr Pam Spurr, relationship counsellor and presenter of the Wham, Bam It’s Dr Pam! podcast. ‘An app can decrease anxiety when breaking free from your sexual routine and, for some couples, lead to more honesty and confidence to experiment.’

We download Kindu (free on Android and iOS), which lists a variety of sex moves we can tag as a yes, no or maybe. Afterwards, it reveals those we’re both interested in – and among the more vanilla ideas that match, such as getting a massage together, there are a few surprises. We’re both keen to indulge in a spot of bondage – something we haven’t tried since the early days of our relationship. It’s also a relief to find that Don is equally turned off by the thought of ‘hiring a professional dominatrix’.

‘I was a bit worried you’d want to try things I’m totally not into,’ he says, echoing my thoughts exactly, ‘so it’s good to see we’re on the same page.’ My main worry was that we’d use the app to hide behind our phones, instead of talking. But the real point of Kindu seems to be to spark conversation, which, as with so many things, is the key to great sex.

Sex factor: 7/10

The pulsing air stimulator

Womanizer was the first company to patent Pleasure Air Technology, and because its stimulators use air, rather than direct vibration on your clitoris, they’re gentler,’ says sex educator Alix Fox. ‘They also switch off when not in contact with your skin, making them great for couples who have children and might be interrupted.’

I order a Womanizer Premium (£169) and banish Don from the bedroom – realising that flipping through an instruction manual isn’t a huge turn-on, I decide to get to grips with it alone. The stimulation provided by the unit’s gentle suction and vibrations is like no other; it feels like an incredibly intense butterfly kiss. Don soon joins me and we play together. As the Womanizer is so gentle, I’m not shy to use it with him, and it leads us to be more tender than usual. Don’s verdict? ‘You seemed more confident and totally turned on, which got me excited, too,’ he says. It feels like a very grown up piece of kit, and one we’re definitely going to try again – once I find the charger, which I’ve lost somewhere under the bed.

Sex factor: 8/10

The mindful sex app

Ferly is an app that helps partners find new ways of being together, which aren’t necessarily sexual,’ says psychosexual and relationship therapist Kate Moyle. ‘Modern couples often struggle to make space to prioritise each other, and Ferly encourages them to do so.’ Costing £40 for a premium annual subscription on iOS (an Android version is coming soon), the app offers podcasts on topics such as the relationship between boundaries and pleasure, a series of ‘Sexy Stories,’ and practical audio sessions designed to help you connect with your partner.

We try Touch-4-Touch, which involves facing each other, focusing on our breathing, then touching ‘for touching’s sake’ – holding hands, tracing each other’s faces and gently scratching each other’s necks. The soothing voice on the app acknowledges this might feel a bit strange, and it does, at first. But it also encourages us to really ‘see’ each other in a way long-term couples don’t often make time for.

Although we keep our clothes on, those ten minutes feel surprisingly intimate and really relaxing. We don’t have sex afterwards, but fall asleep hugging. ‘I think you’re beautiful, and focusing on your face reminded me of those little details I’ve stopped noticing,’ says Don. Which is definitely what I wanted to hear.

Sex factor: 9/10

The hands-free vibrator

‘A relatively recent addition to the sex-tech field is a range of toys you can control remotely via an app,’ says family therapist Stefan Walters. ‘As well as being a great tool for long-distance couples, they can feel like a safe introduction if you’re new to the idea of using toys together. Although I’m not a sex-toy virgin, it occurs to me that I’ve never used a vibe with Don (the idea makes me feel a bit vulnerable), so a remote-controlled device sounds ideal.

I order the We-Vibe Moxie (£119.99, Lovehoney), a ‘cheeky remote-control clitoral vibrator’, and we both download the We-Vibe app. Connecting the vibe to my phone via Bluetooth, I attach it to my knickers, leave Don in the lounge and head to the bedroom. Inviting him to join in and control the device, we warm up with a bit of chat via the app. ‘New vibe, who dis?’ he asks, which makes me laugh and relax. Then, he switches the Moxie on, scrolling through different vibration modes and intensities. I send instructions – ‘stronger, lighter, next!’ – but he has ultimate control. Eventually, my chat dries up as things get more intense, so I’m disappointed when the vibrations stop. I wonder if our connection has dropped, but then Don comes into the bedroom to take over.

Sex factor: 7/10

Although big fans of using hands and lips in the bedroom, and frank conversation out of it, trying out new-gen sex tech was an eye-opener for Don and I. It helped us open up about what we want, as well as providing some new sensations. Don’s keen to try the Moxie again next time I’m away for work, and I’m keeping the Womanizer in my bedside-table drawer. The Kindu is a fun conversation starter, while Ferly is a reassuring space in which to explore mindful sex, and one we’ll definitely be returning to. The internet might be keeping us out of the bedroom, but sex tech could also offer the tools to encourage us back in.

Complete Article HERE!

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The Psychology of Sexual Kink

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The word kink has myriad associations — leather, spanking, corsets, whips, maybe even a ginger root. While its depictions in popular culture are abundant and eager, they are hardly ever accurate. Fifty Shades of Grey, for example, is the most recent, and perhaps the most famous, example of kink, specifically Bondage/Discipline, Dominance/Submission, and Sadism/Masochism (BDSM), in mainstream pop culture — except it gets kink wrong. BDSM practitioners have called the movie more vanilla than BDSM, or dangerous, because of its superficial understanding of violent sex, glorifyingly portrayed without context.

The kink sexual preference is a greatly stigmatized one, and the psychology behind it misunderstood. Kink is believed to stem out of trauma, which is false; it’s perceived to bastardize the tender idea of making love, again false; and it’s considered ‘freaky’ and ‘not normal,’ guess: false. Understanding how kink develops and what kinky people get out of it are initial steps toward normalizing an integral aspect of human sexuality.

Kink is defined as “consensual, non-traditional sexual, sensual, and intimate behaviors such as sadomasochism, domination and submission, erotic roleplaying, fetishism, and erotic forms of discipline,” psychological researcher Samuel Hughes, who has determined the five stages of kink identity development, writes in Psychology Today.

Kink can develop innately in childhood, or be adopted later in life

Individuals may gravitate toward kink in two ways; the journey is either innate and realized as a child grows up, or an acquired taste later in life for others wanting to explore their sexuality. Children, even before age 10, can develop initial engagement in kinky behaviors, such as “wanting to be captured while playing cops and robbers, or seeing television shows with superheroes in peril and feeling absorbed by the show,” Hughes writes. For some, these initial excitements could graduate to exploring those desires with their bodies, through “fantasizing, seeking out erotic media, masturbating, and exploring material sensations on their bodies.”

Between ages 11 and 14, kids come to terms with their interests. “It can involve feeling stigma over their kink interests, feeling generally different, realizing that not all of their peers share their interests, worrying there might be something wrong with them, and sometimes actively engaging in research in order to try to label and understand their interests.” Once they realize there might be people like them out there, they can attempt to find others who share their interests, through the internet and popular culture. The last stage of kink development includes engaging in kink interests with others, which usually happens after a kinkster surpasses 18.

The word kink has myriad associations — leather, spanking, corsets, whips, maybe even a ginger root. While its depictions in popular culture are abundant and eager, they are hardly ever accurate. Fifty Shades of Grey, for example, is the most recent, and perhaps the most famous, example of kink, specifically Bondage/Discipline, Dominance/Submission, and Sadism/Masochism (BDSM), in mainstream pop culture — except it gets kink wrong. BDSM practitioners have called the movie more vanilla than BDSM, or dangerous, because of its superficial understanding of violent sex, glorifyingly portrayed without context.

The kink sexual preference is a greatly stigmatized one, and the psychology behind it misunderstood. Kink is believed to stem out of trauma, which is false; it’s perceived to bastardize the tender idea of making love, again false; and it’s considered ‘freaky’ and ‘not normal,’ guess: false. Understanding how kink develops and what kinky people get out of it are initial steps toward normalizing an integral aspect of human sexuality.

Kink is defined as “consensual, non-traditional sexual, sensual, and intimate behaviors such as sadomasochism, domination and submission, erotic roleplaying, fetishism, and erotic forms of discipline,” psychological researcher Samuel Hughes, who has determined the five stages of kink identity development, writes in Psychology Today.

Kink can develop innately in childhood, or be adopted later in life

Individuals may gravitate toward kink in two ways; the journey is either innate and realized as a child grows up, or an acquired taste later in life for others wanting to explore their sexuality. Children, even before age 10, can develop initial engagement in kinky behaviors, such as “wanting to be captured while playing cops and robbers, or seeing television shows with superheroes in peril and feeling absorbed by the show,” Hughes writes. For some, these initial excitements could graduate to exploring those desires with their bodies, through “fantasizing, seeking out erotic media, masturbating, and exploring material sensations on their bodies.”

Between ages 11 and 14, kids come to terms with their interests. “It can involve feeling stigma over their kink interests, feeling generally different, realizing that not all of their peers share their interests, worrying there might be something wrong with them, and sometimes actively engaging in research in order to try to label and understand their interests.” Once they realize there might be people like them out there, they can attempt to find others who share their interests, through the internet and popular culture. The last stage of kink development includes engaging in kink interests with others, which usually happens after a kinkster surpasses 18.

If this identity development doesn’t occur early on, then it leads to internalized shame, causing anxiety, depression and suicidal ideation, Hughes says. He adds that young kinky people often feel like they are freaks, sick or evil for entertaining their desires. This is mostly due to the stigma and silence around kinky behaviors, which leads to rampant pop psychology pathologization of kink in media and the law. “Studying the identity development of kinky people can help us to better understand how kinky people develop resilience in the face of a world that often thinks of them as, at best, a joke, and at worst, violent criminals or mentally deranged,” Hughes writes in Psychology Today.

Social stigmatization of kink can be a detriment to kinksters’ mental health

Let’s take the example of age play, one of the most stigmatized kink expressions, as it can involve adults dressing up/behaving as babies or toddlers in a sexual situation. It is classified into “ephebophilia, or attraction to older post-pubescent adolescents; hebephilia, or attraction to pubescents; pedophilia, or attraction to prepubescents; infantophilia, which is often considered a sub-type of pedophilia, used to refer to a sexual preference for infants and toddlers (ages 0–3, though some raise it to 5),” sex therapist David Ortmann writes for Alt Sex NYC Conference, an annual event that brings together scholars from the kink community to expand popular discourse around kinky identities.

A majority of the stigma against age-play arises from the conflation of pedophilia with child sexual abuse. The former is a sexual preference, while the latter is an illegal practice that harms minors who cannot consent. In age-play, the consenting, adult sexual partners act an age different from their own, for various reasons: those who act younger may want to be cared for, or disciplined or simply play an age that they feel most familiar with. For those who gravitate toward older ages, their instincts might arise from wanting to act as caregivers or protectors of their partner, fulfilling their partners’ desire to be disciplined, and myriad other reasons, according to ABCs of Kink.

Ortmann adds that he has treated such kinksters for 14 years, and the main reasons they seek therapy is “to be seen, to be heard, to recover from shame, discover how to have sexual pleasure without harming themselves or others.” It is important to understand that “age-play is a form of roleplaying in which an individual acts or treats another as if they were a different age, sexual or non-sexually,” Ortmann writes. The important thing to remember, he adds, is that it “involves consent from all parties.” There needs to be more research into the kink origins of age-play, which has historically been difficult to accomplish owing to the silence of the community that doesn’t trust outsiders easily. “Let’s work together to find language for the very in-the-shadows sexual minorities that allow for empathy, instead of evoking fear and disgust.”

Normalizing the kink for the person, and helping them find a like-minded or accepting partner, is most important, writes Rhoda Lipscomb, a certified sex therapist, in a presentation for Alt Sex NYC Conference. With those steps come self-acceptance, less anger, better sleeping habits and better relationship patterns for those involved.

The supportive environment of kink can be a haven for those with non-normative desires and bodies

For dominant-submissive relationships in BDSM, the underlying psychological motivations are more clearly researched. For tops (in kink speak: tops are those who adopt a dominant role for a particular sexual encounter, as compared to doms who gravitate toward dominance more frequently), “I can determine what happens next; I can be independent; I can feel cherished,” make up some of the erotic motivations, according to an Alt Sex NYC Conference presentation by sex therapist Dr. Petra Zebroff. For bottoms (in kink speak: bottoms are those who adopt a submissive role for a particular sexual encounter, as compared to subs who prefer submissive sexual identities more frequently), they include, “I can hold extreme focus; I can feel safe; I can feel cherished; I don’t have to make decisions; I don’t have to worry about my partner’s reactions.” For both tops and bottoms, “openness, exploration, trustworthiness, communication, humor (playfulness, laughter, and fun), sensual experiences” are prioritized for themselves, and their partners. In tops, their bottom partners require “trustworthiness, warmth and caring; ability to read a partner; confidence and strength of character; knowledge and skill.” In bottoms, the tops need “self-knowledge, rebellious qualities (such as bratty), expressiveness, surrendering of power (servicing).”

In addition to understanding the motivations of the sexual players, it is also important to destroy the myth that BDSM encourages unwelcome violence against partners. In sexual play that involves intense sensation (sometimes, pain), for example, the players seek to achieve pleasure and challenge their boundaries, Michael Aaron, Alt Sex NYC co-organizer and sex therapist and sexologist, writes in a presentation.

People choose to harm themselves for a variety of reasons, Aaron writes: to alleviate negative emotions, to direct anger at themselves, to elicit affection from others, to interrupt feelings of being empty, to resist suicidal urges, to generate excitement, or to feel distinct from others. The bodily harm from when an individual inflicts injuries on themselves outside of a sexual context — what is called non-suicidal self-injurious behavior (NSSI) — is different from BDSM, mainly in the ways an individual feels after the hurting has happened, Aaron writes. NSSI can arise out of wanting relief from overwhelming feelings and wanting to distract emotional pain with physical. After inflicting pain for these unhealthy reasons, however, the individual feels broken or damaged, and more alienated from others.

In BDSM, Aaron clarifies, the motivation to indulge in NSSI in a sexual context emerges from “desire, hunger, eagerness, [anxiety] to start.” While indulging in the kinky behavior, feelings of excitement, pleasure, connection abound. After, players feel “satisfied, content, calm, secure, fulfilled,” and “empowered, loved, authentic.” Aaron found that most individuals who engaged in NSSI eventually stopped harming themselves after they sought the feeling through BDSM, according to a survey he conducted.

For others, engaging in kinky behavior may help in dealing with past trauma. While the trauma itself doesn’t serve as a catalyst for developing a kink (which is a popular misconception), it can be alleviated through play. “For example, a sexual assault survivor might initially feel afraid, weak, and powerless during their actual sexual assault,” Hughes writes in Psychology Today. “However, simulating that assault via consensual roleplaying with a trusted partner can help them feel powerful (because they consensually negotiated and agreed to it, and can use a safeword to stop the scene), strong (because they feel they can get through whatever physical pain or intensity comes their way), and brave, for facing what can often be dark times in their past head-on.” A major part of it is “aftercare,” the word for the time and space kinksters use for emotional and mental health, often with their partners, after having engaged in BDSM. It involves “cuddling, talking, rehydrating, and ‘recentering’ oneself, which can help those who are using kink to overcome hardships process their experience in a healthy and safe environment,” Hughes adds.

However, the process of navigating a past trauma proves difficult even within the kink communities, according to licensed sex therapist Samantha Manewitz. In an Alt Sex NYC Conference presentation, she lays out how kinksters with trauma can internalize shame, be unwilling to give up power to their sexual partners or be able to explain their own responses in BDSM play. Some scenes can also trigger trauma or feelings of isolation. It is important to empower the survivor in such situations — build their coping skills through negotiation before an act, exposing them to the act during play, and integrating their thoughts with their feelings after BDSM through aftercare, Manewitz writes.

Kink can also help build an inclusive environment for queer folks. Hughes compares the identity development for kink to the way in which kids can realize their queer identities. The emotional stages are similar, including dealing with stigma and making positive associations with those realizations. BDSM as a sexual orientation is a popular hypothesis, explained as attraction toward specific activities or toward a role (dominant, submissive, switch) — be it the individual’s or their partners’, according to Daniel Copulsky, founder of sexedplus.com and researcher of social psychology. “Everyone has a sexual orientation in regard to gender because that’s how we’ve defined sexual orientation,” Copulsky writes in a presentation for the Alt Sex NYC Conference. “Everyone has a sexual orientation in regard to power, too, if we define it as a submissive, dominant, switch, or vanilla.”

Kink can also help marginalized communities feel more comfortable in their own skin. For trans people, their relationships with their bodies are colored by dysphoria, awkwardness, and trauma. For a group whose bodies and existence are unabashedly questioned, fetishized, or who are made to feel unwelcome in societal institutions, consent in a sexual scenario holds utmost importance.

“Consent is the explicit indication, by written or oral statement, by one person that he/she [or they] is willing to have something done to him/her [or them] by one or more other persons, or to perform some sort of act at the request or order of one or more other persons. In terms of sexual consent, consent may be withdrawn at any point, regardless of what has been previously negotiated orally or in writing,” licensed psychotherapist Laura Jacobs writes for Alt Sex NYC about a core kink principle.

Trans or gender non-conforming folks can greatly benefit from this structure, as they may not have been accorded the opportunity or the language to communicate their sexual needs. Through using safe words, they can feel protected and respected; and through tight-knit local BDSM communities, they can encounter people who will respect them and their boundaries. “Ultimately, for a large number of people in the trans and gender-nonconforming community, heteronormative or not, reveling in these nontraditional forms of sexuality and relationships is part of our ongoing examination of the human experience,” Jacobs writes.

It is a shame, then, that some forms of kink, and within it BDSM, are regarded as detached, cruel and violent. In reality, kink can be a vehicle for people to embrace their vulnerability, maintain intimate bonds with various people, and learn to communicate and negotiate varied sexual preferences in a non-judgmental way. Kink is not “weird,” or something to sensationalize. When we achieve a greater understanding of non-normative sexual practices, we normalize identities that are otherwise marginalized, and who knows — might even learn a thing or two instead, both in and out of sex.

Complete Article ↪HERE↩!

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A glossary for BDSM beginners

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A Guide to all the BDSM Terms You Were Too Shy to Look Up

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If you’re having enough sex, it’s only a matter of time until it grows stale. Eventually, you’ll begin to crave something more than a quick release. You’ll want sex to last—and for physical pleasure to come coupled with psychological stimulation.

That’s where bondage can come into play (no pun intended). But before you can bust out the restraints and sounding needles, you need to know what’s out there. Only then, can you properly ask for whatever it is your secret, greasy, heart desires.

That’s why we spoke to Jess Wilde, a bondage specialist at the online sex retailer Lovehoney. She’s going to help us untangle the unnecessarily confusing lexicon of the bondage world.

BDSM

An abbreviation for Bondage, Discipline, Sadism, and Masochism, BDSM is an umbrella term for numerous sexual practices. It’s not only inclusive of the four principles in the title, it includes elements of roleplaying, dominance, submission, and other related interpersonal dynamics.

Bondage

Breaking down B in BDSM a little bit further, “Bondage is the sexual practice of restraining someone during sex and falls under the umbrella term Power Play,” says Wilde. “Power Play is where one partner takes on a dominant role and one takes on a submissive role. Restraint includes anything from holding the sub’s hands in a certain position to using restraint tools like handcuffs.”

Dominance and Submission (D/s)

Dominance and submission is a set of erotic behaviors involving one person being subservient (or submissive) to the person in control (the Dominant). This can happen in the bedroom through the Dominant (Dom) dictating orders to the Submissive (Sub), but it doesn’t even require both parties to be in the same room. Some Doms never meet their Subs in real life. They simply converse over the phone or email, where the Dom tells the Sub what he or she would like them to do.

“Being a good Dominant involves much more than being able to control and give orders to others,” explains Wilde. “A good Dominant will also be able to practice self-control and respect their Submissive. Dominants should also be responsible enough to decrease the intensity of or stop a scene altogether when a safeword is spoken.”

“Submitting doesn’t mean being weak,” Wilde continues. “It’s a gift to give up all control, to make yourself more vulnerable than most people could ever imagine, and to offer yourself, body and soul, for someone else’s pleasure… And, of course, doing so is also a Submissive’s ultimate pleasure.”

Safeword

A safeword, which Wilde noted while discussing Dominance and Submission is “a word, phrase, or signal which you both agree means ‘stop.’” She continues, “Make sure you agree on a safeword–this is a good starting point for all BDSM activity. A safeword should be easy to remember, easy to say, and should be a word you’d never usually use in sex. A personal favorite is ‘Gandalf!'”

Master/Slave

“In BDSM, master/slave, m/s or sexual slavery is a relationship in which one individual serves another in an authority-exchange structured relationship,” says Wilde. “Unlike dominant and submissive structures found in BDSM in which love is often the core value, service and obedience are often the core values in master/slave structures.”

Animal Play

“Animal play is a special type of role play where one or more participants take on the role of an animal. Animal play is commonly seen in BDSM contexts,” explains Wilde. “Typically the submissive ‘animal’ partner is humiliated or dominated, but sometimes they will take on the more dominant role. Animal play is sometimes called animal role play or pet play.”

Contract

“You may be familiar with sex contracts from Fifty Shades of Grey,” says Wilde. “The contract wasn’t just a figment of author E. L. James’ imagination. In BDSM communities, these kinds of contracts help Dominants and Submissives play with each other safely, both emotionally and physically.”

“By establishing ground rules, each partner knows what’s expected of them. It also makes issues of consent—which is crucial when power exchange and pain are involved—crystal clear.”

Electro-Play

“Electro-sex is sometimes called erotic electrostimulation (e-stim) or electroplay,” says Wilde. “It gives people distinctive tingly, tickly sensations which differ greatly to the sensations achieved with common battery-powered sex toys like vibrators.”

“It taps into the electrical signals that course through the body’s human nervous system, stimulating them to create more powerful sensory reactions. A variety of high-tech sex toys are designed for electro-sex. These include electrified butt plugs, masturbatory sleeves, cock rings, eggs, G-spot probes, and nipple clamps.”

Hard and Soft Limits

“Limits are basically a boundary, a thing you don’t want to do. BDSM often divides these into ‘soft’ and ‘hard’ limits. A soft limit is often an activity that you don’t enjoy and wouldn’t normally engage in, but you may consider doing it for the right person,” says Wilde.

“Hard limits are absolutes. These are the things that you will not do, under any circumstances. For many people, these may be activities or things which trigger bad memories, panic attacks, or other psychological stress. Hard limits can be anything at all, even things that other people consider to be tame or a lot of fun.”

Sensation Play

“Sensation play describes a wide variety of activities that use the body’s senses as a way to arouse and provide stimulation to a partner,” explains Wilde.

“Although sensation play is often related to skin sensations, it doesn’t have to be so limited. Sight, taste, and hearing can also be included in sensation play. Forms of light sensations play include playing with feathers and other soft objects, light blindfolding, and bondage with scarves or temperature play with ice or hot wax.”

“The goal of sensation play is simply to provide unusual and arousing sensations to a partner’s body. It is only limited by one’s imagination and, of course, personal limits, which should be respected at all times.”

Sub-Drop

When the fun and games are over (and the last spank has struck), there’s one last thing you have to remember to do. As Wilde explains, aftercare is an essential part of your play-time and can bring both you and your partner closer together in post-coital bliss.

“Known as ‘sub-drop’, sometimes the submissive partner can feel a wash of sadness when playtime has finished and the endorphins wear off,” says Wilde. “Bondage aftercare is the process of reassuring your partner that you care for them. Lots of hugs, loving touches and an open chat about the experience you’ve just shared are great ways to do this.”

Complete Article HERE!

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How to talk about kink with a new partner, because it doesn’t have to be awkward

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By Tracey Anne Duncan

“I like to struggle,” I whispered. What I meant was: Hold me down. Instead, she wrapped her arms around me and held me sweetly, nuzzling her face into my neck and petting my arm lightly with her fingertips. Oh, I thought. That’s not what I wanted. We had just been all sweaty and frenzied and now we were cuddling? Was she purposely withholding? Embarrassed? We had only hooked up once before, so I didn’t know her that well. “Are you into that?” I asked — determined to tell her about my kink preferences — but she was already gently snoring.

And then it hit me. She thought I said, “snuggle.”

I laughed to myself. She was a thoughtful lover and was just trying to give me what I asked for. She just wasn’t kinky, and I am kind of kinky. For the unfamiliar, that means that I like to do things in bed that some people find unusual. Kinky people call people who find our desires unusual “vanilla.” Although some people say it with shade, vanilla is my favorite flavor and I’m not here to judge anyone.

In any event, kink isn’t actually that unusual. Even though most people don’t consider themselves kinky, studies show that most people have kinky fantasies, even if they don’t actually have kinky sex. Interestingly, kink preferences often break down along party lines. Liberals tend to be drawn to BDSM (bondage, domination or discipline, sadism, and masochism), while conservatives are more likely to be into taboo-breaking activities, like age and incest play. Personally, I like to play with power dynamics. In kink circles, this is called domination and submission and they, along with bondage, are some of the most common practices of kinky folks.

But it wasn’t that long ago that I began exploring this facet of my sexuality. It’s taken time to learn how to communicate about kink well, and I still have questions — when is it OK to tell people I’m dating about my kinks? And how do I bring it up?

“There’s no one size fits all answer for these things,” says Dulcinea Pitagora, a NYC-based psychologist and sex therapist. “Anytime I hear someone say ‘that’s the rule,’ I immediately discard it. Disclosure is a privacy and a boundary issue. It’s entirely based on someone’s comfort level.”

Amanda Sanflippo, a New Orleans sex educator with an adult sex ed radio show, agrees. “It depends on the person,” she says. “I don’t have a formula.”

But if there aren’t any rules, what’s an aspiring kinkster to do with a new-ish partner when they want to try something that the other person might find strange? First of all, wait until you’re comfortable with someone and have developed a sense of trust. The experts are right in that there’s no formula for this, but you can typically tell if someone is basically trustworthy. While some people say that you should just let your freak flag fly from the very start, there are real risks around putting your private sexual desires out into the public domain, so trust is key.

“If somebody gets outed, they could lose their job, their apartment, or even their children. Discrimination happens in many different ways. There’s a possibility of disclosing that could put you in a dangerous situation,” Pitagora notes. She adds that these are worst case scenarios; if your employers or sex-negative people in your community find out about your “unusual” desires, you might just end up feeling uncomfortable, making someone else uncomfortable, or scaring off a person you want to get to know.

Sanflippo says that if you meet someone on a dating app and who is likely to be just a hookup, it’s OK to be upfront about your kinks. You can do this before you even give them your phone number or real name, so there’s no safety or outing risk. Recently, I was messaging a guy on Tinder and within the first few messages, he asked, “Are you sub?” What he meant was: Am I sexually submissive? It felt safe for him to ask and for me to answer honestly because our flirtation was still anonymous.

So if you’re chatting anonymously with someone and it feels safe to you, don’t hesitate to indulge in a little freaky banter. And if you’re already sexting on an app, it’s also OK to say, “I want to tie you up.”

But what if you meet someone IRL? Sanflippo suggests first asking your potential crush what they’re into, instead of just dropping the kink bomb on them. “If I was considering being intimate with someone, I might ask a person if they are into kinks rather than divulging my own,” she says. “I’ll ask them what kind of sex they enjoy. Then you can sense if they’re comfortable.”

This is a great rule of thumb. Wait to talk about sex with someone until it seems like you might want to have sex with them; if you’re already thinking about exchanging fluids, exchanging a few words beforehand can’t hurt.

And if you do plan to have sex soon, instead of making a demand like, “I want you to forcefeed me cake,” you can ask a question like, “What do you like to do in bed?” This is a direct and emotionally friendly way of figuring out whether your hookup might be into the same things as you. It’s also a good way to game out your sexual compatibility and strategize about what sexual activities might be mutually pleasurable in advance.

“The conversation about consent is what’s actually more important,” Pitagora says. “The nitty gritty and specifics aren’t as important.”

Basically, you can say you’re kinky and not go into detail — but you can’t not ask for consent. Since I’m already oversharing, I will tell you that more than half of my recent male partners have tried to do some pretty aggressive and dangerous to me without asking for permission. I don’t know what’s going on in cis-het 50 Shades of Patriarchy land because I mostly date women, but you cannot assume that people are into rough sex or BDSM.

“It’s important to know that it’s something that some people are into,” says Pitagora, “but some people aren’t and they could be traumatized. You don’t want to traumatize your sexual partners.”

Um, yeah. What she said.

Activities such as sexual choking, which is rising in popularity in vanilla het sex and porn, are considered “edge play” in BDSM communities. That means that it’s dangerous, and so not only do you have to ask for consent, you also have to know what you’re doing. “The person not asking for consent is also not trained to do it,” Pitagora says. This means that they shouldn’t do it, ever.

I’m (really) not trying to scare you away from BDSM, but sexual choking is also called “erotic asphyxiation” and you’ve definitely heard of it because people die from it. Tying someone up the wrong way can lead to all kinds of injury, including nerve damage. Getting and giving consent and talking about what you and your partner do in the bedroom aren’t just issues of ethics and pleasure — they can be issues of life and death.

“People should embrace saying the obvious,” Pitagora says, especially straight, cisgender men. “Cis-het men are used to being dominant by default. They might think asking for consent is too obvious, but because we can’t know, it’s just not obvious.” In other words, even if you are already pretty sure that someone is saying YES, you need to ask them to say (or scream, if you’re into that) YES out loud so that everyone’s signals line up. Consent can also be a great lead in to talking about your kinks. “Is it OK for me to kiss you?” is just a single word switch away from, “is it OK for me to spank you?”

In the past year, I’ve gotten a lot better about being explicit about what I want. In some ways, I was late to the kink party — I was basically married for half my life to vanilla folks and I never really thought to sexperiment with them. But, actually, I’m not late. Most people become more sexually adventurous as they age, and it can take a lot of trial and error before you get good at saying what you like out loud to new partners.

It’s definitely worth it, though. I’ve had more great sex in the last six months than I did in the first 20 years of my life. So if you’ve got some kinky fantasies, don’t worry, you’re not late, either, it’s just might take you a hot minute to learn how to talk about them.

A few weeks ago I hooked up with my sweet, snuggly friend again. She straddled me and playfully held my hands together over my head. When I resisted, she let go.

“No,” I said, “when I resist, I want you to push harder.”

“Ohhhhhhh,” she said, smiling. And then she held me down.

I think I like her.

Complete Article HERE!

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Want to have better sex?

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Talk about ‘it’ with your partner more, say Texas researchers

Conversation helps sexual satisfaction and desire, especially with partners in committed relationships.

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  • A new meta-analysis from the University of Texas at Austin finds that better sexual communication leads to better sex.
  • The survey of 48 studies discovered that communication plays a key role in helping with a number of sexual dysfunctions.
  • Both genders benefit in regard to orgasms and satisfaction, while desire is an important component of female sexuality.

We know communication leads to better results. An entire library of business books discuss the importance of honest and, if necessary, tough conversations to drill down and specify potential problems in the corporate environment. The same holds true for societies and politics — dialogue is better than silence. Yet, for some reason we seem to forget that lesson when we get home to slide into bed.

A new meta-analysis from three researchers at the University of Texas at Austin argues for the importance of frank conversation at bedtime (as well as leading up to it). According to their survey of the literature, better conversation leads to better sexual satisfaction, orgasms, and desire levels.

Looking over 48 studies on sexuality, sexual dysfunction, and conversations about sex, the team of Allen Mallory, Amelia Stanton, and Ariel Handy wanted to know if there is a link between sexual communication and sexual function. Are couples that talk about sex better at it?

First, the researchers opened by discussing two different aspects of avoidance. Sometimes couples with sexual problems dodge the topic out of shame, fear, or uncertainty. Likewise, couples that have difficulty discussing their sexual lives might be more likely to encounter problems down the line. They continue,

“Either way, it is likely that sexual function and sexual satisfaction are both directly impacted by sexual self-disclosure, which may protect against future sexual dysfunction and ultimately enhance future communication.”

The pathways that open up possibilities of better sex include the disclosure of one’s preferences. If your partner knows what you like (or hate), you’re more likely to please them. And if such a discussion is had early on, if either (or both) partner change their preferences over time, they’re likely to feel comfortable discussing that change, leading to further trust and pleasure.

Another pathway leads to better intimacy: Couples that are open enough to share their pleasures are more likely to be intimate with each other. Failure to communicate needs and desires leads to the opposite — that is, discomfort and distrust, fomented by a lack of dialogue.

Both pathways are especially important in long-term, committed relationships. The well-known “honeymoon phase” of every relationship creates an addictive chemical cocktail in the brains and bodies of sexual partners. Yet our biology is not designed for sustaining the intensity of this period. Communication, the authors declare, is an essential key to ensuring both partners are pleased as the dopamine and serotonin surges decrease.

The studies the team pored over, which included more than 12,000 participants in all, looked at a variety of topics related to sexual dysfunction, including desire, emotion, lubrication, arousal, erection, and pain. While communication appears to be helpful to everyone involved, Mallory notes that one sex cherishes dialogue more:

“Talking with a partner about sexual concerns seems to be associated with better sexual function. This relationship was most consistent for orgasm function and overall sexual function — and uniquely related to women’s sexual desire.”

From their literature review, it appears that both genders experience better orgasms and overall sexual function when more talking is involved. For women specifically, desire is greatly enhanced with conversation. These links appear to be strongest in married couples.

The authors note that correlation is not always causation. As with every study, they add that more research is needed. The good news is this field might be the most enjoyable for humans to experiment with.

Complete Article HERE!

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Getting Kinky In a Relationship?

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Don’t worry, it’s okay to be freaky in a relationship and most of the time the other person will love you for it. If you feel that your sexual taste goes beyond that of the average person, have no fear as most Americans feel just like you.

As a society, we tend to move on from what is regarded as normal in order to satisfy our needs. According to surveys, couples who have been going out for more than four years tend to move on to other means of sexual desires that are regarded as less common by many.

Couples who go out for more than four years are moving past the stigma and shame associated with fetishes and kinks, and are becoming more and more comfortable in sharing their pleasures and desires.

If you’re a kinky person, then your partner needs to hear out your desires and fulfills your needs. A mismatch is a relationship killer, and if you’re the kinky one, then there are a few things that you need to do in your relationship in order to get accepted from your partner.

Talk With Your Partner

This might sound weird, but a lot of relationships tend to move past their problems by simply communicating with each other. We understand that you might be afraid to tell your partner about your fetishes and desires, but trust us that communication is key in a relationship. Start off slow and start by talking about what you like most in the bedroom. Explain what that is and why that turns you on. Make sure to make the mood as comfortable as possible, as you don’t want to make things weird.

When you start to talk things out, you will find out if your partner approved of your kinks, if he/she is/are open to them, and if they’re interested in doing them. Your partner might hide it at first, but we’re positive that they will grow into it.

Give Your Partner Time to Think

Most intercourse therapists say that you should always give your partner think about your kinks and desires. You might have told your partner that you’re into restraints and harnesses, and that might sound too much for your partner. But the key is to give your partner room to think it out. Never demonstrate the kink without the approval of your partner. He/she needs to feel safe at all times during bedroom business, and forcing your kink onto your partner is an instant red flag. If your partner eventually approves of your restraint kink or you have agreed on a sex toy you would like to use, you can go to Extreme Restraints and choose the type of restraint together that you will both enjoy.

Show Your Appreciation for Trying Something New Together

If your partner doesn’t feel as kinky as you, and if your partner agrees to your kink, then always show your appreciation for trying something new with you. They might not know how to do it at first, so you should never judge them for doing it wrong. Always be encouraging,  supportive, and avoid making any negative comments towards your partner.

Complete Article HERE!

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Oral Sex Advice For Men

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International sexologist Dr. Yvonne K. Fulbright offers some tips on how to enhance the quality of your time in the bedroom.

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When oral sex is on the table, women have a better shot at achieving orgasm. And that’s not just a random hot take. According to the researchers over at the Kinsey Institute, men have a pretty good shot at attaining orgasm through vaginal sex alone. Women, on the other hand, prove to be much more orgasmic through a variety of sex acts. And yeah, that includes oral sex. Of course, incentives to engage in cunnilingus extend far beyond the promise of orgasm.

Dr. Yvonne K. Fulbright is an international sexologist who’s been recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Health as an expert and key leader in the area of sexual and reproductive health. She’s spent the better part of her career steering individuals toward a healthier approach to sex and relationships. And oral sex just so happens to be part of that equation In fact, Fulbright is so enthusiastic about the act she even authored a guide to help instruct men on their approach. Fatherly spoke to Fulbright about how oral sex operates in service to both pleasure and partnership and what men should keep in mind.

Why do you think oral sex is such an important area to explore within a relationship?

When people indulge in sexual experimentation or when a gal gives the green light to let a lover go down on her, there is a certain degree of vulnerability involved. The variety could be a reflection of other things in the relationship that are beneficial, like a strong sense of trust. Unfavorable relationship dynamics can act as barriers, first in a lover feeling up for being adventurous, and then being able to let go knowing that you’re a safe person to be vulnerable with. Consider how you engage your lover outside of the bedroom, and if there are things you could be doing better in building trust.

Why do you think there’s so much ambivalence surrounding oral sex on women?

People are largely unfamiliar with the vulva. They’re lucky to simply learn the names of each intricate part in a high school biology class. Female sexual pleasuring is still a relatively new concept in human history, and for those up for the task there’s still the fear that they don’t know what they’re doing. A number of females don’t even know how to provide a lover with instruction, given they still face the taboo of exploring their sexuality, especially on their own.

Let’s get down to brass tacks. What are some of the most common mistakes men make when performing oral sex?

Some men think that the urinary opening is the clitoris. A number of them don’t warm her up properly. They dive right in, and that can make for a lot of discomfort. Also, any signs of hesitation or being turned off by what you’re about to do can cause her to shut down. Men need to at least come across as confident with what they’re doing.

How might porn have changed the way things are performed?

For better or for worse, people learn from porn. It can show some techniques for pleasuring, but at the same time, it puts a lot of pressure on women to react a certain way, and that includes being able to produce female ejaculation as part of her reaction. One other related point is that some women who have seen the airbrushed vulvas of porn stars may feel self-conscious that their vulvas don’t look as symmetrical, hairless, or otherwise “perfect.”

Is that what motivated you to put together a “guide to going down” for men?

There was a need for a female expert’s guidance and opinion on things. A lot of men would like to learn about cunnilingus from the ladies themselves. I welcomed the opportunity to deliver facts, clear up myths, empower lovers, and equip readers with a number of hot ideas for better lovemaking.

Do you have any favorite “techniques” you’d recommend to someone who isn’t exactly confident in their oral sex skills?

A big part of this is taking your time. It’s about tending to other parts of the body and making her feel good about herself. It’s also teasing as you’re warming her up. Instead of zeroing in on her clitoris and going to town, get the entire vulva wet. Firmly brush over the clitoris on occasion, but tease it. After some build up, firmly push the tip of your tongue against it as you rhythmically massage it, gradually building up the speed and paying attention to signs of whether there’s too much stimulation or if she wants more.

How can more oral sex increase a woman’s odds of achieving orgasm, really?

For a number of women, cunnilingus is the only or most effective way she climaxes. For a number of women, receiving oral sex is necessary if lovers want her to ultimately orgasm. Though, I warn lovers to avoid making orgasm the goal of any kind of sex and to enjoy the ride. This takes pressure off of the situation and people involved, and keeps you in the moment. Hopefully, this means that lovers won’t rush, especially if they know that the woman tends to be more easily orgasmic via oral sex.

Some say that more cunnilingus in the bedroom could help end the orgasm gap. Would you agree? 

Yes and no. For some lovers, more is desirable, especially for women who know this is a primary way for reaching climax, whether as the main play or foreplay. But for ladies who cum as effectively during certain sexual positions involving vaginal penetration, more cunnilingus may not be necessary. Every couple needs to figure out what’s best for them and communicate about that.

Complete Article HERE!

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How to take charge of your sexual energy and revolutionize your sex life

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By Kara Jillian Brown

We’ve all heard the maxim that you can’t really love someone else until you love yourself. A few prominent experts contend the same logic applies to sex, sexual energy, and your identity as a sexual being.

And really, it makes sense: “The most important sexual relationship you will ever have is the one that you have with yourself,” says sexuality doula Ev’Yan Whitney. “Your sexuality isn’t meant to be activated by someone else. You are a fully autonomous, sexual human being with your own needs, your own desires. It’s essentially your job to make sure that you cultivate a relationship with your sexuality.”

 

And while masturbation is a great way to connect to your sexuality, Whitney says it’s far from your only option. You don’t need to engage in any physicality at all. Instead of framing sexual energy as something that manifests during sexual activity, she says we can frame our sexual embodiment as a character trait that’s always with us rather than a hat we only wear when things take a turn for the dirty. Think of it as doing energetic kegels—you can access it always and no one has to know. Like, always. Even while sipping coffee or taking a walk or, even watching paint dry, you’re still a sexual being.

 

“Your sexuality is a fundamental part of you that needs to be put into every aspect of who you are,” Whitney says. “I’m not talking about humping things. I’m not talking about like flirting with people. I’m talking about you having a connection and a belief and an intention that says, ‘I am a sexual being here, as I sit, at this at this coffee shop.’ There’s a freedom in that.”

Okay, great, but…um how? Unlike doing something like your daily kegel reps, which you can know you’re doing even though no one else can tell, harnessing your identity as a sexual being isn’t so checklist-friendly. Below, find a few tips tapping into your sexuality in a way that’s uniquely and authentically you.

Become in tune with your senses

Tyomi Morgan-Nyjieb, a certified Authentic Tantra practitioner and certified sexologist, explains that there’s a difference between sensuality and sexuality, and that to best experience the latter, being able to access the former is a necessary prerequisite.

“Sensuality is being connected to your senses. And being connected to your senses means being connected to life, because now, you’re really being aware of how you are taking in, or experiencing the world around you through your five senses,” says Morgan-Nyjieb. “So if we can learn how to tap into that energy through our senses first and learn how to receive pleasure through our senses first, then people will feel more comfortable, when even connecting to their sexual energy. ”

Practice sexual self-care

According to Whitney, sexual self-care can be anything you do that brings “mindfulness and intention to your sexual energy. So it can literally be any sort of self-care act that you do regularly,” she says. “It’s all about, saying affirmations, saying intentions, and being very present to those affirmations and those intentions.”

Really this can be anything, even simply hydrating: “When you’re drinking water, it’s having this intention that I am nourishing my sexual body as as water is coming into my, my belly and like cleansing my pores,” Whitney says. Or, if you’re prepping your skin for a sheet mask, try thinking of washing your face as connecting to your sexual body and your sensuality in the moment.

Learn how to channel your sexual energy and own it

Maybe embodying your sexual energy means dressing to the nines every day, or maybe it means repeating mantras that remind you of your sexual autonomy. “There’s no right or wrong way to do this, because it’s all about mindfulness,” Whitney says. “It’s all about intention, about being receptive, about finding space to connect with your sexual energy.”

Once you’ve found comfort in your sexuality, you can use it to fuel you throughout your day. “Because we all come from sexual energy, sexual energy is creative energy,” says Morgan-Nyjieb. “When people feel aroused, sometimes that’s that creative spirit saying, ‘Hey, you have all this extra energy right now. Let’s put it into the project, let’s put it into making a difference, let’s put it into building up ourselves.’”

And this can make your sexual experiences, both solo and with a partner, more fulfilling. “The more sexual autonomy I have, I’m able to ask for what I want in the bedroom, I’m able to be more connected to my body on like a daily basis,” says Whitney. “It’s a holistic and beautiful way to connect with all parts of yourself.”

Complete Article HERE!

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When and why is pain pleasurable?

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Many people think of pain and sex as deeply incompatible. After all, sex is all about pleasure, and pain has nothing to do with that, right? Well, for some individuals, pain and pleasure can sometimes overlap in a sexual context, but how come? Continue reading this Spotlight feature to find out.

The relationship between pain and sexual pleasure has lit up the imaginations of many writers and artists, with its undertones of forbidden, mischievous enjoyment.

In 1954, the erotic novel Story of O by Anne Desclos (pen name Pauline Réage) caused a stir in France with its explicit references to bondage and discipline, dominance and submission, sadism and masochism — an array of sexual practices referred to as BDSM, for short.

Recently, the series Fifty Shades of Grey by E. L. James has sold millions of copies worldwide, fuelling the erotic fantasies of its readers.

Still, practices that involve an overlap of pain and pleasure are often shrouded in mystery and mythologized, and people who admit to engaging in rough play in the bedroom often face stigma and unwanted attention.

So what happens when an individual finds pleasure in pain during foreplay or sexual intercourse? Why is pain pleasurable for them, and are there any risks when it comes to engaging in rough play?

In this Spotlight feature, we explain why physical pain can sometimes be a source of pleasure, looking at both physiological and psychological explanations.

Also, we look at possible side effects of rough play and how to cope with them and investigate when the overlap of pain and pleasure is not healthful.

Physical pain as a source of pleasure

First of all, a word of warning: Unless a person is specifically interested in experiencing painful sensations as part of their sexual gratification, sex should not be painful for the people engaging in it.

People may experience pain during intercourse for various health-related reasons, including conditions such as vaginismus, injuries or infections of the vulva or vagina, and injuries or infections of the penis or testicles.

If you experience unwanted pain or any other discomfort in your genitals during sex, it is best to speak to a healthcare professional about it.

Healthy, mutually consenting adults sometimes seek to experience painful sensations as an “enhancer” of sexual pleasure and arousal. This can be as part of BDSM practices or simply an occasional kink to spice up one’s sex life.

But how can pain ever be pleasurable? According to evolutionary theory, for humans and other mammals, pain functions largely as a warning system, denoting the danger of a physical threat. For instance, getting burned or scalded hurts, and this discourages us from stepping into a fire and getting burned to a crisp or drinking boiling water and damaging our bodies irreversibly.

Yet, physiologically speaking, pain and pleasure have more in common than one might think. Research has shown that sensations of pain and pleasure activate the same neural mechanisms in the brain.

Pleasure and pain are both tied to the interacting dopamine and opioid systems in the brain, which regulate neurotransmitters that are involved in reward- or motivation-driven behaviors, which include eating, drinking, and sex.

In terms of brain regions, both pleasure and pain seem to activate the nucleus accumbens, the pallidum, and the amygdala, which are involved in the brain’s reward system, regulating motivation-driven behaviors.

Thus, the “high” experienced by people who find painful sensations sexually arousing is similar to that experienced by athletes as they push their bodies to the limit.

Possible psychological benefits

There is also a complex psychological side to finding pleasure in sensations of pain. First of all, a person’s experience of pain can be highly dependent on the context in which the painful stimuli occur.

Experiencing pain from a knife cut in the kitchen or pain related to surgery, for instance, is bound to be unpleasant in most, if not all, cases.

However, when a person is experiencing physical pain in a context in which they are also experiencing positive emotions, their sense of pain actually decreases.

So when having sex with a trusted partner, the positive emotions associated with the act could blunt sensations of pain resulting from rough play.

At the same time, voluntarily experienced pain during sex or erotic play can, surprisingly, have positive psychological effects, and the main one is interpersonal bonding.

Two studies — with results collectively published in Archives of Sexual Behavior in 2009 — found that participants who engaged in consensual sadomasochistic acts as part of erotic play experienced a heightened sense of bonding with their partners and an increase in emotional trust. In their study paper, the researchers concluded that:

Although the physiological reactions of bottoms [submissive partners] and tops [dominant partners] tended to differ, the psychological reactions converged, with bottoms and tops reporting increases in relationship closeness after their scenes [BDSM erotic play].”

Another reason for engaging in rough play during sex is that of escapism. “Pain,” explain authors of a review published in The Journal of Sex Research, “can focus attention on the present moment and away from abstract, high-level thought.”

“In this way,” the authors continue, “pain may facilitate a temporary reprieve or escape from the burdensome responsibilities of adulthood.”

In fact, a study from 2015 found that many people who practiced BDSM reported that their erotic practices helped them de-stress and escape their daily routine and worries.

The study’s authors, Ali Hébert and Prof. Angela Weaver, write that “Many of the participants stated that one of the motivating factors for engaging in BDSM was that it allowed them to take a break from their everyday life.” To illustrate this point, the two quote one participant who chose to play submissive roles:

”It’s a break free from your real world, you know. It’s like giving yourself a freaking break.”

Potential side effects of play

People can also experience negative psychological effects after engaging in rough play — no matter how experienced they are and how much care they take in setting healthful boundaries for an erotic scene.

Among BDSM practitioners, this negative side effect is known as “sub drop,” or simply “drop,” and it refers to experiences of sadness and depression that can set in, either immediately after engaging in rough sexual play or days after the event.

Researchers Richard Sprott, Ph.D., and Anna Randall argue that, while the emotional “crash” that some people experience immediately after rough play could be due to hormonal changes in the moment, drops that occur days later most likely have other explanations.

They argue that feelings of depression days after erotic play correspond to a feeling of loss of the “peak experience” of rough sexual play that grants a person psychological respite in the moment.

Like the high offered by the mix of pleasure and pain in the moment, which may be akin to the highs experienced by performance athletes, the researchers liken the afterplay “low” with that experienced by Olympic sportspeople in the aftermath of the competition, which is also referred to as “post-Olympic depression.”

In order to prevent or cope with feeling down after an intense high during erotic play, it is important for a person and their partner or partners to carefully plan aftercare, both at the physical and psychological level, discussing individual needs and worries in detail.

Whatever a person decides to engage in to spice up their sex life, the key is always consent. All the people participating in a sexual encounter must offer explicit and enthusiastic consent for all parts of that encounter, and they must be able to stop participating if they are no longer interested and willing.

Research suggests that fantasies about unusual or rough sexual play are very common, and some people decide to take the fantasy out of the realm of imagination and make it a reality.

If you decide to stray from “vanilla” sex and try other flavors too, that’s fine, and there’s nothing wrong with you. Just make sure that you stay safe and you only engage in what you enjoy and feel comfortable doing.

Complete Article HERE!

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Gender-free sex toys are the future of personal pleasure

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By Kells McPhillips

You can buy a sex toy in almost every shape, size, and color, but they still don’t run the gamut. The pursuit of personal pleasure largely excludes non-binary bodies. Fortunately, a handful of brands with a focus on gender-free sex toys recognize the need for improvement. Soon, anyone with the desire for some self-love will have a toy at the ready in the drawers of their nightstands.

“Making a sex toy gender-free makes it more accessible to everybody,” says Amy Boyajian, CEO and co-founder of Wild Flower. The adult store for sexual well-being will release its first gender-free vibrator, Enby ($74), at the end of this month. “We want to bring queer experiences to the forefront because gendering sex toys—or subscribing only to certain ways of using a toy—often leaves out queer bodies and experiences.”

“When we label a sex product ‘for women’ or ‘for men,’ it doesn’t take into account all of the people who don’t identify with those labels.” —Logan Levkoff, PhD

The marketing of personal pleasure products can also be damaging to those who don’t identify within the gender binary, according to Logan Levkoff, PhD, a relationship and sexuality educator. Much of the market stills splashes the toys in colors traditionally associated with being male or female (i.e., cotton candy pink and baby blue). And the slogans are no better. “When we label a sex product ‘for women’ or ‘for men,’ it doesn’t take into account all of the people who don’t identify with those labels and winds up preventing people from exploring their sexuality using these items, because of an assumption that it’s not ‘for them,’” Levkoff says.

Brands like Wild Flower—and PicoBong, the maker of another gender-neutral toy called the Transformer ($130)—are re-writing the rules. These companies design toys that accommodate the needs of every gender, and thus revolutionize the way people masturbate and/or play with their partners.

The inspiration behind Enby is one example. After going through a gender affirmation surgery, one of Boyajian’s friends shared that she had to throw out all of her sex toys and start over. “That was one of our light bulb moments: we wanted to create something that could take you through any transition, no matter your anatomy or identity,” says Boyajian. “No one should feel like their body or sexual desires are an afterthought.”

“No one should feel like their body or sexual desires are an afterthought.” —Amy Boyajian, CEO and co-founder of Wild Flower

The innovative curves of Enby reveal how it can caters to the sexual hotspots of every body. But Boyajian says the sexual creativity Enby encourages is the biggest source of pride. “We had folks of all anatomies and identities test Enby to ensure we were meeting all their needs. Many of them came up with even more creative ways to use Enby, so the possibilities are endless,” says Boyajian.

The hand-sized device really is a giant step in a more inclusive direction. And they’re only just getting started. Picturing the future of the industry, Boyajian sees a world where users—not brands—dictate the use of each device. “For too long, the sex toy industry has prescribed identities and preferences onto its users. When we give customers the room to explore, we’re creating space for them to prioritize self-love and pleasure on their own terms,” says Boyajian.

Complete Article HERE!

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Is it healthy to have make-up sex?

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There’s a longstanding joke that people in relationships like to argue with each other because the make-up sex is so good.

By Almara Abgarian

Similarly, many say that having angry sex (having sex before you’ve actually made up) is equally appealing, because it’s fuelled by a primal passion.

You just have to have each other, right there, right then – even if you’re furious with the other person.

There is likely some truth to it, but research around it has conflicting results.

For instance, a study from 2008 by Israel’s Bar Ilan University claimed that make-up sex is much better than plain friendly shagging, but another piece of research revealed that this works best when you’ve already made up on a psychological level (rather than having sex in the middle of a fight).

The physical reaction you have during make-up sex – feeling hornier and finding your lover extra attractive is actually your mind’s response to the ’emotional threat’ that it’s going through.

In other words, the possibility that you might break up with your partner is encouraging you to make up, while the sex brings you closer together.

But is this really the case?

Annabelle Knight, sex and relationship expert at Lovehoney, tells Metro.co.uk that make-up sex can be a good idea as it allows partners to reconnect, but if you’re regularly turning to sex to sort out arguments, it’s worth considering why – and if there are deeper, underlying issues (that a round in the sheets can’t fix).

‘There is nothing wrong with make-up sex as long as you are doing for the right reasons – emotionally reconnecting with a partner that you love and trust,’ said Annabelle Knight, sex and relationship expert at Lovehoney.

‘All couples row and make-up sex is a great way of getting over an argument. It can be especially exciting.

‘It is a reminder that even though you can hurt each [other], you are still there for each other.

‘The obvious danger with make-up sex is if you are in an abusive relationship.

‘You really need to look at the reasons why you are so often having make-up sex – because your partner’s unreasonable behaviour is causing too many rows. If that is the case, it is best to look at the fundamental flaws in the relationship and either address them or walk away.

‘Make-up sex is not going to paper over the cracks.’

If you’ve spent hours talking, shouting and fighting, sex can serve as a helpful break – letting you regroup, remember how much you love and care for each other and continue the fight in a settled manner afterwards.

It’s harder to be angry with someone when you’re cuddled up to them post-orgasm, full of happy endorphins.

The issue here, according to Pam Custers, who runs a psychotherapy clinic and specialises in relationship issues and couples counselling, is that men and women interpret sex in different ways.

‘Make-up sex can be powerful way to heal a rift,’ the psychotherapist, who is a Counselling Directory member, tells Metro.co.uk.

‘Make-up sex says that all is forgiven, but it can’t be used as a quick fix.

‘Generally speaking men tend to have sex in order to feel loved and women tend to have sex because they do feel loved. This is where make-up sex can fall down.

‘If the underlying cause for the discontent is not discussed and resolved no amount of make-up sex will build the bridge. Soon one person in the partnership will start to feel like there is something missing in the relationship.’

So, is there a better option? Yes – talking.

‘Sex is a form of communication but it can’t take the place of all types of communication. Talking and behaviour are key to a good relationship and no amount of make-up sex can take its place,’ Custers explains.

‘The ideal would be for good communication to resolve the issues so both parties feel heard and understood, then a way forward that is in the best interests of the relationship and then followed by intimacy that rekindles the loving feeling.’

It’s worth noting that sometimes both talking and sex are off the table.

If the anger is taking over, go for a walk, try to cool down and then sit down with your partner to hash out your issues afterwards instead. As they say, cooler heads prevail.

The danger in having make-up sex is that it may not have the same effect for both of you.

And if it doesn’t ‘work’, the sex could leave you feeling worse than you did before (both about the relationship and yourself), and now you might also question why sleeping with your partner doesn’t help resolve your issues.

Especially if others around you are constantly discussing how great make-up sex is.

Each relationship has its own kinks and quirks; if make-up sex works for both of you, and gives you that time to connect before looking at the bigger picture (why you were fighting in the first place), then go forth and shag.

For some people a lack of intimacy can also be the reason couples are in a tiff, and so the sex might help.

Just be safe and if you feel sex isn’t enough to resolve the matter, then it’s time for a chat with your partner.

Complete Article HERE!

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7 Kinky Sex Tips For Curious Vanilla Girls

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Are you ladies more kinky than you are admitting? Considering the popularity of “50 Shades of Gray,” the erotica book burning the laps of lady readers across the country, I’m guessing you gals might be a tad kink-curious. Of course, there is a difference between reading about kinky sex and actually doing it– but both can be hot. Why not give those fantasies a whirl in the bedroom?

Being a vanilla girl who is curious about BDSM (bondage, discipline, sadism, and masochism) can be intimidating. You’re probably conjuring images of dog collars, dungeons and the leather-clad man who calls himself Master DragonBallz. Fret not, there are ways for a normal gal to try this stuff out with her partner in the comfort of her bedroom. No dungeon is necessary. Click through for some tips on how to dip a perfectly manicured toe into the dark waters of BDSM. And remember, you can use your safe word at any time during this slideshow.

Initiate A Kink Conversation

It all starts with talk. Kinky sex educator Maggie Mayhem has some ideas for broaching the topic: “If you’ve never discussed your fantasies out loud with your partner it may be helpful to refer back to a song, blog-post, movie or even porn/erotica.” Saying something like, “I just saw a movie where a woman’s partner tied her up to the bed while they had sex. And the connection they had was intriguing. Wanna watch it with me?”

If you want to take a more blunt route, frame the suggestion for kinky sex as a compliment, rather than as an accusation that there is something missing in your sex life. “You could say something like, ‘I really enjoy having sex with you because you listen to my body and make me feel safe. The idea of [being tied up during sex/spanked/dirty talk/doing chores naked] is something that makes me feel turned on and a little vulnerable, but I think it would be sexy to explore.”’ Maggie suggests using “and” instead of “but.” Example: “I really enjoy sex with you and I want to try spanking” sounds much different than “I really enjoy sex with you but I want to try spanking.”

Start Off Slow

You don’t have to try everything all at once! Looking at rows of floggers, paddles, and nipple clamps at the sex shop can be a little overwhelming. There are so many things you can do with BDSM, but there is nothing wrong with starting slow. Try mixing one new thing into your sex routine at a time. You can start with a blindfold during sex or maybe a little spanking in your foreplay (you can always use your bare hands before forking over the money for a paddle.)

Books, websites, workshops can be helpful as well. You can try saying something to your partner like, “I have so much fun with you in the bedroom, and you make me feel so good that I feel comfortable checking out something I’ve never done before, like maybe bondage. I don’t really know very much about it. Do you think that we could attend a workshop just to find out how it works?”

Do Some Erotic Brainstorming

Okay, sure all of this is great if you know what you want to try, but what if you don’t know? Brainstorm it out. Think back on the (kinky) sexual images that have turned you on. What elements stick out and what parts you could do without? Is your goal to feel the physical sensations involved in a particular act, or are you more interested in the emotional side of the fantasy?

Make a list of the things you might want to try. “Write down a basic idea such as ‘Bondage’ or ‘Spanking.’ Then make one column for the different things about spanking you think are sexy and another column for what you don’t find sexy at all,” Maggie encourages. Then share that list with your partner.

Tantalize Your Partner’s Senses

So you know what you want to try, but how do you get around to actually trying it? Start with the senses. Tantalize your partner. Bring a sensual surprise into the bedroom to break out of your routine — a tray of fruit, wine, chocolate (or all of the above). Try rubbing your partner’s body with furry or feathery things, massage, bite, find dull kitchen utensils to graze over their skin, use ice cubes.

Then work your way up the sensory ladder to something more intense. If you want to get rough, try a handkerchief as a gag. “It can be a reminder of how much tension we release through our voices and can heighten the feel of an orgasm,” says Maggie. The rope is also fun. “For some, bondage is about the vulnerability of being unable to escape, but for others, it’s about the sensation of smooth rope gliding over different parts of their body like their arms, legs, or torso,” she says.

Take turns doing this stuff to each other. But if you already know that it only turns you on to be the “bottom” in the situation, take the reigns and get the ball rolling. Lay out some toys, put on your sexiest outfit and ask, “What can I do to serve you? What would please you?”

Be Creative

Trying out kinky things is all about getting creative with sex. Role play and other sex games are just that — games. So have fun. Try putting on sexual performance or ask your partner to perform for you. “Stripping or masturbating for your partner can be a sexy and kinky experience, especially if your partner (or you) remain fully clothed the whole time,” says Maggie. Or try getting it on in public. Go to a fancy restaurant dressed to the nines, then excuse yourself. Go to the bathroom, slip off your panties and then discretely hand them to your partner under the table. It’s a safe way to play with being an exhibitionist. “Play wrestling is another way to explore power dynamics,” Maggie suggests. “Or turn on a sports game and assign a sexual act that one of you performs on the other every time their team scores a point.” Whatever you decide to try, its’ most important that you be creative and have fun.

Use Safe Words

In the world of BDSM, consent is paramount. And one of the first things you can start with is a “safe word”– a single word that stops the scene. You can make one up, but I personally like using the stoplight system. Red for Stop.Yellow for Slow down and Green for Oh god yes. But let’s admit it– it can be hard to speak up in the heat of the moment.

While exploring, try to establish non-verbal cues together to help you communicate at the moment. If you like something, you can make it a point to moan in appreciation or give a thumbs up. If something is getting too intense, pantomime turning down the dial or put a hand up in a Stop sign. Remember to always honor your safe word. Unexpected things can happen in our minds or bodies. A cramp in the foot! A buzzing cell phone! A sudden feeling of discomfort!

Have A Post-Kink Debrief

Having fulfilling kinky sex with your partner can be a great way to bond as a couple and build trust with each other about exploring any sexual fantasy. If you are playing bottom, also be aware you just might find yourself in sub-space, a mental state of euphoria that comes from playing with BDSM. Regardless, after that, toe has been dipped into kinky waters, don’t forget after-care.

Debrief and talk about what just happened. Did you enjoy it? Was there something that didn’t turn you or your partner on? Keep the communication going so that next time you can push the envelope even further … ya know, if you’re into that.

Complete Article HERE!

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Why Being In A Throuple Could Be Your Best Relationship Ever

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You’ve heard that two’s company and three’s a crowd. But throuples are here to prove that three—yes, three—is where the party’s at.

As you may have guessed, a throuple is a romantic relationship between three people. And while the term might be new to you, Ann Rosen Spector, PhD, a clinical psychologist in Philadelphia, insists there’s nothing new or unusual about the concept.

Why? Because “it’s totally possible to be in love with more than one person at one time,” she says. (You heard it from her.)

Here’s everything you need to know about throuples, whether you just want a better understanding of the nontraditional relationship or are considering starting one yourself.

1. A throuple isn’t the same as an open relationship.

First things first, a little clarification on exactly what a throuple is and is not…

A throuple is:

  • A balanced, consensual, and committed relationship between three partners

A throuple is NOT:

  • An opportunity to be in a relationship and have sex with people who are not their partner
  • A threesome, or merely sex between three people

Thanks to the recent increase in visibility of the entire sexual spectrum (hooray!), the throuple (“three” + “couple”) is gaining more and more recognition, as are other forms of polyamory, the umbrella term for relationships involving more than two people.

2. A throuple doesn’t have any “formula,” aside from involving three people.

Throuples can be made up of people of any gender identity and any sexual orientation who choose to be together, Spector says. (Love is love, right?)

That said, Spector says that most of the the throuples she’s seen involve a married couple or long-term twosome who choose to add a third person—typically a man and woman who then bring in another woman. Some consider themselves straight; others call themselves bisexual.

She also sees throuples made up of people who don’t conform to any gender, folks who consider themselves pansexual, and those who identify as entirely homosexual. But labels aren’t important, she notes. (Cosign.)

3. A throuple has legit advantages.

Sometimes a throuple begins as a purely sexual pursuit, to spice up a twosome, and then evolves into its own relationship with mutual feelings among the three parties.

But other times—and often times—people in a relationship who love each other but don’t want to be monogamous choose to add a third person to round out their bond.

Which has definite benefits, Spector says: When you have a third person involved, chances are you’ll expose yourself and your original partner to qualities that both of you may want but can’t offer each other.

A third partner can also serve as a buffer or mediator when scuffles come up between the other two, Spector adds.

All that could make for a much more satisfying relationship. Because just like couples, throuples love each other, elevate each other, argue, have sex, live together, and—yep—may even have children.

4. Throuple-hood could make the relationship a little harder, though.

The dynamics within a throuple can differ drastically from a typical duo. First, there’s the jealousy part, a potential side effect of a three-way relationship if one person feels like there’s an uneven split of attention or commitment.

The best way to avoid this is to have everyone voice their needs and concerns at the start of the relationship—and be honest if and when those needs and concerns change, says Spector.

Second, when it comes to conflict, having a third person in a relationship leaves room for taking sides—an unhealthy tactic that can put the bond on shaky ground, Spector explains. (That can be avoided if each party can master the aforementioned mediator role.)

Like in any relationship, a throuple requires tons of communication so that everyone feels heard and no one feels left out

A few ways to make sure that happens, from Spector:

  • Be super specific about your needs.
    For example, say: “Since we’re all in a relationship together, while I’m comfortable with you and our partner kissing, I’d prefer if we only had sex as a threesome.”
  • Eliminate secrets.
    Open communication is even more important when there’s three people involved. So always check in with both partners—and yourself.
  • Speak up if your feelings change.
    Try: “I know you’re happy in our throuple, but this isn’t something I wanted for the long term. I’d rather go back to our relationship being just the two of us. Thoughts?”

5. A throuple can be a totally healthy and balanced relationship.

Entering throuple-hood can enrich your romantic life if everyone shares similar interests, values, and ideals, Spector says, but make sure you can handle coupledom before bringing in a third person.

If you feel like you’re fully ready and wanting to add a third, Spector suggests letting your current partner know by gauging their interest.

Say something like: “I’d like to invite someone else into our relationship. How would you feel about having X join us and becoming a throuple?”

As long as they’re on board—and all three of you are willing to put in the work—go ahead and get that party started.

Complete Article HERE!

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Get tied up with these trusted BDSM dating sites

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Long before 50 Shades of Grey was ever published, bondage dating sites have brought people together to indulge in their shared passion for shibari, suspension, and other forms of rope bondage. But since the series highlighted all types of kink, more BDSM dating sites have popped up–which begs the question: how do you know which sites are worth your time (and money)? You can spend countless hours typing websites into Google and sifting through user reviews, or you can just get a head start with one of the sites we’ve reviewed below.

Are bondage dating sites safe?

When used correctly, dating apps like these can be a helpful tool to have. However, as with any online community, if you don’t take the right preventative measures you risk putting yourself in harm’s way. Here are a few tips to prioritize your safety:

  • Remain skeptical and never rush to meet someone–take the time to properly vet their identity.
  • Fully discuss consent, safewords, and boundaries.
  • Establish rules and aftercare rituals.

These details may seem minor, but they’re mega-important for protecting yourself and weeding out those who won’t be a match.

Best bondage dating sites according to reviewers

1) Perversions

Neatly designed, this bondage dating site is easy to use and makes searching for potential matches hassle-free. In fact, it’s so organized that reviewers claim it’s what leads to the site’s high matchmaking rate. Perversions.com also offers users access to private cam rooms, chat rooms, community blogs, and more. The site is also very good at making what each member is looking for very clear. When you sign up, you’ll be prompted to answer questions pertaining to your political beliefs, masturbation practices, even your favorite sex positions. Users can join for free but in order to access all the site has to offer, you’ll need to upgrade your membership to a Silver or Gold plan.

Silver members can view and contact members, show up in searches (after Gold tier members and before free members), contact new members, unlimited access to live and recorded videos and 24/7 phone support.

Gold members will have access to all new content first, appear in search results before Silver and free members, receive full access to the Gold Room (which includes erotic photos, movies, downloadable videos, erotic stories, and live webcam shows).

2) Alt.com

Alt.com (apart of the FriendFinder Network) hosts a platform for masters or mistresses of BDSM and people looking to practice erotic bondage. Members are able to connect with other users in chat rooms, webcam sessions, and through private messaging. Reviewers claim that Alt.com isn’t as reliable as other sites that are a part of the FriendFinder network (like AFF), but that doesn’t mean it’s total garbage either. You’ll just have to be careful about who you connect with in order to avoid scammers, but that can be said for meeting people IRL too! However, one user did offer a pro tip for navigating this site: hang out in the chatrooms and get to know interested parties that way, instead of scouring profiles for countless hours trying to find the perfect person. 

Joining is free, but if you want to access everything the site has to offer you will need to upgrade your membership to a Silver or Gold plan. Silver members can view and contact members, show up in searches (after Gold tier members and before free members), contact new members, access members photos and video introductions, and 24/7 phone support.

Gold members will have access to all new content first, appear in search results before Silver and free members, receive unlimited access to members photos and screen names, movies, downloadable videos, erotic stories, blogs, groups, magazine stories, and live webcam shows.

3) Bondage.com

Founded in 2004, this top bondage dating website is mobile-friendly but has no app (yet). Its matching algorithm is GPS-based and designed to show you profiles of top members in your region. But what sets the site apart from the rest is that when users sign up they can choose to upload a profile video instead of a static photo. Users can also choose to sign up with Facebook. However, reviewers claim that this site is no longer as active as it once was, so unless you’re looking to find matches in a big city, you may want to sign up for one or two other sites as well (or just be patient). 

Joining is free but in order to send gifts and come up as a priority in search results, you’ll need to upgrade to a paid membership.

4) MeetDominatrix.com

Reviewers claim that MeetDominatrix.com is one of the best bondage dating sites available, and we have to agree. The site allows users to create custom profiles that reflect their experience in the scene, so if you’re new to bondage you can find comfort in matching someone more experienced with the patience to show you the ropes (literally). The site design is a bit boring but it does a great job at representing users from all experience levels, backgrounds, ages, and interests–in other words, don’t let the look fool you. 

Joining won’t cost you a thing, but free members will only receive restricted access to features like sending flirts, instant messaging and searching the site. So if you’d like to carry a conversation through the site-based email system or access advanced search filters, you’ll have to upgrade to a paid membership. Luckily, you don’t have to subscribe immediately, since all new members receive a free Premium membership to test out before they sign up. 

Complete Article HERE!

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A Guide to Pegging Your Partner With a Strap On

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Here’s why pegging has a special name, how to do it safely, and all the best toy recommendations to try it out.

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Can pegging make your partner a better lover? Some people, including experts in the sex and relationships field, certainly think so.

“When I have sex with cisgender men, the ones who receive anal penetration are much better lovers than those who haven’t,” says kink-friendly sex therapist Liz Powell. Well, if that’s not enough motivation to explore this misunderstood and even controversial activity, I don’t know what is.

Of course, the decision to try pegging with a strap on is completely up to the individuals involved, and many folks are wonderful sexual partners regardless of whether they’re interested in this form of sexual exploration. But what is pegging, why is it so hot for some of us, and what supplies and knowledge are needed to try it safely? Allure spoke with Powell and a professional dominatrix to learn all you need to know.

First of all, what is pegging?

Traditionally, pegging refers to a cisgender, heterosexual male receiving anal penetration from his cishet female partner with a strap-on dildo — and, actually, it’s a word surrounded by a bit of controversy.

As our understanding of gender and orientation expands, some folks ask, why not just call this anal sex, strap-on sex, or just sex? Why do cishet guys need their own word for anal penetration when the rest of us have been enjoying it as is? Powell understands this line of thinking, but they also say that giving an activity its own word, be it fisting, squirting, or pegging, can help us talk and think about what we’re doing.

“Having a term for pegging can, in some ways, be helpful,” Powell explains. “A lot of cis straight men are interested in pegging because when they find out that there’s a term and that it’s common they feel a lot more OK about wanting that.” Talking about pegging specifically can help normalize it and debunk outdated thinking about cishet men and prostate pleasure.

“Could we just call it sex? Sure, but there are lots of things we could just call sex,” says Powell. “Having more terms doesn’t necessarily make it worse; I think that pegging is more stigmatized because it is about a cis straight dude. A lot of people are still really uncomfortable with men receiving penetration.”

Why are so many people turned on by pegging?

Everyone’s butthole is lined with erogenous nerve endings, which is why people of all orientations, genders, and bodies can enjoy anal sex. And having a prostate is a fun bonus.

“A lot of prostate owners don’t get to stimulate their prostate, and that’s a whole other orgasm available to you. You’re opening yourself up to other avenues of pleasure,” says New York City dominatrix Domina Katarina. The prostate, or P-spot, is roughly three to four inches inside the rectum, about an inch in diameter. The person with a prostate can usually let you know when you’ve found it as they’ll start to feel sensations reminiscent of an orgasm.

Outside of the physical pleasure of prostate and anal stimulation, both partners, commonly referred to as the bottom (receptive partner) and the top (penetrating partner), may enjoy the “taboo” of a role reversal, if receiving penetration is new for the partner with a prostate or penetrating someone is new for the top. “The power dynamics are amazing,” Domina Katarina says. “Especially as a woman who is typically seen as submissive, it really does put you in a different position. You get a rush, like, yeah, I have this control.”

While some simply want to be penetrated for the prostate stimulation, for other straight couples, they may get off on the role reversal. Submissive cishet men may enjoy the erotic power exchange that occurs when their partners become the ones with the dicks. “I get why dick owners walk around like they’re the shit,” Domina Katarina says of the place of power she entered through her experience pegging.

Pegging can also (but doesn’t have to) be a part of BDSM dynamics. All BDSM involves consensual power exchange, and for some cishet men — who, in our patriarchal society, still tend to harbor the most power — submitting to a woman or other person of a marginalized gender gets them off.

Pegging also requires immense trust; being penetrated anally with a strap-on dildo by a pro-domme or dominant partner allows cishet men to not only receive anal pleasure but become vulnerable and submissive, which is a common sexual desire.

What products and techniques should I use?

Safe pegging requires taking the same time and care you’d use during any anal penetration. Before you work your way up to a dildo and harness, begin by inserting a finger, and then two, with plenty of lube. Because pegging usually means using a strap-on dildo (which is commonly made with silicone), you want a water-based lube. Silicone lubes can cause silicone toys to deteriorate. Sliquid H20 is an excellent choice, because it’s safe to use with silicone toys and is flavorless and scentless.

After you’ve warmed up with fingers, feel free to add a butt plug to help prepare the area. The Snug Plug from B-Vibe, a weighted, smooth butt plug available in a variety of sizes and shapes, is excellent for anal sex warm up. It has a nice flared base that keeps it in place. For pegging, you can have the partner with a prostate wear a butt plug for a bit while you fool around or tease them.

When you’re ready to peg, you will need a strap-on dildo and harness. If you can, buy your first harness in real life rather than online so you can try it on. Some harnesses are strappy leather and sexy as hell, such as the Minx Harness from Aslan Leather. Others are more practical, such as the TomBoii Boxer Briefs, which are ultra comfy and can hold a dildo in place like no one’s business. Go with whatever works for you and your partner’s desires.

So, what about the actual dildo? “For pegging, the really good dildos are the ones that are narrow in diameter that are fairly long,” Powell tells Allure. It can be helpful to go shopping with your partner so you know what you both want. Some people prefer realistic dildos and others want something bright and colorful. No matter what, start small.

If you’re interested in a vibrating anal dildo, try the Riley Vibrating Dildo. If you’re curious about a curved dildo made like anal beads, try the Your Highness Vibrating Dildo. And if you were wondering, yes, there is a Broad City Strap-On Set.

Other than making sure all partners are aware of how to physically prepare, remember that there is a major emotional component to the sex act, especially if it’s someone’s first time. Make sure to communicate beforehand about both of your desires, expectations, and fears. “When it comes to pegging, even though that dildo is not part of your anatomy, you are still inserting a part of yourself in someone else, and that’s extremely intimate. There’s a great responsibility, because you are entering them,” Domina Katarina says.

Start slow and use plenty of lube, checking in with your partner throughout the experience. “Don’t think you’re going to be like thrusting and whipping a lasso around your head,” she says. “It has to go nice and slow and easy or else you could do physical damage, and you could do emotional damage. It’s a really awesome way to connect differently with your partner.”

As Powell touched upon earlier, for people with prostates, experiencing penetration can be a much better way to understand a partner with a vagina and vice versa. “Especially for cishet guys, receiving anal penetration is a really important thing to do, because it helps you receive what your partner is receiving. Receiving penetration and penetrating are completely different experiences, in terms of vulnerability and in terms of physical risk,” they say. “If you’ve received penetration, you tend to approach receiving penetration very differently.” And apparently become better in bed.

Complete Article HERE!

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