Your Guide to the 12 Main Types of Sex Toys

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Great news: There are even more out there.

By Gabrielle Kassel

There are ~almost~ as many designs of sex toys as there are sex positions–trying to pick one that fits your preferences can be harder than finishing your first CrossFit WOD. But most can be relegated to specific categories. To our rescue, sex and relationships educator Sarah Sloane (who’s been teaching sex toy classes at Good Vibrations and Pleasure Chest since 2001) breaks down 12 of the most common types of sex toys with info on the benefits and best-use practices for each. (Related: I’ve Tried 100+ Vibrators—and My Favorite Looks Like a Banana)

(Keep in mind: This list is far from complete—if you have Q’s about toys like nipple clamps, handcuffs, pinwheels, spreader bars, fetish gear, etc. don’t hesitate to ask the expert at your local sex shop!)

Wand Vibrators

Vibrators are probably the most common type of sex toy, and when you hear the word, likely you visualize the infamous Hitachi Magic Wand, which (as its name suggests) is a wand vibe. (Fun fact: It was introduced in the ’70s as the “Cadillac of Vibrators.”)

“Wand vibrators typically offer vibrations at a higher RPM, so they’re more intense than other vibes,” says Sloane. “They work really well for people with vulvas or penises who enjoy a strong sensation, or who have difficulty getting fully aroused without intense stimulation.”

Wand vibes can also be used for applying stimulation to your non-nether regions—they double as a back and shoulder massagers, a ~teasing tool~ to trace on someone’s bod, or a very intense nipple toy, says Sloane.

The Magic Wand isn’t the only option; try the SmartWant by Lelo or the Fairy Mini Wand by Better Love.

Clitoral Vibrators

According to Sloane, clitoral vibes have emerged as their own category. They’re typically much smaller, less phallic-shaped, and are intended specifically for (yep) the clit. “These are best for people who like direct clitoral stimulation,” she says.

That said, there are a variety of shapes and sizes under the clit vibe umbrella. For instance, the Eva II by Dame has wings that wrap around the labia so that the bzzzbzzz is applied directly to your bud, while the Form 2 by Jimmyjane has little “ears” that can surround your button with pleasure. Or, you can go with a more straightforward bullet vibe like the We-Vibe Tango which looks like (obv) a bullet. There are also clit vibrators that look like everyday objects like lipstick and/or a necklace—fun!

Clit Suction Toys

True to their name, clit suction toys use air pressure to create a gentle sucking. “They’re a very, very different sensation than vibrators; people who really love oral sex or the feeling of a partner curving their tongue around their clitoris and folks who find vibration patterns too intense tend to like these,” says Sloane.

Sexpert tip: If you’re trying a clit suction toy because your clit is ultra-sensitive, first use it over your panties to warm up, then apply a dab of lube to the tip of the toy. “Super sensitive clitorises typically need more warm-up than going from zero to a suction toy,” says Sloane. Makes sense.

Want to give one a try? Here are some of the Best Clit Suction Toys On The Market at the Moment.

Dildos

ICYWW, dildos are qualified as a dildo if they’re “anything vaguely phallic shaped that is meant to simulate penile penetration,” she says. They can be any length or girth—there are ones that are two inches and ones that are monster-sized.” She says that people who enjoy the feeling of being penetrated or like the feeling of fullness in their vagina or anus might enjoy dildo play.

Note: While dildos are meant to simulate penile penetration, that doesn’t mean that all dildos look like realistic penises. In fact, most don’t—there are even some that like iciclestentacles, or candy canes. (That said, if you are looking for a realistic dildo, no one does it better than New York Toy Collective).

Butt Plugs

Butt plugs are great for experimenting with anal play. “They can teach your body to accept anal penetration and train your sphincter to relax around different sized toys,” explains Sloane. But, lest you think butt plugs are *only* a stepping stone to full-blown anal, she says, “they’re awesome for stimulating the ring of nerves around the anus.”

What’s the difference between using butt plug and using a dildo in the butt? “I tell people that dildos are more dynamic and meant to be taken in and out, while butt plugs typically go in and stay in to give a sustained, feeling of fullness,” explains Sloane. Plus, butt plugs have a flared base, which means they can be used safely without being attached to something like a harness. (See more about why butt plugs need a flared base here.)

Ready? Start here: The Best Anal Sex Toys, According to Sexperts

G-Spot Toys

Thanks to their slight curve or expertly positioned bump, G-spot toys make it easy to apply firm pressure to the G-Spot (which, yes, does exist). For your first G-spot toy purchase, Sloane recommends what she calls an egg-on-a-stick toy. “They’re great starter toys because they can be used internally and externally, for G-spot or A-spot play, and are typically pretty inexpensive.” She recommends the G Slim Classic by Blush Novelties (which is under $10!), or the Frisky by Doc Johnson (which is under $15).

A-Spot Toys

Speaking of the A-Spot—an erogenous zone a little further back than the G-spot and technically known as the anterior fornix erogenous zone—there are toys specifically meant for A-spot stimulation. Typically they look like long, narrow variations of the G-spot toys, says Sloane. For a vibrating A-spot toy, try the Lady Bi-violet by Fun Factory. And for a non-vibrating option try the 7.5-inch Pure G-spot Metal Wand by Njoy which Sloane says is A+ for A-spot play.

Rabbit Vibrators

A rabbit toy is a combo of an external vibrator and a G-spot toy. “It has an external part that usually looks like rabbit ears that provides vibration to the clitoris, while a second attachment goes inside the vagina for G-spot stimulation,” explains Sloane. She says this toy is best for people who find duel sensations pleasurable, or those who want to experiment with blended orgasms.

Shopping tip: “Make sure the toy you purchase allows you to control the vibrator patterns of both legs separately, because usually the G-spot and clitoris need different intensities,” she says. The INA Wave by Lelo and the Jack Rabbit by Calexotics are both good options.

Prostate Toys

Built for people with prostates (of the male sex, for the most part), the function of these toys is to provide direct sensation to the prostate—some vibrate, some do not. “They’re a slender, curved toy that’s similar to G-spot toys,” says Sloane. “They provide direct sensation to the prostate, and are a great option for people who want to explore prostate play but don’t want to use their hands.” Lelo is one of the best-known brands for this corner of the market. (Related: How to Prepare for Anal Sex, According To Experts)

Anal Beads

Unlike butt plugs which typically go in and stay in, anal beads provide the sensation of the anal sphincter opening and closing. “As you insert the beads, the sphincter opens up and then closes, giving you a teasing bloop-bloop sensation,” says Sloane. Maybe you’ve heard that pulling them out as you orgasm can create a more intense orgasm, she confirms that’s true—for some folks. “Other people like them because they have more mass to them, so can create a sense of anal fullness.” You can buy vibrating beads, like these VeDo Beads or ones that don’t, like these 50 Shades of Grey beads by LoveHoney.

Just remember, the anus is not self-lubricating, so you’re going to want to use a toy-compatible lubricant—and lots of it. For maximum glide, Sloane suggests lubing up the entire length of the toy, not just the first few beads. (Related: Everything You Need to Know About Lube).

Cock Rings

“Cock rings were originally created to give folks with penises a longer, fuller erection because they compress the blood vessels; they can also make the penis more sensitive,” explains Sloane.

Now, there are vibrating cock rings which offer the same effect, while providing a buzzy sensation to the wearer and the partner being penetrated. “They’re also a great way to turn dildos into vibrating dildos for strap-on sex,” says Sloane.

Oh, and she says these babies cheappp. Both Durex and Trojan make one for under ten bucks.

Glass and Metal Wands

These may look like G- or A-spot toys, but Sloane says, these deserve their own category. Why? “These non-vibrating wands are an awesome option for people who have discomfort or pain with penetration. They are frictionless and go in smoothly, and can be a great bridge to penetrative sex for people who need slower, more gradual dilation,” she says. (Related: Why You Might Be Experiencing Pain During Sex).

Plus, glass and metal toys are great for temperature play because you can warm them up or cool them down. Trust, it’s H-O-T. Check out the Fifty Shades of Drive Me Crazy Glass Massager or Stainless Steel Massage Wand by Njoy.

Complete Article HERE!

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How to Have Sex if You’re Queer

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What to Know About Protection, Consent, and What Queer Sex Means

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Happy Pride!

Rarely does traditional sex education tackle pleasure for pleasure’s sake, how to have sex for non-reproductive purposes, or the wide spectrums of sexualities, bodies, and genders that exist. Instead it tends to cover penis-in-vagina penetration only, pregnancy risks, and STI/STD transmission, leaning heavily on scare tactics that may not even work.

Traditional sex ed is failing us all, but when it comes to standardized sex education in the U.S., the LGBTQ community is especially left out of the conversation. A GLSEN National School Climate Survey found that fewer than 5% of LGBTQ students had health classes that included positive representations of LGBTQ-related topics. Among self-identified “millennials” surveyed in 2015, only 12% said their sex education classes covered same-sex relationships at all.

The good, and even possibly great news is that not being boxed in by the narrow definitions of sex provided to us via traditional sex ed means that we are free (and perhaps even empowered!) to build our own sex lives that work uniquely for us, our partners, and our relationships. But we still need some info in order to do so.

Let’s talk about what classic sex education might’ve missed about how to have sex if you’re queer, from what sex between queer people means to how to keep it safe and consensual between the rainbow sheets.

What Queer Sex Means and How to Have it

Redefine and self-define sex. Sexual desire exists on a spectrum just like gender, sexuality, and other fluid and fluctuating parts of our identities. From Ace to Gray-Ace to Allosexual and everywhere in between and beyond, check in with yourself and your partners about how they experience sexual desire (if at all).

Similarly, “having sex” can mean a million different things to a million different people from making out, to certain kinds of penetration, orgasmic experiences, etc. You get to decide “what counts as sex” to you which is especially true when it comes to sexual debuts — a necessary and inclusive term for self-determined first times that looks beyond the traditional, heterosexist version of “losing your virginity.”

Honoring the identities and bodies of ourselves and our partners with respect, kindness, compassion, and tenderness is crucial and can feel even more precious and rewarding when you’re queer. Truly pleasurable sex — regardless of your identity — starts with a sense of safety, clear communication, confident boundaries, active listening skills, and self-awareness.

Check in with yourself first. Active consent starts with knowing yourself and what your boundaries are. Though an important piece of practicing consent is asking your partner for permission and for their preferences, it can be easy to forget to ask yourself similar questions. What do you want out of a sexual experience? Where are you confident you don’t want to venture now, yet, or maybe ever? What are you super excited to explore?

This check-in can help you determine what you want from sex and what queer sex means to you. This is when you can think about experimenting with sex toys, whether you’re interested in penetration, and what kind of touch feels good to you.

Sometimes we don’t even know where to start if we’re not sure about what our options even are. Scarleteen.com or Girl Sex 101 (much more gender-spectrum-inclusive than the title suggests) are both great resources that can get some of your questions answered. You can also find more information here.

Name your own bits. Body parts, especially private body parts, can be complicated territory for LGBTQ folks, and understandably so. One of the main goals of sex for many of us is to feel good in our bodies. The first step to this can be feeling good about the terms we use for our body parts. Try on one or a few that might work for you, communicate them to your partners (especially new ones), and ask them how they like their bodies to be talked about or touched.

Gender roles are bendable roles. You don’t have to adopt traditional gender roles in sex unless you want to. Media mediums from PG-13 sex scenes to X-rated porn can create clear splits between what’s considered being “sexually masculine” (being the do-er, taking control, knowing the ropes) and being “sexually feminine” (being the receiver, being passive or reactive, being led rather than initiating the sexual interaction).

Just because you identify with being masculine, feminine, or somewhere in between doesn’t mean you need to act a certain way or do anything in particular in your sex life. You can be a Ferociously Fierce Femme, a Passive Prince of Pillows, a Non-Binary Take-Charge Babe, or any version of your sexual self that follows what feels good, affirming, and right to you and your partners.

Talk about sex outside of a sexual context. Talking about sex with your potential or current partners before the clothes come off can be a great way to keep clear-headed communication and consent thriving. Sexual interactions are vulnerable, exciting, and can get your body and brain functioning in all new ways. So, sometimes it can be easier to talk about your feelings about sex, your enthusiastic Yes-es, your definite No’s, and your curious Maybes over coffee or text first, in addition to in-the-moment communication about consent.

Make an aftercare plan. We know that consent, permission, and pre-sex talks are all important parts of a healthy sex life, but we can forget to think about what happens after we have sex (besides water, a pee break, and snacks, of course). This is aftercare — or, how we like to be interacted with after sex has ended.

Aftercare preferences can include what we want to do immediately after sex (cuddle? watch Netflix? have some alone time?) and can also include what happens in the upcoming days or weeks (check-ins over text? gossip parameters? is there anyone you and your partner definitely do or don’t want to dish to?).

No matter your aftercare preferences, a post-sex check-in conversation about how things went, what you’d love an encore of, and what you might want to avoid next time (if you’d like there to be a next time) is always a good idea.

Always keep it consensual. Consent starts with asking permission before any sexual touch or interaction begins, continues with checking in about how things are going, and ends with talking with each other about how the sexual interaction went overall so that feedback can be exchanged and any mistakes can be repaired.

True, enthusiastic consent thrives in a space where each person feels free, clear-headed, and safe to speak up about what their No’s, Yes-es, and Maybes are.

Safer Sex for Queer Sex

Hormones matter. Even though testosterone hormones can decrease your risk of unwanted pregnancy, folks on T can still become pregnant, so make sure to use condoms if sperm is likely to be in the mix. Estrogen hormones can slow sperm production, but if your body is still producing sperm, an egg-creating partner could still get pregnant, so put your favorite birth control method to work.

Starting or ending hormone therapy, whether it’s testosterone or estrogen, can impact your sexual response, your desire levels, your emotions, and even your sexual orientation — so don’t be surprised if these changes crop up. Find safe people to talk to about any complicated feelings this may trigger rather than keeping them bottled up.

Condoms aren’t a one-trick pony. Though the gym teacher might think that putting a condom on a banana tells students all they need to know about wrapping it up, they’re usually doing little more than wasting a high-potassium snack. Condoms can help reduce pregnancy and STI/STD transmission risk for all kinds of penis-penetrative sex (vaginal, anal, and oral) so they’re important to learn to use correctly. But, they can also be used in other ways. Condoms can be put on sex toys to help with easy clean-up, or if you want to share the toy with a partner without getting up to wash it (just put on a fresh condom instead!), and can even be made into dental dams.

Gloves are another important piece of latex (or non-latex if you’re allergic) to keep…on hand…in your safer-sex kit, as they can prevent transmission of fluids into unnoticed cuts on your hands and can protect delicate orifice tissues from rough nails or your latest catclaw manicure (Pssst: if your nails are extra long and pointy, you can put cotton balls down in the tips of your glove for extra padding).

Lube is your friend. Lube is a great addition to all kinds of sex, but comes highly recommended for certain kinds of sex. A good water-based lube (avoid the ingredient glycerin if you’re prone to yeast infections!) can add pleasurable slip to all kinds of penetration, is latex-compatible, and reduces friction from sex toys or other body parts.

Lube can also be put on the receiver’s end of a dental dam or a small drop can be added to the inside of a condom before you put it on to create more pleasure for the condom-wearer.

Anal sex especially benefits from lube as your booty doesn’t self-lubricate like the vagina does, so it can be prone to painful tearing or friction during penetration. Using a thicker water-based lube like Sliquid Sassy for anal sex reduces friction, increases pleasure, and decreases chances of tearing which, also lowers risk of STI/STD transmission.

Sadly, no one is immune to STIs. Though it’s true that certain sex acts come with greater or lesser risk of STI/STD transmission, it doesn’t mean that certain partner pairings are totally risk-free. The Human Rights Campaign’s Safer Sex Guide (available in both Spanish and English) contains a helpful chart that breaks down the health risks associated with specific sex acts, complete with barrier and birth control methods that’ll help lower your risk.

Remember, some STIs/STDs are easily curable with medication, some are permanent-yet-manageable, and some can be lethal (especially if left untreated). So, knowing the difference and knowing and communicating your status are all important pieces of your sexual health. You can continue to lower STI stigma while reducing rates of STI transmission by keeping conversations about sexual health with your partners open and non-judgmental.

Sex toys need baths, too. When choosing sex toys, it’s wise to pay attention to the kind of material your toy is made out of. Medical grade silicone, stainless steel, glass, and treated wooden sex toys are all, for the most part, non-porous, meaning that they can (and should) easily be washed with soap and water between uses, between orifices, and between partners.

Sex toys made out of cyberskin, jelly rubber, elastomer, or other porous materials have small pores in them that can trap dirt and bacteria (kind of like a sponge), even after you wash them! This means that you could reintroduce dirt and bacteria to your own body causing bacterial or yeast infections for yourself, or you could pass bacteria or STIs to a partner via the toy. You could avoid these porous materials entirely (check the packaging to see what your toy is made out of) or you could use a condom on them every time like you would a body part.

For more tips on building a culture of consent in your communities and relationships, head to yanatallonhicks.com/consenthandout.

Complete Article HERE!

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Lube, Butt Plugs, and Bondage, Oh My!

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Just another day at your friendly neighborhood sex shop

By: Emma Chekroun

Having a part time job in college isn’t uncommon. Some students wait tables, others have jobs through their university, and some, like Haydin Wellens, a junior at the University of Minnesota, work as a cashier at a sex shop. Similar to other students, Wellens goes through his week’s worth of classes before working eight to nine hours on the weekend. Wellens fights exhaustion and tries to keep up with homework while working his late night shifts. The highlight? Much better party stories.

Wellens revels in the opportunity to talk about his job. “People will be talking about their jobs, and I usually start out with I work at a sex shop and…” pause for reaction. What usually comes next is smiles and stares of anticipation.

That anticipation lingers. There is something exhilarating in talking about and going to sex shops. Staring wide eyed at all the toys and tools that decorate the walls is enough to make anyone feel eager and anxious. 

While customers may only dedicate a few hours to browsing a sex shop, for those maintaining these glimmering palaces of self-love, it’s a lifestyle. 

Not Just a Job

Vincent Valcroft, assistant manager at Bondesque near Uptown, said he loves building people up through his work at the BDSM and fetish wear specialty shop. “I get to contribute to something that helps people,” he adds, “to bring greater wellness, meaning, and pleasure into their lives and relationships.”

Wellens, cashier at Lickety Split, and Cat Charles, website manager at Smitten Kitten, both said the best part of their jobs was answering questions and giving customers a safe space to ask them.

Charles said it’s “delightful and fun” to have sex as the subject manner of work. They enjoy making sex a normal and comfortable topic for shoppers.

Education also takes an important role in working at a sex shop. At Smitten Kitten, every employee is trained in the store’s sex ed curriculum. The shop also holds periodic free sex workshops, such as “Anal 101.”

Bondesque also holds workshops centered around BDSM, which Valcroft hopes contributes to a “holistic kink experience” in the store. Meanwhile, Wellens takes on an informal education outside of work, utilizing the internet to be better informed.

“I love figuring out how the different toys and interests work,” Wellens said. “Doing research into products on my own time doesn’t really feel like work.”

Education is a major way these sex shops pay it forward to the community. A shop’s attitude also has a big impact on its workers and the community. Wellens described how his manager created a position for him when he applied to Lickety Split back in June of 2018 and how that contributed to the family-like workplace he enjoys so much.

Valcroft went as far to say at Bondesque it’s “not a sale, it’s a celebration” and described the fun and explorative setting he strives to achieve at the store. When the community you and your store are a part of branches off into a spectrum of gender identities, orientation, and age groups, it’s important to “celebrate people,” Valcroft said.

Funny Moments

Even a community saturated with pleasure and support has its occasional negatives. From drunken shoppers to more dangerous exchanges, it’s not always easy being the purveyors of pleasure.

Wellens has had his fair share of run-ins that range from hilarious to horrifying. One particularly frightening story involves a knife and customer named Jelly; “we learned he was called Jelly after the fact,” Wellens clarifies.

Jelly became irate, yelling slurs at Wellens’ co-worker. Wellens went on to say, “He got super frustrated and pulled out a knife.” He adds, “It was more funny after the fact,” although that seems hard to believe.

Wellens’ stories only get wackier from there. At one point, a man came in waving around a sizeable chunk of marijuana for no apparent reason. Drunk frat guys have played leapfrog, Wellens added. “One time a guy bought a cock ring,” Wellens continues, “and tried to put it on in the store.” This patron wasn’t drunk or high—just “very excited,” Wellens clarified.

For Valcroft, there hasn’t really been one defining hard part of his job, except maybe when “the gimp gets loose,” he explained, only half kidding while a devilish smile spread across his face.

But all laughs aside, the world of sex shops, is just that: a world.

There’s a Whole World Out There

Even sex shop workers encounter kinks they’re not familiar with. A resounding response from all three sex workers, no matter the kink, is that sex shops are a judgment-free zone. Don’t be afraid to have questions, just leave the nitty gritty personal experience out, according to Wellens.

Your kink isn’t that weird, Charles assures. They also encouraged beginners to be open to new experiences and not be discouraged if something doesn’t work out for you.

Valcroft described BDSM and fetish as a “journey,” which the other sex workers agreed with—it’s a journey to find what you like.

Lots of communities are included, so there is a good chance you can find what you are looking for. Smitten Kitten specifically identifies as “queer-centered.” Every shop mentioned here has some form of gender expression or cross dressing inventory, gender expression involving toys, and other items for persons in the transgender community to express their identity. This can include strap-ons or realistic artificial penises.

A tour of Bondesque illuminates several kinks that fall under the radar of popular culture, such as sex toys for electrosex, which involves electrostimulation, and is surprisingly safe. There are also tools/toys for medical fetishes and latex fetishes.

And yes, for those interested in feet, Lickety Split sells silicone feet, according to Wellens.

Aside from kinks, a few new things discovered this week through interviews, an anal workshop, and a sex shop tour: silicone lube is not good for silicone sex toys, fetish parties are like raves mixed with fashion mixed with latex, and there is something out there for practically everyone. Most importantly, sex shop workers make a rewarding career not only out of selling toys but also out of making comfortable environments for sexual deviants and newbies alike.

Complete Article HERE!

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The Psychological Benefits of Sex Toys

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There is no doubt that sex is great. However, it can use something to make it more passionate and wild from time to time. The best thing to achieve that is to find the right “hardware” for your games and let it all play out really really well.

Besides making sex better, sex toys can bring many different benefits to the table, or into the bed, however you like it (this is a judgment-free zone). But among all the physical benefits, there are some psychological ones, too.

Eliminating shyness

Some people are shy about their sexual lives or talking about sex in general. What is more, at the very mention of sex toys even they can get all giggly and blood rushes to their cheeks like they are teens again. However, what not many of us know is that if you get over it and talk about sex toys, you can actually feel more confident to talk about sex.

Sex toys are not a taboo anymore and everyone uses them; either with their partners or by themselves. So, if you are able to talk about them in any way, be sure you will be more free to talk about sex with your partner, for example. You will eliminate that shyness, guilt or embarrassment you might be feeling, and your sex life will get better and more satisfactory in no time.

“Cure” for sexual dysfunction

There are both men and women who can have sexual dysfunction, and sex toys are something that can aid in that. For example, there are women who suffer from anorgasmia, which means they can hardly reach orgasms while having sex. That is why vibrators and relaxing sex toys, are recommended. As far as men are concerned, a helping hand of sex toys can make them climax without having to get an erection. There is no harm in trying kinky toys like Hustler Hollywood has, for example, and giving it a shot.

Plus, if you manage to finally get that orgasm, there is no doubt that your confidence will rise. Another positive thing is that they will take the pressure off of you because you won’t be overthinking what you’re doing in bed. You just need to relax and let the toys do their thing. And, at the end, you will feel confident about your relationship, things will get back on track sex-wise and you will relieve stress!

Great sex equals a great relationship

You might have that spark with your partner, but things are bound to get boring sometimes. That is why you need to communicate. Surprisingly or not, sex toys will lead to better communication with your partner. Even a simple visit to the sex shop with your partner will make you communicate better. You do need to be open about what you want, like and dislike, so it is a great way to get to know each other better.

Furthermore, you will learn how to “navigate” your partner better. Without the toys, you might feel shy about telling him “a bit to the left” or her “to use less teeth”, but with sex toys, things can change. If you’re using vibrators you will be more relaxed and open about where he or she needs to go in order to hit the spot. Plus, some toys can reach places no man or woman has ever touched.

According to Bustle, you can say that sex toys can improve your honesty and communication because they will spark the conversation and make your relationship even better.

They just make you feel good

The mental benefits of using sex toys are almost the same as the benefits of sex. But double the dosage! Sex boosts your confidence, but with the use of sex toys, you are even more confident because you managed to go pass that stigma and taboo.

Sex leads to increased intimacy, love and trust in a relationship, but with the toys, you two can get even closer. This is because your aforementioned communication is better, you made that special bond when buying sex toys and you learned new things about each other and your bodies. Plus, a lot of oxytocin is released after each passionate, sweaty and successful round in the bed, which only leads to stronger relationships and more respect towards each other.

After all this, we can say for sure that sex toys are beneficial. Forget about all that kink-shaming and go a little wild. Your relationship can use a little something new and fun, and your partner will be happy about it, too! Not to forget about that confidence boost and more happiness in your lives. So, take your partner’s hand, find the toys you both like and go on an adventure of kinky fantasies and plenty of fun.

Complete Article HERE!

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What’s So ‘Indecent’ About Female Pleasure?

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A consumer technology innovation award was revoked from a company that makes a hands-free sex toy. The reason, some believe, is that the product is made for women.

Lora DiCarlo, the company behind the Osé sex toy shown above, was stripped of an award at CES. Its products were deemed “immoral, obscene, indecent, profane or not in keeping with CTA’s image.”

By Valeriya Safronova

A personal massager, a sperm counter, virtual-reality pornography, something described as “the world’s first ebook-driven sex toy”: All of these products have been exhibited at CES, the country’s largest consumer electronics convention. Two of them won awards there.

So Lora Haddock was surprised when Osé, a hands-free sex toy she designed with a team of engineers from Oregon State University, had its CES Innovation Award revoked after three weeks. In an email explaining the convention’s change of heart, which Ms. Haddock shared with The New York Times, a representative cited a clause in the awards’ terms and conditions that disqualified products deemed “immoral, obscene, indecent, profane or not in keeping with CTA’s image.” (CTA refers to the Consumer Technology Association, which runs CES.)

“I was shocked,” Ms. Haddock, 33, said, “and then I was angry.” The award “signified a shift in inclusion,” she said. “And then it was actually, no you’re obscene and you’re indecent and immoral, and you’re not innovative at all.”

Last year, CES had more than 180,000 attendees from around the world and racked up more than 100,000 mentions in media outlets, by its own count. For start-up companies like Ms. Haddock’s, exhibiting at CES is crucial for attracting investment. It’s all the more important for sexual wellness companies, which by their nature have a difficult time placing ads on platforms like Facebook, in magazines and in public spaces.

Evie Smith, who handles public relations for Lora DiCarlo, promoting the Osé at an event near CES.

ohn Parmigiani, the director of the Prototype Development Lab at Oregon State University, first met Ms. Haddock in 2017, shortly after she had officially started her company, now called Lora DiCarlo. Over the years, Mr. Parmigiani — who has worked with companies like Boeing and Daimler Trucks — had become a go-to person for entrepreneurs seeking expertise in mechanical engineering.

“I went into the meeting with Lora having no idea what her product was,” Mr. Parmigiani said in a recent interview. “The third sentence she said was along the lines of, ‘I didn’t have my first blended orgasm until I was 20-something years old.’” Mr. Parmigiani said he was briefly taken aback but he kept listening.

“I thought, it’s a little out of my comfort zone,” he said, “but there’s nothing wrong with it.”

Ms. Haddock had used a term that describes a sexual climax reached from simultaneous external and internal stimulation. Her first blended orgasm, which Ms. Haddock said occurred at age 28, “knocked me off the bed onto the floor. I laid there wondering, how do I do that again?”

That wasn’t what sold Mr. Parmigiani on the project.

“I gave him a list of 52 functional engineering requirements that would be needed to produce this product,” Ms. Haddock said. “And that’s when he lit up.”

Ms. Haddock, who previously worked in health care and served in the Navy, is a self-described anatomy nerd. She knew she wanted her product to be customizable, so she started gathering data for where the G-spot and the clitoris are located on different bodies. “I tried to have that conversation with every single person with a vagina that I knew,” Ms. Haddock said. “I literally asked them to measure it with their hands and a tape measure.”

Osé, which will be available this fall for $250, expands, according to user preference, once placed on the pelvic girdle. It doesn’t vibrate but uses gentle, autonomous motions and air flow to enhance stimulation. Eight patents associated with Osé are pending. The team that built it includes Dr. Ada-Rhodes Short, who specializes in robotics and artificial intelligence, and Lola Vars, a current doctoral candidate in design-focused mechanical engineering at Oregon State University.

In follow-up emails, officials from CES and the Consumer Technology Association appeared to step back from the earlier assertion about the product’s violations of the morality clause, writing instead that Osé did not fit into the robotics and drones category, nor into any of the other product categories.

“It certainly is a robotic device if you look at a definition of a robotic device,” Mr. Parmigiani said. “There is no justification. Lora DiCarlo should have won the award.”

In a statement provided to The Times, Gary Shapiro, the president and chief executive of the Consumer Technology Association, said: “We have apologized to CEO Lora Haddock for our mistake, as the Lori DiCarlo product does not fit into any of our existing product categories and should not have been accepted for the Innovation Awards Program. CES is a professional business show, and porn, adult toys and sex tech products are not part of the event. CES is a large show with over 4,500 exhibitors. We acknowledge there are inconsistencies in exhibiting companies, and these will be addressed.”

But Ms. Haddock believes that what happened was more than an accidental oversight or a clerical error. So she published an open letter accusing CES of gender bias last Tuesday, Jan. 8, the first day of the convention. It is not the first time the trade show has been accused of gender bias: In 2018, numerous people in the tech industry criticized CES for having no female keynote speakers for the second year in a row, a failing CES attributed to “a limited pool when it comes to women in these positions.”

This year, of the 89 judges for innovation awards, 20 were women. CES said that it is committed to diversity, and pointed to its announcement this year that it will invest $10 million in venture firms and funds focused on women, people of color and other underrepresented start-ups and entrepreneurs.

On display at CES was a wide array of female-oriented products, including breast pumps, fertility trackers and skin-care tools, but critics point out that many of them exist to enable women to support something or someone else. “They’re in service of fertility, of society as a whole, of the household,” said Ms. Vars, the technical director at Lora DiCarlo. She noted that a sexual health company that has exhibited at CES for years, OhMiBod, won a prize in 2016 for its Kegel exerciser. “It’s something construed as good for men’s pleasure or fertility,” Ms. Vars said. “I hear that as a joke from men: ‘I like to sleep with women who do their Kegels.’”

“Sexual health wellness is something that can only happen behind closed doors, especially for women,” said Polly Rodriguez, the chief executive of Unbound, a company that makes lubes, vibrators and other sexual wellness products. Ms. Rodriguez has never applied to CES because of its reputation for gender-based discrimination. (Earlier this year, Unbound was in the news after the Metropolitan Transportation Authority rejected the company’s ads on the grounds that they violated rules against obscenity.)

But other female-driven sexual wellness products have gone the way of Ms. Haddock’s.

Karen Long, who has been in health care technologies for more than 20 years, was told that her company’s libido enhancing device, Fiera, did not qualify for the health and technology category in 2015. A later email from convention organizers added: “As a practice, we don’t allow sexual wellness products at CES.”

“We’re a consumer product that’s very clinically driven, with studies to support our product, validated surveys, OB-GYNs on board and everything,” Ms. Long said.

“We’re all sick and tired of this,” Ms. Haddock said. “It’s not just about our product. It’s about something bigger. It’s about really embracing an understanding of human sexuality, of recognizing innovation. When you call something obscene just because it has to do with a vagina, technology as an industry starts to lose out.”

Liz Klinger, the chief executive of Lioness, which makes a smart vibrator for women that collects data about sexual arousal, was similarly appalled. (She applied to CES in 2017 and was rejected.) “They said they weren’t going to include any new adult products in this space,” Ms. Klinger said. “That they had bad experiences in the past and didn’t want any new products on the floor.”

Later she found out that another applicant was approved to rent an entire room to show VR porn.

Complete Article HERE!

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The sex trends experts predict will be huge in 2019

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By Ellen Scott

You might not think that sex has trends.

Sex is sex, right? There can’t be that much you can change about it.

But sex trends do indeed exist, whether in terms of the tech we’re using to get off, the type of relationships we have, or our views of sexual acts.

The good news is that as long as you’re having consensual fun, it really doesn’t matter if you stay ahead of the curve.

If you are keen on being at the cutting edge of sexual stuff, though, you’re in luck, as sex toy brand Lelo has just released their predictions for the top sex trends of 2019.

Just do everything on the list then pat yourself on the back for being the trendiest, sexiest person ever. Congrats.

Open relationships and polyamory

Of course, polyamory is not a new concept. But thanks to documentaries (oh hey, Louis Theroux), celebs and influencers sharing stories of how polyamory and open relationships can work, the idea of non-monogamy is becoming more widely accepted.

Think of how BDSM was pushed on to everyone’s radar by Fifty Shades Of Grey. The same sort of thing is happening with polyamory.

Sex dolls

Not the ones you’re imagining, blow up ones with holes for mouths.

We’re talking fancy sex dolls made to feel and look incredibly lifelike, made with silicone and internal skeletons for a more human feel.

Artificial Intelligence

With the rise of household devices such as Alexa and Google Home, it’s no surprise we’ll start using artificial intelligence in the bedroom, too.

This can range from vibrators that collect your data and adjust to give you an orgasm every time to sex robots who respond to dirty talk and adjust their personalities to fit your desires.

Yes, the techphobes among us will be freaked out, but 2019 will be a cool year when it comes to seeing how far we can take sex tech.

Being single

Blame Ariana Grande.

Lelo reckons that in 2019 we’ll see more women remaining happily single later into their lives, with no desire to get into relationships.

Self-dating will be on the rise, as will treating yourself to all the toys you could ever want to provide satisfaction solo.

Male pleasure

Will 2019 be the year we finally accept that men can enjoy sex toys too?

The sex toy market will launch a bunch of new male sex toys this year, including prostate massagers and masturbation sleeves, which will hopefully normalise something that’s, well, very normal: using tools to masturbate more effectively.

New sensations

Vibration is great, but Lelo says 2019 will see the rise of newer, fresher ways to stimulate pleasure.

The brand’s Sona sex toy, released in 2018, uses sonic waves to stimulate the clitoris, to drive pleasure much deeper in the body.

You’ll also spot more toys that use pulsing or suction.

Complete Article HERE!

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Sex & Accessibility 101:

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How to Have Super Hot Sex with or as a Disabled Person

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I was once a horny and confused disabled teenager, and somehow managed to come into my own as a horny and downright pervy disabled adult. Growing up, no one ever talked to me about sex or sexuality. Outside of my peer groups (and often times even within them), sex was a touchy issue. Doctors, educators, family — they all functioned from a place that sex wasn’t for someone like me. And woof, how do you feel good initiating conversations about your bod and all the things you find yourself wanting to do with it when even your doctor seems squeamish about it?

Fast forward to 2018, and doctors are still garbage. But I like to think that we queers of the world are ever-evolving, and as result, getting pretty hip to the concept that all different kinds of bodies want to connect with other bodies. With that in mind, I’m not going to waste any time defending the desirability of disabled folks. Disabled folks are desirable. Period. Disabled bods and access needs are still left out of the conversation when it comes to S-E-X and well… f*ck that. So settle in and hang out for a minute. We’ve got a lot to talk about.

Disability Sexuality

Disabled folks make up the largest minority population in the world; upwards of 20% of people in the US are living with a disability. This means whether you, yourself, are disabled or not, disability touches everyone in some way or another. Our genders and sexualities vary as much as anyone’s, but our access to communities that affirm (or allow us to explore) our genders and sexualities is frequently lacking. Navigating sex and disability as a queer person has its challenges, but outside of societal misconceptions and misinformation, it’s not necessarily any more (or less) complicated than navigating any other body or sexuality. Bodies are weird. Sex is weird. Weird is good.

While the information here can be useful for anyone, this guide primarily focuses on physical access needs in sex. Disability is an incredibly broad umbrella term. There are a lot of different ways that disability exists in the world, and needs and considerations vary greatly. This is in no way meant to be definitive or all-encompassing. All bods are different and need different things. That’s kind of the point. As always, take what applies and feels good for you.

Communication

Inarguably, communication is the key to good sex, period. But, for disabled folks (and the babes that love them), those conversations may feel a little more vulnerable than conversations some able-bodied folks are used to having, and it helps to learn better ways of navigating them.

It should go without saying, but assumptions never do anyone any good in the bedroom (or anywhere, really). It’s important to find ways to communicate your wants and needs without ambiguity. Knowing what you want can be half the battle whether you have accessibility needs or not, so don’t be afraid to do a little work in finding that out for yourself. Handy worksheets like this old gem from our own Austen, Ara, and Geneva can help you not only brainstorm your own wants and needs, but find common ground with your partner. Talking about you want to do with your partner, also opens up the line of communication to advocate for the things you may need in order to do it. If you’re feeling anxious, try to remember that these conversations feel vulnerable for all bods involved, so be kind to both yourself and your partner! Initiating potentially vulnerable conversations about sex and bodies can work best outside of the bedroom. Talking about sex can feel daunting enough; changing up the space and talking it out before you’re in the bedroom can help ease some of the pressure and help you connect.

If you’re able-bodied and your partner isn’t, remember that when your partner is opening up to you about their body, it’s a conversation, not an inquisition. Make sure you’re meeting them in the middle, not putting them through an interview. Talk about your own boundaries, needs, hopes and expectations. Rather than “How do you…?” or “Can you…?” lines of questioning, focus on pleasure (i.e. “What are you into?” “What feels good for you?”). Your interest is in finding out what makes them feel good, not unraveling the mystery of their body. Good conversation topics to consider: preferred words/terms for parts, parts of the body you do or don’t like to have touched/seen/etc., body sensitivity or pain.

A common don’t that comes up all too often is the dreaded “I don’t even notice,” “You’re pretty/handsome for a disabled person,” or “You’re not disabled to me!” Able-bodied folks tend to think these are compliments, but I can assure you as a person who’s heard it all, they aren’t. The last thing anyone getting down and dirty with you wants to hear is that you don’t see them, or that you have to avoid parts of them to feel attraction for them.

If you’re disabled and wanting to open up communication, remember that communicating with your partner is a back and forth. You’re not responsible for sitting under a spotlight and disclosing your medical history, and you should never feel pressured to say or do anything that doesn’t feel right for you. Everybody’s got needs and expectations in physical and intimate relationships! Try not to feel weighed down sharing yours.

Communication while getting down is important, too. Tell your partner when they’re making you feel good, and be open to vocalizing (and switching things up) when something’s not working for you. Likewise, be open to hearing from your partner when something isn’t working for them.

The effort it takes to hone your communication skills really pays off; it feels good to know what you partner needs and expects from you, and it feels really good to know that your partner cares about what you need. Besides, talking about sex is great foreplay, pal!

Getting Down

Setting the scene

One thing disabled folks with physical access needs are beyond familiar with is the need for preparedness. Sometimes we can get bogged down by all the little details needed to make a space accessible; sex is really no different in that regard. Setting the scene for the sex you want helps ease anxiety surrounding unwanted interruptions or time-outs. It helps keep things flowing, and builds up the anticipation — which can be exciting!

Making sure that your harnesses, toys, positioning furniture, lube, and clean up supplies are within reach is a great start, but there’s more you can do to set the mood. Don’t underestimate the power of intention!

For folks who experience incontinence, waterproof pads and blankets can help with anxiety surrounding unwanted (or wanted!) messes.  While any mattress pad could do the trick, items made for play such as the Liberator Fascinator Throw, or the Funsheet can make the playspace feel less sterile and more sexy. Think about what kind of material makes you feel best in these situations. Throws like the Fascinator absorb fluid without leaking through, whereas items like the Funsheet do not absorb fluids (which can potentially feel overwhelming for some folks). Regardless of your preference, when sexy time is over, just toss your sheets/throws into the washer and you’re good to go. Anxiety surrounding incontinence can feel like a lot, but try to remember that honestly all sex is messy and that’s often half the fun.

Lube & Barriers

Lube is f*cking important! This is true for everyone, but especially when stimulating a part of the body that has limited or no sensation. Apart from wanting to avoid general injury, many conditions can make it difficult for a body to produce its own lubricant. Find a lube that works well for you and your partner and use that lube generously.

I won’t go too ham in talking about barrier methods, but I will note that there are a lot of options to consider, from a proper fitted condom on penises and dildos/vibrators, to dental dams, and the very poorly named “FC2 female condom.” Be sure to be conscious of sensitivities to frequently used materials such as latex (and less commonly allergenic) nitrile/neoprene. It’s best to stay clear of barriers with added flavoring or spermicides. Always remember to check your lube is safe for use with the barrier method you’re using!

Positioning

There are an infinite number of ways to get two bodies to connect in just the right way. Shaking things up and exploring the way things feel best not only ensures you and your partner’s comfort, it’s also just hot and fun. There are gender- and sexuality-inclusive online quick guides like this one from The Mighty that may help get your creative juices flowing. There’s also positioning harnesses and slings like Sportsheets’ Super Sex Sling and Doggie Style Strap that can help take some of the pressure off of strenuous positioning. Sportsheets is a disability-inclusive brand also offering items like shower suction handles and foot rests, and other positioning tools that can aid in accessible play.

If your partner needs help transferring out of a chair or another assistive device, let them guide you in helping them properly. Don’t ever lift or move a partner without being asked to, and don’t ever move assistive devices to unreachable places unless your partner asks you to.

Harnesses

For some with limited mobility, spasticity or pain in the pelvic/hip region, standard harnesses may not be an option for strap-on sex. Fortunately, there are multiple harness options for those looking for accessible ways to engage in penetrative play, and getting creative in the harness department can be just as hot as it is practical! Sportsheets offers a thigh harness and the La Palma from SpareParts offers a gloved hand option. For folks with penises using strap-ons, SpareParts Deuce is a great option. Designed to be wearable regardless of ability to achieve erection, the harness has an upper ring for use with a dildo, and a lower ring for penis access.

Toys

This is the part where I might as well start by throwing my hands in the air praising the Hitachi Magic Wand. As a stubborn contrarian I’d love to find a reason to tell you why it doesn’t live up to its hype, but I’d be lying. Apart from being probably the greatest sex toy on earth, with its strong vibrations, large head, and versatile modification options, it’s also probably one of the most accessible. There are hitachi toy mounts like this one from Liberator, various head attachments, speed controllers (which do need to be plugged into the toy/wall, but also extend the range quite a bit), and good ol’ DIY mic stand setups. The rechargeable wand does away with the need to stay plugged in and is worth every penny for the upgrade.

For anal stimulation, b-vibe offers a wide selection of remote vibrating anal toys in a variety of sizes and shapes, eliminating the need to reach down to adjust or change settings on the toy during use. For comfortable wear in seated positions, try options with a thin base like the snug plug or the pleasure plug from Fuze.

For folks with penises who may be experiencing what sex expert Joan Price refers to as erectile dissatisfaction or unreliable erection due to paralysis, but want to engage in penetrative sex, ppa/extenders like Vixen’s Ride On paired with a comfortable harness can be helpful in achieving penetrative sex with a partner. The Pulse 3 Duo is also a great partner toy option for folks with penises of varying functionality.

If you can, skip the ableist toy manuals that come with most sex toys and instead, talk to a sex educator at your local progressive sex shop about your prospective products and how to use them safely and care for them. It’s well-documented that there’s historically been (and continues to be) a problem with unfavorable language in a LOT of sex toy user manuals and packaging. If you don’t have access to local progressive sex toy shops, shops like The Smitten Kitten, She Bop, Early To Bed, and Babeland all have online stores and customer service options that can be really helpful.

After Care

Lastly, be sure to check in. After care isn’t an option; it’s a major part of play. Talk to your partner about what feels good for both of you when play is over. Maybe you or they need to be held, or like a glass of water when things are winding down. If incontinence is a concern, it may help to have a course of action pre-planned for cleaning up in a way that helps to relieve stress or discomfort.

Ultimately, there are plenty of tools and tips to achieve the sex you want, but the bulk of the work relies on successful communication. Remember to think beyond speaking, and consider how you’re listening. Are you doing what you can to create a connection that supports your partner in voicing their wants and needs? Supporting your partner through the vulnerable parts paves way for the creativity that comes with engaging and fun sex.

A few quick references:

The Ultimate Guide to Sex and Disability

Disability After Dark Podcast

Exile and Pride: Disability, Queerness, & Liberation

Complete Article HERE!

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How to Bring Sex Toys Into the Bedroom Without It Being the Most Awkward

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A sex educator’s four top tips.

By Gigi Engle

You have your trusty vibrator, the one that always gets the job done when on the self-love train. Have you considered introducing your favorite toy to your partner? For most women, external clitoral stimulation is needed in order to have an orgasm, and that’s not always a given during sex. Sex toys are designed to bridge the gap between what we get from sex and what we want from sex but aren’t getting. They are the helping hand you need. (In addition to, you know, your hand.) It seems like they would the natural addition to your sex life.

But it can be hard to introduce sex toys into the bedroom for the first time. You’re not the only one nervous about taking your sex toys across the border from Solotown to the Land of Let’s Get It On.

Sex toys are in many ways the final bedroom taboo. As a sex educator and coach, I can personally attest that people are still intimidated by them, however much we tout the dogma of the sacred vibrator.

If you (or your partner) is a little (or a lot) nervous about getting started with sex toys, try these four tips I use with concerned and curious clients. You’ll get there! It just takes some empathy, communication, and a lot of encouragement.

1. Tbh, this might be a super awkward thing to discuss, so prepare yourself for the awkwardness.

Real talk: Your partner may be really threatened or offended when you bring up using vibrators in the bedroom. There is some deep-rooted insecurity around sex toys that, while outdated and unfortunate, still exists. It’s like if you want to bring a vibrator into the bedroom, somehow you’re telling your partner they aren’t good enough. Not true!

Don’t focus on yourself and your sexual needs exclusively. This can potentially alienate your partner and put them on the defensive. Make the conversation about both of you. Approach the topic with empathy and be prepared to deal with a contentious reaction

Have an open an honest conversation about why this is something that turns you on. Tell your partner that it’s new, a little kinky, and fun. It’s something for the two of you to try together in order to expand your sexual repertoire.

Remember, vibrators aren’t only good for you and you alone. They offer immense pleasure when applied to the tip of the penis, the perineum, and the ball sack. If your partner has a vulva and hasn’t used a vibrator before, sex toys will blow their mind, too!

2. Offer to go shopping together, but be ready to go alone.

You may have a sprawling collection of sex toys (good for you!) or not, but if your partner is feeling peevish about using a sex toy, it is best to buy something new. There can be all sorts of loaded feelings about a toy that has been used before, especially with other partners.

You want this to be for both of you, something special that you can share. Offer to bring your partner along to the store or to shop online with you. It might relax them to see that there are so many options for sex toys, as well as not-at-all scary places to shop for them. For a fabulous customer experience, choose Babeland, Unbound, Pleasure Chest, Wildflower or Good Vibrations. These places have sprawling online shops for your convenience.

Be prepared to get shot down on the shopping trip. It might just be too much. And that’s OK! Trying sex toys for the first time can be a bit scary. If you are on your own, embrace the experience. Choose something that you and your partner will love. Speaking of which …

3. Don’t pick some enormous, phallic monster dildo.

The last thing you want to bring home to a nervous partner is some scary, veiny, Rabbit vibrator with a million spinning beads and a realistic penis-head. Nope. This will not go well. Nothing says, “I’m replacing your dick with this vibrator” or “I need a penis over your vulva to be happy” like bringing home a vibrator that is shaped like a larger-than-life penis.

Choose something non-threatening to start. You want to keep it playful and exciting, not terrifying.

Go for inspiring curiosity, not anxiety. When in doubt, choose a sex toy that doesn’t even look like a sex toy. The more quiet the toy, the better. You want something in a non-fleshy color that is more “cute” than it is explicitly sexual. I love to recommend Bender from Unbound and the Form II from JimmyJane. Bender looks like Gumby and the Form II looks like a bunny. What could be scary about that?

For those especially squeamish around sex toys, Fin from Dame Products is the ultimate toy for beginners. It literally turns your hand into a vibrator, giving you one less thing to think about during playtime. You place the little vibrator between your fingers, and put the strap over them. It doesn’t move and it won’t fall off.

4. Focus on pleasurable exploration.

Got the gear? Great. When you bring the sex toy into bed, keep the play about you and your partner. Verbal encouragement (read: dirty talk) will be your best friend. Tell your partner how good they are making you feel and how turned on you are.

You want the toy to be a part of the experience, not the entire focus of the experience. Be sure to remind your partner how sexy they are and how much you love their penis/vulva/body.

If possible, don’t mention the toy. You can guide your partner’s hand to your hot spots, or simply use the toy on yourself. They want to make you feel good. If they see how much you’re enjoying yourself, they will likely be open to including sex toys as part of the regular routine.

Complete Article HERE!

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Are You Ready for a Sex Toy Revolution?

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By Hallie Lieberman & Maxine Lynn

For 16 years, purveyors of dildos and vibrators have seen their dreams crushed by lawsuits owing to a 2002 patent that covers the fundamental technology behind computer-controlled sex toys. The transgression? Launching their products after the patent went into effect.

Patents have long encouraged creativity by protecting ideas and research from theft and supporting those who spend years developing genuinely novel technologies and designs. Sex too inspires creativity — from positions and styles to external devices — to enhance the experience or to avoid pregnancy. The so-called teledildonics patent, however, has been leaving brilliant inventors frustrated, and all that is about to end. On Aug. 17, the patent will expire, freeing innovative firms to unleash new toys to the market.

Originally obtained by Warren Sandvick and two others in 2002, the patent has twice changed hands. Tzu Technologies, the patent’s current holder, has repeatedly sued or threatened to sue firms that have created technologies ranging from open-source vibrators to remote hand-held devices. Many companies, unable to negotiate license terms (i.e., permission to use the tech covered by the patent), withdrew their plans under financial pressure. Tzu Technologies’ lawyers did not respond to requests for comment.

But with the patent expiring later this month, teledildonics innovators are preparing to bounce back. Soon, London-based MysteryVibe will release an internet-enabled men’s vibrator that doubles as a partner toy. Virtual-reality companies are developing new devices and games as the VR porn space increases in popularity. FookVR is creating a headset that connects vibrating penis sleeves with vibrators and also syncs to the movements of avatars on a screen. And Intimuse, a California-based startup, has developed haptic technologies that re-create the sensation of touch with devices that simulate a penis or a vagina. For years, the company has been designing around the teledildonics patent, says John McCoy, CEO of Intimuse. But not anymore.

These companies also no longer need to worry about the risks two Georgia Tech students faced when, in 2015, they created the Mod, an open-source vibrator that could sync with a partner’s heartbeat, be controlled by a banana or operated with a nipple piercing. Threatened with a lawsuit by Tzu, the students held back their plans. Fresh technologies won’t find themselves mired in courtroom battles that even established companies haven’t been able to avoid. In 2017, for example, Lelo, a Swedish-based company, was sued for its remote-controlled vibrator — as was Hong Kong–based SayberX for its masturbation sleeve.

“Tzu Technologies had a chilling effect on the industry,” says Kyle Machulis, who consulted with Comingle, the company that made the Mod.

The term “teledildonics” was coined 28 years ago by futurist Howard Rheingold to describe sex toys remotely controlled via computer. Today’s teledildonics come in different forms, such as a dildo controlled by an app or a sleeve-style device and a vibrator with the movements of one transmitted to the other — when the vibrator penetrates the vagina, the sleeve automatically squeezes the penis in response.

Patents typically allow creators of a unique and useful invention to protect it for 20 years. It’s a “give-and-take” deal — to encourage people to spend time and resources on the invention of new technologies, the government grants exclusive use to the inventor for a period of time via a patent. But because Tzu and the previous patent owners have had these powers while never manufacturing a sex toy themselves, they’re referred to as “patent trolls” by critics.

One way around the patent was for companies to license it from Tzu, as Dutch firm Kiiroo did, according to news reports. Some have carved out whole new portfolios of patents and patent applications — 67 in all for Intimuse — by working around Tzu’s patent. But that’s arduous and not everyone can afford it.

For small companies, the threat of an “international lawsuit looming over you” is debilitating, the creators of the Mod wrote on their website in February 2016. The costs of defending oneself could be more than a million dollars, they suggested. There was an era when grad students were designing sex toys, and Tzu Technologies put a halt to it, says Machulis, who has created his own open-source sex toy programming software and is a teledildonics blogger.

At least one company successfully fought a lawsuit from Tzu. Kickstarter, the mainstream crowdfunding platform, was sued in 2015 for hosting a crowdfund campaign for a teledildonic device. Kickstarter resisted, and the patent owner quickly capitulated. Many other lawsuits have been settled without the disclosure of terms.

Though most experts view patents as vital to protecting creativity, the expiration of the teledildonics patent may actually spark innovation within the sex toy industry, says David Parisi, an associate professor of emerging media at the College of Charleston. With the patent behind them, “they should be able to devote more resources” to designing innovative devices, he says, “free from the stress and financial drain of defending against overly broad claims of infringement.”

That won’t solve the myriad other challenges the industry continues to face. Just this past May, sex toy–maker and retailer Unbound had to battle New York City’s MTA to be allowed to advertise its products in the subway, even though erectile dysfunction products were already plastered throughout the city’s subway trains. Parisi says the “ongoing stigmatization” of sex tech leaves him suspicious that “we’re on the cusp of some great mainstreaming of teledildonics.” And Machulis worries that other sex-tech patents could replace the challenges the teledildonics patent posed for innovators.

Whether or not Machulis and Parisi are right, the teledildonics patent’s expiration signals a new beginning. Machulis is planning a party to celebrate, and he won’t be alone — the race will once again be on to create the best possible orgasmic experience.

Complete Article HERE!

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From stone dildos to sexbots: how technology is changing sex

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A worker paints make-up on the faces of sex dolls in a factory in China.

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As the TV series Westworld wraps up its second season, the show continues to spark discussion about a potential future that involves lifelike sex robots.

Meanwhile, Australia’s largest adult sexuality and lifestyle expo, SEXPO, is making its way around the country with the theme “Feel the Future” – a nod to all things sex and tech.

But while more lifelike sex dolls are beginning to hit the market, they aren’t the only innovations on the horizon.

What’s next for sex?

The use of technology to enhance sexual pleasure is ancient.

A stone dildo discovered by researchers in a German cave dates back 28,000 years. And sculptures with strong erotic imagery from more than 35,000BC are thought by some scientists to be an early form of pornography.

The main technologies that are likely to be important for developments in sex over the next few years are:

  • Increasing miniaturisation of motors and batteries for stimulation and to simulate human movement,
  • improved touch-based (haptic) interfaces,
  • virtual reality and brain computer interaction,
  • materials development, such as skin that stretches, and
  • artificial intelligence for control and response.

Sex aids

Sex aids for solo or coupled sex remain extremely popular. More natural skin-like covers, ranges of movement, battery life and wireless control are major areas of innovation.

Devices such as the We-Vibe have gone mainstream, and are now sold by Amazon.

But, as with many technologies, hi-tech sex aids have their downsides. The manufacturer of We-Vibe recently settled a class-action law suit following allegations the company breached users privacy by remotely tracking use of the device.

Teledildonics

New technologies can facilitate sex with a partner who is present, a partner who is distant, as well as solo activity. These aspects merge in the field of teledildonics, which involves partners getting together without being together.

Teledildonics is an extension of web-cam or phone sex. Remotely controlled sex toys can be used to facilitate pleasuring a partner when they are not there.

We may see apps like Tinder and Grindr move in this direction, limiting perceived risks associated with physical contact. Sexy Vibes – an alternative to Tinder – already works by turning a phone into a vibrator.

Virtual reality

Since a lot of sexual pleasure is experienced in the brain, advances in virtual reality that make a simulated sexual encounter more realistic and engaging may be more important than anatomically accurate physical devices.

You might be familiar with online games where people change gender, appearance, and even species as they wish. Sex is already relatively common in games such as World of Warcraft, and there are a huge range of sex-games available.

Virtual reality could remove the need to have any link to the real world whatsoever.

Sexbots

Sexual robots that behave like humans are a staple of science fiction. Without going into the ethical questions surrounding their development – which have become the subject of activist campaigns – sexbots to the fictional standard are difficult to make and suffer from the “uncanny valley” effect effect. They are close to human, but noticeably different.

And once you have built a sexbot, you need some way of controlling its behaviour. A distant partner may be one approach, a pre-programmed “digital prostitute” may be another. It is possible to imagine a future where one could personalise a robot using 3D printing and a set of prebuilt responses to appear and act like a particular human being.

Alternatively, advances in machine learning could enable a sexbot to change its behaviour in response to the desires and actions of the user, constructing a completely artificial personality.

Voice interfaces, such as Amazon’s Alexa, are already reliable. Haptic interfaces could be used to stimulate behaviour, along with gesture recognition or even brain-computer interfaces.

It’s possible we may see a future where robots are considered more understanding than humans, encouraging people to share intimate details about themselves more readily.

A sexual response Turing test

The fully fledged sexbot that can be mistaken for a human is still beyond current technology.

Major barriers to this include duplicating the kind of human movement that depends on hundreds of muscles, the development of skin that can feel, and the creation of a nervous system that can respond to stimuli.

Even in ten years time, it is unlikely that the movement and appearance of people could be duplicated unless there is a breakthrough in artificial muscle design and biomimetic materials.

A sexbot that could pass a “sexual response Turing test” – much like Google’s Duplex is able to pass as a human caller – would be much easier to develop in a virtual world.

Beyond pleasure

Some new technologies may have benefits that go beyond just pleasure. These tools might be used to help people with concerned about genital function, appearance or type.

There are already a wide array of prosthetic penises and vaginas, often marketed for transgender people. Adding feeling to function – by using biomimetics and sensory feedback – may make them more acceptable than surgery for some people.

Sex and technology link in many different ways – whether its helps overcome a disability or separation from a loved one, or is simply be a way to increase pleasure and excitement. In the future, physical technologies may be complementary to virtual ones, and fantasy might trump realism in their design and use.

Complete Article HERE!

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A Stylish Vibe For Beginners

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Hey sex fans!

It’s Product Review Friday once again. And, like the last three weeks, you can see them HERE and HERE and HERE, we welcome a new manufacturer to our review effort. This week it’s another German company, OVO Lifestyle Toys.

I’m delighted to welcome back to this review effort one of the founding members of the Dr Dick Review Crew, Joy and her oh so charming wife, Dixie.

F12 Vibrator Fuchsia —— $52.69

Joy & Dixie
Joy: “We’re BACK!”
Dixie: “And we’re back as married ladies. In the near three years that has passed since our last reviews, we got hitched. Joy got down on one knee, no easy task for her, and proposed. After I said, yes, I had to help her to her feet.”
Joy: “So, OK, I’m a romantic at heart, I’m just not built for all the more traditional romantic gestures.”
Dixie: “To tell the truth, not much really changed in our lives after the wedding, but we scored some kick-ass wedding gifts. Joy got some power tools, of course, and I got a load of stuff for the kitchen. We even got a couple of sex toys. All our dyke friends know how much we loves our sex toys.”
Joy: “And ya know what’s better than sex toys? Getting sex toys for free in exchange for doing reviews here on Dr Dick Sex Advice and Dr Dick Sex Toy Reviews.”
Dixie: “Which brings us to why we are here today. We’re here to tell you about the F12 Vibrator Fuchsia from OVO Lifestyle Toys. Here it is in all its handsomeness.”
Joy: “Or, here SHE is in all her beauty.”
Dixie: “You say tomato, I say tomahto.”
Joy: “I want to start our introduction with the packaging, if that’s alright with you. F12 Vibrator Fuchsia comes in a nice gift package. But my first thought was…are you kidding me with the name? Fuchsia if fine; it is, after all, the color of the thing. But F12?? You gotta be kidding me. Someone is falling down in the creative department, if you ask me.”
Dixie: “I second that. But, you’re right the box is nice.”
Joy: “The packaging consists of a white embossed slip-sleeve featuring a full-sized image of F12 Vibrator Fuchsia. The outer sleeve tells you just about everything you need to know about the vibe inside. It has four programs, three speeds, a contoured texture, it’s waterproof, it’s battery operated, and it comes with a 15-year warranty. Under the slip-sleeve is the pearl grey box that claps shut with magnets. Inside that there’s a black and clear plastic clamshell insert sorta deal that holds the vibe in place. It’s attractive without being ostentatious. There’s also a OVO product catalog and ‘quick start guide’ included.”
Dixie: The F12 Vibrator Fuchsia vibe is covered in a luscious, high-quality, latex-free, nonporous, phthalate-free, and hypoallergenic silicone. Silicone is our material of choice for insertables. But don’t forget you must always use a water-based lube with a silicone toy like the F12. A silicone-based lube would mar the finish. The F12 comes in just this one color, as far as I know, but it has some nice gold detailing.”

Joy: “Like I just said the F12 has four vibrating programs and three speeds. The vibrations are the buzzy kind not the rumbling kind. The two-button control panel is easy to handle and operate. There’s an on/off button under the silicone skin. The “+ and -” button accelerates the speed through its five settings. And it is remarkably quiet.”
Dixie: “The F12 is about nine inches long. The insertable portion is about six inches long. It’s a pretty traditional shape for an insertable, but the contours are nice.”
Joy: “I can’t help but thinking how retro the F12 is. I mean it’s battery operated for god’s sake. I can’t even remember the last toy we reviewed that was battery operated.”
Dixie: “But it’s waterproof, so there’s that. And come to think of it, there are probably lots of women, particularly older women, who may not have the capacity or the know-how to use a USB recharger.”
Joy: “I hear ya. That is actually a really good point. And the fact that F12 is waterproof makes it perfect for bath time. And who doesn’t like to get off in the bath?”
Dixie: “Because it is made of silicone and its fully waterproof it’s so easy to clean. Mild soap and warm water does just fine for everyday cleaning. But you can also wipe it down with a lint-free towel moistened with peroxide, rubbing alcohol or a 10% bleach solution to sanitize for sharing. And it should be shared!”
Joy: “The packaging states that the F12 is ‘curved for added g-spot pleasure’. I know that g-spot pleasuring is a real buzz word (you should pardon the pun) in vibes these days, but I’m gonna challenge OVO on this claim. I think there’s not nearly enough curve to the F12 to make it an effective g-spot vibe.”
Dixie: “I totally agree with Joy. At the same time, one size or one shape does not fit all! Each of our bodies is different; what will work for me, won’t work for Joy and visa versa. There are so many variables — insertable length, curve of the shaft, and on and on.”
Joy: “Exactly! I have another quarrel with the promotional materials of F12. The claim the F12 is ‘earth-shatteringly powerful’. I beg to differ! While the F12 has many nice features; take it from me, it is most assuredly not ‘earth-shatteringly powerful’. The F12 doesn’t really have enough oomph to get me off. But then again, I am not the intended audience for the F12. I’m thinking the F12 is geared toward a woman, or a couple new to sex toys.”
Dixie: “And I can’t recommend the F12 for butt play either. There isn’t a flared base on it to make it safe for anal play. So all you guys and gals out there experimenting with anal sex, you’ll have to look elsewhere for a pleasure product.”
Joy: “Let’s recap, shall we? F12 is body-safe, healthy, waterproof, moderately powerful, and super quiet.”
Dixie: “When we were working on this review we searched the net for info about the F12. One of the things we discovered is that there is a wide price range for this product. We saw it for as little as $35 and as expensive as $50. I don’t know what accounts for that disparity, but I encourage you to shop around if you plan to buy.”

Full Review HERE!

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A Crescendo of High-Tech

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Hey sex fans!

It’s Product Review Friday once again. And, like last week, we welcome a new manufacturer to our review effort. This week it’s another amazing British company, Mystery Vibe.  (Holy Cow, what’s going on in the UK that is making it the new center for innovative adult products? Whatever it is, everyone here at Dr Dick Sex Advice and Dr Dick Sex Toy Reviews is stoked about it.)

I’m also delighted to welcome back two of our veteran reviewers for this special assignment, Kevin & Gina.

Crescendo —— $179.00

Kevin & Gina
Gina: “Well, this feels pretty familiar, but a little odd too. I can’t believe we are back on the Dr Dick Review Crew. How did that happen? I thought we swore off these reviews years ago.”
Kevin: “To quote Michael Corleone: ‘Just when I thought I was out; they keep pulling me back in.’ But you have to admit, we did miss this mess a little bit, didn’t we?”
Gina: “I guess so. No, that’s not true. I really missed it. I didn’t miss reviewing the same old stuff over and over again. That was boring as shit! But I think we both missed reviewing products that, one could immediately see, have been designed and manufactured by creative people thinking outside the box. In fact, we both said that we would rather review those products, even if those products didn’t quite hit the mark, than review something less creative and innovative.”
Kevin: “So true! I have so much more respect for people who try something different and unique, even if it fails; than I do for people cranking out more of the same old same old.”
Gina: “So when Dr Dick asked us if we would ever consider coming back to the Review Crew he was smart enough to wave something irresistible in front of us.
Kevin: “To paraphrase Michael Corleone: ‘He made us an offer we couldn’t refuse.’”
Gina: “So here we are back in the bosom of the Review Crew after a nearly three year absence so we can bring you something really remarkable. Check out Crescendo from Mystery Vibe. They say it’s the world’s first body-adapting vibrator. I guess we’ll just have to see about that.

Kevin: “To quote Michael Corleone again: ‘I respect those that tell me the truth, no matter how hard that is.’”
Gina: “Is that all you’re gonna do today? I mean I love your Al Pacino, but this is just too nutty.”
Kevin: “To quote Michael Corleone: ‘Never let anyone know what you are thinking.’ OK, OK, I think I got that out of my system for now. Before Gina tells you about the vibe itself I want to comment on the packaging. Crescendo come in a sleek, sophisticated, and elegant gift box. Gold embossed black slipcover covers a beautiful textured box, also in black and gold. Inside the box you will find a black quilted storage bag secured with a tasteful black embossed ribbon, a USB cord, the charging stand or dock, and the striking Crescendo itself. All the packaging is recyclable. If first impressions are important, this packaging certainly got our attention.”

Gina: “As stylish as the packaging is, that’s only the beginning. Here are some of the highlights of the Crescendo itself. First, it’s 9 inches in length and has a maximum diameter of 1.75 inches. Second, it’s bendable; there are three joints that enable you to shape it so that you can use it in different ways. Both women and men will be able to enjoy this vibe alone or with a partner. There are an astonishing number of vibration patterns programmed into the toy when you first take it out of the package, 12 to be precise. There are also 16 power levels for each pattern. You can increase/decrease one step at a time or use the jump function to leap to the highest or lowest settings instantly. Crescendo saves the last pattern you were using so that when you resume your pleasuring it’s right where you left it. And get this, it has six different motors; can you believe that? Four motors in the middle of the toy and two higher intensity motors at either end of the toy.”
Kevin: “I want to say a bit more about Crescendo’s bendability because this is what makes it so damned innovative. It can be easily shaped and positioned into several shapes making it ideal for a whole range of pleasuring. When Gina is using it as an insertable, she curves the tip towards the front wall of her vagina to get amazing g-spot sensations. She can also fold it into a U-shape so that she can get both internal and external pleasure. It’s even wearable. We use it in an S-shape for mind-blowing oral sex. When it’s my turn, I bend it around my dick. I can use it as a stroker or as a cradle. Don’t forget your balls and taint (perineum). You can sit on it with the tip curled up to pleasure your butthole, which is totally awesome. The only thing you can’t do is use the Crescendo as an anal dildo. It doesn’t have a secure flared base that would prevent the toy from slipping up your ass. Oh, and don’t try to bend it side-to-side either.”

Gina: “Charging the Crescendo is so easy. You simply place it onto the USB charging stand or dock. However, you need to place it just right (luckily, directions are included in the package). Once you’ve found the sweet spot the light on the vibe will start to blink indicating it’s charging. A full charge takes about an about 1 hour. When Crescendo is ready to go the blinking stops and the light remains solid. We got about two hours of non-stop play at full intensity on a single charge. All the buttons are lighted too for your convenience.”
Kevin: “The Crescendo is covered is covered in a velvety, latex-free, nonporous, phthalate-free, and hypoallergenic silicone. And because it is waterproof and made of silicone it’s a breeze to clean. Submerge it into the skink with mild soap and warm water and scrub it down a bit. Then let it air dry. Or you can just wipe it down with a lint-free towel moistened with peroxide, rubbing alcohol or a 10% bleach solution to sanitize it for sharing. And because Crescendo is also 100% waterproof, it’s the ideal toy for bath or shower.”

Gina: “Make sure you use only a water-based lubricant with Crescendo. I suppose some of the newer silicone-hybrid lubes might work too, but I would be careful and do a test patch first. You wouldn’t want to mar the beautiful silicone skin. Oh, and get this: there is a one year warranty from the date of purchase, as long as you have register your toy on Mystery Vibe website.”
Kevin: “Besides all of this good stuff there’s even an app for Crescendo. This will surely make all of our techie friends squeal with delight. I mean this is the height of high-tech sex toys. Go to your app store, download the Crescendo app, and follow the prompts. We discovered that the app wanted to update Crescendo’s firmware first. Once that was done we had access to dozens of pre-programed vibration patterns and we can customize our own patterns too.”
Gina: “I want to make another comment about Crescendo’s shape-shifting capacity. Bend it to suit your need or position and it stays in shape during play, even with vigorous activity.”

Kevin: “I found the buttons a little difficult to manage, my fingers are just too big. The buttons can also get pretty slippery when Crescendo is all lubed up, so there’s that.”
Gina: “Here’s something interesting. I was showing the Crescendo to an older friend of mine because I know how much she likes her vibrators. She is nearly sixty-nine, but very spry. I only mention her age because I think Crescendo might be a little too technically advanced for seniors. So, as I was going on and on about how great Crescendo is; showing her how it bends, even showing her the app, she got a dismayed look on her face and said, ‘It’s very beautiful and I can see why you like it so much, but it’s just way too complicated for me.”
Kevin: “I hope our toys don’t get so technically advanced that we leave older folks behind. That would be a real shame.”
Gina: “I also want to comment on the vibrations. Despite the zillions of patterns and speeds, the vibrations are more of the buzzy type rather than the deep rumble type that some women crave. I know each person has her own preferences along this line and no one vibe will be perfect for every one, so I thought I would mention that for those who might have a preference. ”

Kevin: “Gina and I liked just about everything about Crescendo. I was sold on the innovative design, it being rechargeable, and waterproof.”

Full Review HERE!

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5 Reasons The Sex Toy Market Is Failing The Needs Of Seniors

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By Lisa S. Lawless

Yes, older women want pleasure, too!

Sex toys are quite popular these days, but there are a few challenges that people over the age of 50 may be having with them. First, let’s get past the old myth that age has anything to do with one’s sexuality. Seniors are usually open to sex toys and have a healthy sexual desire. In fact, most people find their desire for sex and involvement in sexual activity continue as they age.

However, there are a few issues seniors are having when it comes to buying sex toys.

Here are 5 issues that seniors might run into when buying sex toys:

1. Sex toys are getting more technologically advanced and confusing.

Sex toys have been getting more and more advanced, and it is not uncommon to find such high-tech features as Bluetooth compatibility, multiple speeds, various functions, and remote controls that can be operated through your smartphone — not to mention the apps that allow users to create specialized vibration settings.

With basic knowledge in technology required for some of these new adult novelties, many seniors are finding it overwhelming when trying to find just a simple, quality sex toy. Often, they are left more confused when pursuing them than when they began.

2. New toys often require USB ports to charge them.

Many sex toys no longer feature the old fashioned batteries and plug-in chargers and are coming with USB charging technology.

They are less expensive than plug-in chargers to produce and they allow manufacturers to make only one model rather than having to do various models for different electrical outlets outside of the USA. However, many seniors who order sex toys are sometimes surprised when their sex toy arrives with a USB cord and may be unsure of how they are supposed to charge it.

While USB charging is becoming more common across all industries, it can leave some seniors wondering how they get a USB adapter or even what one is.

3. They’re not often ergonomic.

With new technology allowing sex toys to be more compact and artistic in design it sometimes means not being easy to hold especially for those who have arthritis or mobility issues.

There are some sex toy holders and pillows that can help hold toys in place, but those seniors who have such concerns may find it difficult to know how much trouble they might have holding or maneuvering a sex toy without having to buy it first.

4. Their designs can be confusing.

With many of the new sex toys looking more and more like sculptures and less like the human anatomy, it can be difficult for seniors to get an idea of what goes where and how a sex toy is going to stimulate themselves and/or their partner.

Some retail descriptions offer a lot of hype but fail to explain how sex toys specifically work, what parts stimulate the body and instructions on how to use a product.

5. Sex terminologies have changed.

With sex toy retailers using terms like “dils” instead of dildos or phalluses, and “love rings” instead of “cockrings” or “penis rings,” some seniors are having a hard time catching up with the terminology that is being used. Many are not aware that some sex toys contain toxins and why the terms body-safe and phthalate free are so important.

With changing terminology, it can make it difficult for seniors to articulate what type of products they are looking for let alone understand what is available to them.

One beneficial change in the modern era, however, is senior sex toy support!

On the bright side, with sexual wellness education available through quality sex educators, it is easy for seniors to find helpful articles and customer service representatives to become educated about these topics and learn how sex toys can not only provide pleasure but also increase sexual health and intimacy with their partner.

Complete Article HERE!

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7 Tips for Introducing Sex Toys to Your shy Partner

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Trust and vulnerability are required for this experimental play.

by

[T]he very first time I remember seeing a sex toy was at a “Passion Party” hosted in the apartment of one of my college friends. The entire event was incredibly awkward and I remember doing my best to just relax and have fun. We played games where we talked openly about our sex lives and previous sexcapades.

Throughout the party, different toys were described and passed around for each of the attendees to get a little hand only experience. The entire soiree was filled with nervous giggles and an almost palpable sexual electricity.

Towards the end of the party, we were given little ordering sheets of paper and were instructed to walk past a table with each toy laid out on display. I remember being so nervous to make a choice and even more nervous if I were to choose one that had to be delivered to my apartment where I lived with my high school sweetheart at the time.

I breathed a sigh of relief when the small purple vibrator I choose was the last one the party rep had in stock and available to take home. I left the event with giddiness and an excitement I hadn’t yet felt before.

Interestingly, those positives were countered by slight thoughts that yielded shame as well. I grew up in a Catholic environment and I always struggled with the idea of self-pleasure, sex used as a means for pleasure, sex outside of marriage and orgasm through means other than my spouse.

I also knew that if I wanted to bring my new purchase into the bedroom with my partner, I would have to get over more than just how to figure out which way the batteries went.

Since that time in my life, my how things have changed. Now, sex and sexuality empowerment and exploration is a fabric of my being and what I spend most of my days helping people with. I can’t help but relive a portion of the story above every time I have conversations with clients and friends who are looking to play with sex toys of any sort for the first time.

If my first experiences, with even the most basic toys, were awkward and slightly shame-filled, I can only imagine there are plenty of other people out there who are just as shy to the idea.

◊♦◊

Sharing from personal experience and from the experience of some of the people I have worked with, here are a few good things to know when considering adding sexy playthings into some of your sexy time.

  1. Sex toys are meant to aid in your sexual pleasure not replace your partner. If your partner makes a suggestion for the addition or exploration of sex toys, it does not mean you are not pleasing them. If anything, that is a sign that your partner trusts you enough to be vulnerable while in the midst of a very sacred, personal act.
  2. Make your decision based off of a conversation. I suggest creating a sex toy “want, will, won’t” list so you can determine your comfort level and your boundaries along with the comfort level and boundaries for your partner. Once you have a better understanding of dynamics and preferences you can make an informed sex toy purchase. Toys can be used for all sorts of play. It’s best to create your lists with open communication. Maybe take the BDSM Test at www.bdsmtest.org to help with your decision.
  3. I suggest your first sex toy purchase include a blind fold for sensory deprivation. This enhances other active senses and can make the person who is blindfolded feel less exposed when play time begins, while the person learning to give pleasure through sex toy play has the opportunity to relax and explore without eyes on them the entire time.
  4. Have a safe word and when playtime begins and continues communicating. Tell your partner when something feels good and when something does not. I find that a blindfold helps with the comfort level around keeping communication free flowing as well.
  5. All sex toys are not created equal. Choose toys that are made of high quality, non-toxic material.
    Some toys are waterproof and some are not. Make sure to check before you play, just in case your sexy session decides to change environments.
  6. Knowing about the toy does not take the fun out of it! The more information you get on sex toys that interest you, the easier it is to enjoy the experiences that include them.
  7. Get help where you need it if you are dealing with sexual shame from any area of your life.
    I needed to heal from shame surrounding my faith and regarding the lack of healthy sex related information provided to me while growing up.Step one is identifying the problem areas and then gaining assistance and support in healing from wounds that exist in those areas.

There are plenty of resources available and people like myself and other sex experts that specialize in sex education and step one is identifying the problem areas and then gaining assistance and support in healing from wounds that exist in those areas. There are plenty of resources available and people like myself and other sex experts that specialize in sex education and sexuality empowerment that can assist you on your journey. When you treat the core area of discomfort and/or pain, adding things like sex toys into your life can lead to magical, orgasmic experiences.

◊♦◊

Sex toys can be a fun way to spice things up in the bedroom, but they can also be a way to further connect with yourself and your partner.

Understand that sometimes things don’t go according to plan and choose to laugh when things go a little different to your expectations. Always give certain toys and instances a second chance and remember to breathe and be present.

Sex is fun and pleasure is good for you.

Complete Article HERE!

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How Lube, Dildos And Dilators Are Helping Cancer Survivors Enjoy Sex After Treatment

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Tamika Felder, a cervical cancer survivor, founded the nonprofit Cervivor to help fellow survivors navigate the jagged path back to sexual health.

By

“I don’t know if readers are ready for what I’ve got to say!” Tamika Felder chuckles over the phone. “I just don’t think they’re ready.”

If you’re a cancer survivor, you should be, because Felder, 42, is an intimacy advocate who dedicates her life to helping cancer survivors navigate the oftentimes brutal path back to sex and pleasure. She was diagnosed with cervical cancer at 25, and spent the next year getting chemotherapy, radiation and a radical hysterectomy. She wound up with “bad radiation burns from front to back” as well as vagina atrophy, shrinkage and dryness, all of which led to painful sex.

“I knew at 25 this just couldn’t be it for me. I knew I wanted to have sex again, and I wanted to have good sex again,” she says. “It takes time, but it’s absolutely possible.”

Felder founded Cervivor, a nonprofit that educates patients and survivors of cervical cancer. She also works with both women and men struggling to regain their sexuality and intimacy post-treatment. Many survivors aren’t aware that there are items, exercises and treatments that can help them. Felder spoke with Newsweek about what people can do to experience pleasure again, even if it’s different than it used to be.

What exactly do you do?
I am not a doctor, I’m patient-turned-advocate who is passionate about the total life beyond cancer—and that includes the sensual side. Cancer treatments are saving our lives, but they’re also damaging our lives. I knew one guy who had to have his penis removed. That’s a life-saving surgery but how do you help that patient navigate life after? I’ve counseled women who survived gynecological cancer, whose vaginal canals meshed so close together that their doctor can’t even fit a speculum inside. What does that do for the quality of life for a woman like that? You have to offer alternatives! Maybe she can’t have penetration through the vaginal canal, but I expect the medical community—her hospital or cancer center—to help her navigate to a good quality of life. Because part of a good quality of life beyond cancer is your sexual self. Doctors have to talk more freely about that.

What if they don’t?
If your clinical team doesn’t raise the concern with you, you need to speak up. Email them or call them on the phone if it’s too hard to do it face-to-face. Find your voice. If something is not functioning the same way or how you think it should be functioning, speak up.

Now that you’ve identified a problem, what are some of the ways to deal with it?
Dilators: Whether you have a partner or it’s all about self love, dilators are important because they stretch out your vagina. Start with a small size dilator and move up. If you need something more, take a field trip to a toy store and get different sized dildos and vibrators. With some cancers, if you don’t use your dilators, your vaginal canal—or whatever is left of it—can close back up, so it’s important to follow those suggestions. Other people think, If I’m not dating now it’s not an issue. No! You need to deal with it now so when you’re intimate with another person you can be ready. Practice makes perfect.

Lubrication: If you’ve had any type of gynecological cancer, lube is going to be your best friend. After chemotherapy and especially radiation, your vagina can be very dry. Women deal with it as we age, but radiation causes you to go into menopause early. For cervical cancer, not only do you have external radiation but also internal radiation. Lube is important when you become sexually active again, because your body isn’t producing moisture on its own. Otherwise you’ll have abrasive sex—it will hurt to enter the vaginal walls.

You have to find out what works for you. Coconut oil is perfect for putting in your vagina and using as lube. A little goes a long way. I also like Zestra, an arousal oil. It’s a natural lubricant. For women who may have slow libidos, you put it on your clitoris and labia and experience what some people call a tingling experience. They call it the “Zestra Rush.” It’s a slow progression of warming up and you’re like, Oh! It still works!

Pocket Rockets or Lipstick Vibrators: These bring blood flow back to the vulva. I don’t care if you’re a southern Baptist from the Bible Belt, I want you to get a pocket rocket and take it with you when you travel and use that sucker so it can help the blood flow. There are lots of fun toys out there that can help. My favorite one is the Ultimate Beaver. Order discreetly online or take a fun field trip to an adult toy store.

Mona Lisa Touch: There are new therapeutic procedures, like the Mona Lisa touch laser treatment, that helps with vaginal rejuvenation. If you’re a reality TV fan like myself, you might think, it sounds like what the Real Housewives do! It’s not just something that rich people do. In many cases, insurance won’t cover it, but we’ve seen with the right doctor and the right type of letter, they’ve gotten insurance to cover it. Or, you may find a doctor willing to donate or discount services. Take a chance and write them, saying, “This is what happened to my vagina after cancer, and this is how you can help.”

Pay Attention to Pain: Make sure you heal properly. You may have healed on the outside but it doesn’t mean you’re healed internally. If you’re properly healed but still experience pain, have a conversation with your doctor.

What pitfalls should people be aware of?
A lot of people focus on what their body was like before cancer. I hate to say, “You have to give that up,” but you do in order to move forward. Your body has changed. Your objective shouldn’t be an orgasm, because maybe your body won’t do that again. It pains me to know that women have vaginal canals that have closed and they’re just living a life where they think they can’t have pleasure stimulated vaginally anymore. It’s not fair. They weren’t given the resources to help them along the way.

How did you redefine sex and intimacy for yourself?
In my own eyes and my husband’s eyes, I’m a perfect 10, but if I’m walking down the street, I don’t look like the magazine covers. I’m a plus size woman but I do love myself. It starts with that. Part of the homework I give men and women— When you look at yourself, tell me what you see. They always start out with the negative. I’ve never had anyone, no matter the age group, in all my cancer talk about sex and intimacy, who’s started with anything good. So I flipped it: Tell me what you love about yourself? You can go get these toys and procedures, but at the end of the day, the true pleasure comes from how you feel about yourself. That’s going to make your sexual self stronger. I’m not saying, don’t go for pleasure, but it really is how you feel about yourself.

Where can people go for more help?
Sites like Memorial Sloan Kettering and Dana Farber have amazing resources. Find out if your cancer center has a program to help cancer patients reclaim their sensual side, like this one at Dana Farber. Or find someone in your local area through the American Society of Sex Educators, Counselors and Therapists.

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