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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.

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“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.

Complete Article HERE!

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Map reveals the most popular sex toys in every state.

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Conservatives love butt plugs. This compelling kink fact, among many others, was recently given the visually appealing map treatment by the kind folks over at Kink.com. The website, self-described as the largest producer of BDSM and fetish entertainment on Earth, used sales data from their online store and product line to figure out each of the 50 states’ preferred sex toy.

“Adult companies are able to provide an honest, unique, and broad-based look at sex and sexuality, based on what users actually do and buy, rather than what they tell researchers,” Mike Stabile, Kink.com spokesperson said in an emailed statement. “Using our data, we looked at the top selling toys in each of the fifty states, to try and determine what really drives people sexually in different areas of the country.”

Mississippi and Louisiana were revealed to favor plugs and related prostate massagers, an admirable preference. Liberal states, meanwhile, tended to rock with electro-stimulation devices. Elsewhere, Maryland is a big fan of pumping the peen while Ohio rides with hoods and other mask-like attire.

Peep the full map below:

But where in this divided nation is kink truly reigning supreme? In their 2017 Kink State of the Union address, the Kink.com team declared Los Angeles—home of many a dungeon—the kinkiest city in the country. “With its endless sprawl, LA contains (vast, anonymous, tatted) multitudes,” a spokesperson said when announcing the top 10. “It’s [the] home of Dungeon West, Sanctuary Studios, Stockroom, and Doc Johnson, as well as hundreds of smaller play spaces and parties. All this with half the population of New York. Meaning LA isn’t just kinkier, it’s packed tighter. And who doesn’t like it tight?” I see what you did there.

Complete Article HERE!

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Pleasuring Pleasure Ring

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Hey sex fans!

It’s Product Review Friday once again. And this week we have another product from the German company, OVO Lifestyle Toys.

To keep track of all our OVO Lifestyle Toy reviews, here’s what you do. Use the search function in the header of DrDickSexToyReviews.com, type in OVO, and PRESTO!

Dr Dick Review Crew members, Jack & Karen, are here to show us around.

OVO A1 Cockring —— $28.50

Jack & Karen
Karen: “There sure are a lot of vibrating cockrings on the market these days.”
Jack: “I know, it’s like totally crazy. Just a couple of weeks ago our colleagues, Ken and Denise reviewed the Pivot by We-Vibe.”
Karen: “I guess this proliferation must mean that sex toy designers are finally getting the message that women need clitoral stimulation during penetrative sex.”
Jack: “And they think cockrings are the way to deliver that much needed stimulation. I mean, a guy’s gonna want to wear a cockring to support his erection, right? Why not add some kind of bullet vibe to make the clitoral stimulation hands-free? It would be a win-win for both partners, right?”
Karen: “The problem, of course, is the ring doesn’t stay in contact with the clit during thrusting. Am I right or am I right?”

Jack: “Right. But before we get too far ahead of ourselves, let’s start at the beginning…with the packaging. OVO packages their A1 Cockring in a handsome minimalist white cardboard box. The box features an image of the A1 Cockring and the USB charging cable. They want you to know from the get-go that the A1 Cockring is rechargeable. Inside the box is the ring itself, the USB charger cable, and an illustrated card showing how to charge and operate the ring. There’s a warranty registration card too. The A1 Cockring has a sleek modern design. It comes in both black and white. Ours is white.”
Karen: “The A1 Cockring is made of soft and somewhat stretchy silicone. Silicone is my favorite toy material. There’s an ABS-plastic covered motor unit nestled on the top of the ring.”
Jack: “The motor unit detaches from the cock ring so you can recharge it. The charging cable plugs into the underside of this motor unit. Once charged the motor unit slips back into the silicone ring. This forms a seal, of sorts, making the ring showerproof, but definitely not waterproof. The tiny light on the motor unit blinks when charging and remains solid when completely charged.”

Karen: “The vibrations are on the buzzy side of things as opposed to the rumbling kind. It also features 7 vibration patterns. You cycle through the patterns by pressing the tiny button on the motor unit. This button also serves as an on/off button. Here’s a tip; turn the thing on and find the vibration pattern you like before you start your play. Trying to adjust the settings while in motion, so to speak, is difficult because the button is so small. And with lubed up fingers…fogetaboutit.”
Jack: “I have one quarrel with the one size fits all cockring concept. Simply put, there’s no such thing!”
Karen: “My Jack is a BIG boy, if ya know what I mean. Watching him trying to fit the A1 Cockring around his willie was painful, not just for him but for me. Even with water-based lube, there was not enough give to the silicone and just too much constriction. But I guess, if you’re more of an average size you wouldn’t have such problems. OK, you already know that the A1 Cockring is rechargeable, since Jack mentioned the USB charger cable. Well, a 60 minute charge will give you about 30 minutes of playtime. That’s not a whole lot, if you ask me.”
Jack: “I wound up not wearing the A1 Cockring on my cock, but I did wear it around a couple of my fingers with ease. Once I did that I could pleasure Karen consistently without the vibe bouncing on and off her clit like if I were thrusting inside her.”
Karen: “Yeah, this was way better than it’s original purpose. I also tried it with a glass dildo I have. I like the filled-up feeling the dildo gave me and I could grind the A1 Cockring against my clit and keep it in place for as long as I needed.”

Jack: “Because the A1 Cockring isn’t waterproof cleaning it is a bit more challenging than if it were. We detached the vibrator part from the silicone ring, like if we were going to recharge it. The silicone ring is super easy to clean. You can submerge it in mild soap and warm water for general cleanup. Or 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. But you have to be more careful with the bullet vibe part. There’s no submerging it. But you can wipe it down as I just mentioned.”
Karen: “Remember, you can only use a water-based lube with a silicone toy like this. A silicone-based lube would mar the finish, and you certainly don’t want that.”

Complete Article HERE!

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Pivot to Pleasure

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Hey sex fans!

It’s Product Review Friday once again.

This week we have another wonderful product from our good friends over at We-Vibe. As you probably know, they have been part of this review effort since 2008 when we reviewed our first product of their line. Since then we’ve happily reviewed plenty of their other products.

To keep track of all our reviews of the amazing products coming from We-Vibe, use the search function in the sidebar of DrDickSexToyReviews.com, type in We-Vibe, and PRESTO!

Here to show us around are Dr Dick Review Crew members, Denise & Ken.

The Pivot by We-Vibe —— $61.03

Denise & Ken
Ken: “After a very long hiatus, Denise and I are back with the Review Crew.”
Denise: “That’s right, we signed on for more. After we got the word that Dr Dick was going revive the Crew, we wanted back in. But, we were in the middle of a move when he made the announcement and then I got knocked up…thanks KEN!! So this is our first opportunity to post a review.”
Ken: “Today we bring you a product from one our favorite companies, We-Vibe. The last time we reviewed one of their products was way back in May, 2014. Damn, that’s nearly four years ago!”
Denise: “Yep, here is Pivot by We-Vibe. As you can probably tell from just looking at it, it’s a vibrating cockring. These things are all the rage these days. I think the Review Crew has reviewed at least four if not more of these things over the years. If you know anything about We-Vibe, you can probably also guess that they will take the concept of a vibrating cockring and max it out. Pivot is both classy and well made. And like all of We-Vibe’s toys lately Pivot is app controllable. We’ll get into that in a minute.”

Ken: “Pivot is made of a silky blue silicone. There is a little magnetic plate in the tip where the USB charger connects. Silicone, rechargeable, and waterproof, what more could one want? Magnetic charging ports are great if you can iron out the cable. This took some doing at first. The cable kept disconnecting from the port until if figured out that if I weighed down the cable, so it wouldn’t disconnect, I’d get a solid connection.”
Denise: “So here’s the deal; I need clitoral stimulation in order to cum. While fucking is nice and all, penetration alone won’t get me off. That’s why I always have a vibrator near to hand when Ken’s inside me. So when I first heard about vibrating cockrings, I thought, holy shit that’ll be the ideal solution to my vibration needs during penetration. I’d finally get a hands free way to get off; problem solved! Unfortunately, I failed to take into consideration that while thrusting, the vibrating cockring loses contact with my clit. DAMN!”
Ken: “I didn’t think of that either, but don’t lose heart. We’ll have more to say about that in a bit. The business end of Pivot, where the vibe is, is at 3” in length, 2” in width and about 1.25.” thick. The hole of cock ring itself is approximately 1.25” in diameter unstretched. Just so you know, this is the kind of cockring that just fits around your dick, don’t think you’re going to stretch it around your balls too. And if your cock is thicker than average, say more than 5” you’re in for a super snug fit. Despite the fact that the silicone does stretch, I found Pivot too snug for me.”

Denise: “Let’s get back to the app. If you have a smart phone or tablet, you can download We-Connect for free, and use it to control your Pivot. Or your partner can control it, even if they aren’t in the same room as you or even in the same city. That’s the funnest part, if you ask me.”
Ken: “I think the app is absolutely necessary. While there is a button on the ring itself that will turn it on and off and cycle through the 10 different vibration modes, the button is tiny. And lube will make it really slippery so the button is really hard to press. The app, on the other hand, lets you play around with the settings in a more visual way. You won’t have stop the action and try to find the button on Pivot itself.”
Denise: “We’d better remind everyone that you can only use a water-based lube with a silicone toy like this.”
Ken: “Because I found Pivot too snug for me to wear, I decided to use it on a dildo. That way I could pleasure Denise, or she could pleasure herself while keeping the vibration constant on her clit. The vibration is both powerful and rumbly, just like we like it.”

Denise: “Yeah, when I use Pivot attached to a dildo I’m able to do more of a grinding motion as opposed to thrusting, which maintains more constant contact with my clit. And I leave the app manipulation to Ken.”
Ken: “I can slip Pivot over a couple of my fingers when I’m jerking off. And I leave the app manipulation to Denise.”

Full Review HERE!

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The Sex Toy Shops That Switched On a Feminist Revolution

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The “White Cross Electric Vibrator Girl” as pictured in a 1911 Health and Beauty catalog.

BUZZ
The Stimulating History of the Sex Toy
By Hallie Lieberman
Illustrated. 359 pp. Pegasus Books. $26.95.

VIBRATOR NATION
How Feminist Sex-Toy Stores Changed the Business of Pleasure
By Lynn Comella
278 pp. Duke University Press. $25.95.

Think back, for a moment, to the year 1968. Martin Luther King Jr. and Bobby Kennedy were assassinated. The Beatles released the “White Album.” North Vietnam launched the Tet offensive. And American women discovered the clitoris. O.K., that last one may be a bit of an overreach, but 1968 was when “The Myth of the Vaginal Orgasm,” a short essay by Anne Koedt, went that era’s version of viral. Jumping off of the Masters and Johnson bombshell that women who didn’t climax during intercourse could have multiple orgasms with a vibrator, Koedt called for replacing Freud’s fantasy of “mature” orgasm with women’s lived truth: It was all about the clitoris. That assertion single-handedly, as it were, made female self-love a political act, and claimed orgasm as a serious step to women’s overall emancipation. It also threatened many men, who feared obsolescence, or at the very least, loss of primacy. Norman Mailer, that famed phallocentrist, raged in his book “The Prisoner of Sex” against the emasculating “plenitude of orgasms” created by “that laboratory dildo, that vibrator!” (yet another reason, beyond the whole stabbing incident, to pity the man’s poor wives).

To be fair, Mailer & Co. had cause to quake. The quest for sexual self-knowledge, as two new books on the history and politics of sex toys reveal, would become a driver of feminist social change, striking a blow against men’s overweening insecurity and the attempt (still with us today) to control women’s bodies. As Lynn Comella writes in “Vibrator Nation,” retailers like Good Vibrations in San Francisco created an erotic consumer landscape different from anything that previously existed for women, one that was safe, attractive, welcoming and ultimately subversive, presenting female sexual fulfillment as “unattached to reproduction, motherhood, monogamy — even heterosexuality.”

As you can imagine, both books (which contain a great deal of overlap) are chockablock with colorful characters, starting with Betty Dodson, the Pied Piper of female onanism, who would often personally demonstrate — in the nude — how to use a vibrator to orgasm during her early sexual consciousness-raising workshops in New York. I am woman, hear me roar indeed.

Back in the day, though, attaining a Vibrator of One’s Own was tricky. The leering male gaze of the typical “adult” store was, at best, off-putting to most women. Amazon, where sex toys, like fresh produce, are just a mouse click away, was still a glimmer in Jeff Bezos’ eye. Enter Dell Williams, who after being shamed by a Macy’s salesclerk while checking out a Hitachi Magic Wand, founded in 1974 the mail order company Eve’s Garden. That was quickly followed by Good Vibrations, the first feminist sex toy storefront; it’s great fun to read the back story of Good Vibes’ late founder, Joani Blank, along with radical “sexperts” like Susie Bright and Carol Queen.
Continue reading the main story

The authors of “Vibrator Nation” and “Buzz” each put in time observing how sex toys are sold, so have firsthand insight into the industry. Whose take will hold more appeal depends on the reader’s interests: In “Buzz,” Hallie Lieberman offers a broader view, taking us back some 30,000 years, when our ancestors carved penises out of siltstone; moving on to the ancient Greeks’ creative use of olive oil; the buzzy medical devices of the 19th century (disappointingly, doctors’ notorious in-office use of vibrators as treatment for female “hysteria” is urban legend); and the impact of early-20th-century obscenity laws — incredibly, sex toys remain illegal in Alabama — before digging deeply into more contemporary influences. In addition to feminist retailers, Lieberman braids in stories of men like Ted Marche, whose family business — employing his wife and teenage children — began by making prosthetic strap-ons for impotent men; Gosnell Duncan, who made sex aids for the disabled and was the first to expand dildo production beyond the Caucasian pink once called “flesh colored”; the Malorrus brothers, who were gag gift manufacturers (think penis pencil toppers); and the hard-core porn distribution mogul Reuben Sturman, who repeatedly, and eventually disastrously, ran afoul of the law. Although their X-rated wares would supposedly give women orgasms, unlike the feminist-championed toys they were sold primarily as devices that would benefit men. Much like the era’s sexual revolution, in other words, they maintained and even perpetuated a sexist status quo.

“Vibrator Nation” focuses more narrowly on women-owned vendors, wrestling with how their activist mission bumped up against the demands and constraints of the marketplace. Those early entrepreneurs, Comella writes, believed nothing less than that “women who had orgasms could change the world.” As with other utopian feminist visions, however, this one quickly splintered. Controversy broke out over what constituted “sex positivity,” what constituted “woman-friendly,” what constituted “woman.” Was it politically correct to stock, or even produce, feminist porn? Were BDSM lesbians invited to the party? Would the stores serve transwomen? Did the “respectable” aesthetic of the white, middle-class founders translate across lines of class and race? If the goal was self-exploration through a kind of cliteracy, what about customers (of any gender or sexual orientation) who wanted toys for partnered play or who enjoyed penetrative sex? Could a sex store that sold nine-inch, veined dildos retain its feminist bona fides? Dell Williams solved that particular problem by commissioning nonrepresentational silicone devices with names like “Venus Rising” from Gosnell Duncan, the man who made prosthetics for the disabled. Others followed suit.

Even so, Comella writes, the retailers struggled to stay afloat: Feminist stores refused, as a matter of principle, to trade on customers’ anxiety — there were none of the “tightening creams,” “numbing creams,” penis enlargers or anal bleaches that boosted profits at typical sex stores. Employees were considered “educators,” and sales were secondary to providing information and support. What’s more, Good Vibrations in particular was noncompetitive; Blank freely shared her business model with any woman interested in spreading the love.

Consumer culture and feminism have always been strange bedfellows, with the former tending to overpower the latter. Just as Virginia Slims co-opted the message of ’70s liberation, as the Spice Girls cannibalized ’90s grrrl power, so feminist sex stores exerted their influence on the mainstream, yet were ultimately absorbed and diluted by it. In 2007, Good Vibrations was sold to GVA-TWN, the very type of sleazy mega-sex-store company it was founded to disrupt. Though no physical changes have been made in the store, Good Vibrations is no longer woman-owned. Although the aesthetics haven’t changed, Lieberman writes, the idea of feminist sex toys as a source of women’s liberation has faded, all but disappeared. An infamous episode of “Sex and the City” that made the Rabbit the hottest vibrator in the nation also portrayed female masturbation as addictive and isolating, potentially leading to permanent loneliness. The sex toys in “Fifty Shades of Grey” were wielded solely in service of traditional sex and gender roles: A man is in charge of Anastasia Steele’s sexual awakening, and climax is properly experienced through partnered intercourse. Meanwhile, the orgasm gap between genders has proved more stubborn than the pay gap. Women still experience one orgasm for every three experienced by men in partnered sex. And fewer than half of teenage girls between 14 and 17 have ever masturbated.

At the end of “Buzz,” Lieberman makes a provocative point: Viagra is covered by insurance but vibrators aren’t, presumably because while erections are seen as medically necessary for sexual functioning the same is not true of female orgasm. Like our feminist foremothers, she envisions a new utopia, one in which the F.D.A. regulates sex toys to ensure their safety, in which they are covered by insurance, where children are taught about them in sex education courses and they are seen and even subsidized worldwide as a way to promote women’s sexual health.

In other words: We’ve come a long way, baby, but as “Vibrator Nation” and “Buzz” make clear, we still may not be coming enough.

Complete Article HERE!

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