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You Go To My Head

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Hey sex fans!

As much as I hate to admit it, it’s that time of the year again.  Today The Dr Dick Review Crew throws it into high gear to bring you our first installment of this year’s Holiday Gift Giving Guide. We want to get as many reviews out there in the next month as possible.  We want you to have a load of swell holiday gift giving ideas, don’t cha know.

This week’s Review Crew includes: Joy & Dixie, Angie and Christa.

We start the day off right with two offerings from Doc Johnson.

Awesome Blossom —— $46.99

Joy & Dixie
Dixie: “We have a beauty for you this week. It’s called Awesome Blossom.”
Joy: “We are like totally getting into glass insertables. Six months ago we didn’t own a one. Now we do though.”
Dixie: “Yep, we are now the proud owners of three glass dildos. And they are Sex_Toys_DJ029208spectacular. There is something about glass that really turns my crank.”
Joy: “Awesome Blossom is made of tempered glass. If you treat it with respect, as you would any fine adult toy, this thing will last a lifetime.”
Dixie: “Glass is so practical. There are no batteries to run down; nothing to recharge. It’s ready when you are.”
Joy: “Glass is nonporous and hypoallergenic, care and cleaning are a snap. For everyday cleanup a mild soap and water wash is fine. You can wipe it down with a 10% bleach solution. However, if you’re gonna share your Awesome Blossom or any other toy, sterilizing is recommended. Slip it into a pot of boiling water for a couple minutes and then it’s ready to go. Hey, ya can even pop this puppy in the dishwasher for a no fuss, no muss clean up.”
Dixie: “Exactly! And we’re all about sharing.”
Joy: “Oh, we should mention, for the sake of all our gay-boy friends, that Awesome Blossom makes a wonderful ass play toy too. You see it has a base on it that will keep it from popping into your pooper. The base also lets us use it in our harness. So there’s that!”
Dixie: “You can either chill or warm this beauty. And when it comes to lube; any lube will do. Regardless what kind of lube you choose, just know that a little goes a very long way.”
Joy: “In our rush to tell you all the features of glass, we have yet to describe Awesome Blossom. Atop the spiraled, clear-green shaft there is a clear teardrop shaped head. Inside the head is a three-dimensional image of a flower. The flower is a kind of wildflower, I would guess. The kind that blankets a meadow in the spring. It’s really sweet and lovely.”
Dixie: “The shaft is just over 1″ in diameter. The head is only a bit larger at about 1 1/4″ in diameter. The whole thing is just under 8” tall. There’s a bit of a curve to the shaft which make it perfect for G-spot (or P-spot) stimulation.
FULL REVIEW HERE

Next, Angie is up with the other Doc Johnson toy.

Alumination — Pink —— $29.90

Angie
Hello everyone! So glad to be with you again. I have the pleasure, both literally and figuratively, of introducing you to Alumination. It is my first metallic vibe and I like it very much.

It’s about as simple and straightforward a pleasure instrument as possible. It’s very slim and sleek; it’s made of aluminum; it’s waterproof; and it’s a 3-speed vibrator. It runs on two AAA-batteries (not included in the package). It’s not gonna knock your socks off in the power department, but it does get the job done.31iAhYUq8iL._AA280_

One of the best features of an aluminum toy is that it is so heat sensitive. You can add additional sensations to the vibration by chilling and/or warming the toy. My favorite is chilling it by dipping it in a dish of ice water for a few moments. Oh MY!

It’s just 6″ long, maybe 3/4” in diameter. Like I said, slim and sleek. It’s very quiet too, which I really appreciate.

Those of you who follow my reviews know that I love a waterproof vibe more than anything. Bath time is my time and my Alumination has been my companion for several weeks now. Only had to replace the batteries once. The battery compartment is easy to open and close, which is a huge plus in my book.

Aluminum is nonporous and hypoallergenic. Cleanup with mild soap and water; wipe it down with a 10% bleach solution or peroxide. You can even sterilize it in boiling water for a couple minutes.
FULL REVIEW HERE

Finally, the oh so charming Christa will tell us about her Synergy Erotic vibe.

Silicone Tsunami, Lavender  —— $59.99

Christa
Wow, Dr Dick, you called on me to review a normal toy this time.  What, you couldn’t find any freaky stuff for me?  How odd!

Just kidding.  I know I’m weird and all, but hey, I have my normal moments too.  And the Tsunami is perfect for when I’m being my other self, the small town girl from Indiana.SYN2500206

So here’s the 411 on this amazing little vibe.  It runs on 2 AA-batteries.  Unfortunately, none came in the package.  Hey you guys, some of us are starving students!  Toss us a bone here and include some freakin’ batteries in your package, why don’t cha?

Anyhow, this sweetie is 100% silicone, which is like the only material that I’ll let near my precious pussy.  I gotta have hypoallergenic or forget about it!  I also sometime share my toys with my sub, butt-boy BF, Alex.  He’s this total ass whore.  I’m the first chick he ever had play with his prostate.  Now it’s fuck me, fuck me, fuck me all the time.  SHEESH!

You can share silicone toys because you can sterilize them.  I can swish the Tsunami in boiling water for that purpose. I also wipe down my toys with a 10% bleach solution and a lint-free cloth between each use.  But you can use peroxide or rubbing alcohol too. Warm water and mild soap is what I use if I’m gonna keep the toy all to my self.

The wicked thing about the Tsunami is that it has 10 fuckin’ vibration modes.  That’s like crazy!  I never had a toy with so many different vibrations.  Luckily, it has an on/off button too, so you don’t have to run through all the modes to get to off.  Much appreciate that!
FULL REVIEW HERE

ENJOY!

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Envisioning A New Approach To Postpartum Sex

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Welcoming a baby into the world is an incredible experience, but it is certainly not a seamless one. Although your new bundle of joy may be small, metaphorically speaking, they occupy a lot of space, with your partner and intimacy being the first thing to be pushed to the side.

As part of running MysteryVibe, I speak to women and men from different countries, backgrounds, and cultures every day – and one of the most common themes of discussions or questions people ask me is around reclaiming intimacy and sexual pleasure after childbirth.

The 6-week check-up often marks the moment when new moms are physically cleared by their doctors to have sex again. But while you might be given the green light, many women are simply not ready emotionally for penetrative sex.

You have welcomed a new human into the world, and while your heart could burst from all the love you feel, likewise you might be worried sick about their well-being at every moment, ready to cry at the drop of a pin.

Between the physical recovery of birth, a flurry of activities and the emotional rollercoaster of hormones, the last thing on your mind during the postpartum is being physically available for yourself, much less your partner.

But that does not mean that you have to give up on intimacy altogether.

It is time to reframe the 6 week check-up, and move beyond its unrealistic presumption that makes new mothers feel pressured to jump back into the sack after a string of sexless months, and guilty or ashamed when they cannot bring themselves to do it right away.

Rather, we propose a new vision of postpartum sex as a gentle journey of intimacy that leads to a fulfilling, pleasurable relationship with your partner, where sex does not have to mean intercourse right away.

A journey that will not necessarily lead you back to your pre-baby sex life, but to a new normal that can even be more emotionally (and physically) satisfying than ever before!

The rules of the game – go at your own pace, take it slow, communicate your needs to your partner, sit back, relax and let yourself enjoy the pleasure.  Here we offer you a few tips to kickstart your journey.

1. TLC- tender loving care. Before you can be emotionally or physically available for your partner, you must carve out some time for some self-love. Perhaps let dad or grandparents have some alone time with the new arrival – take a bubble bath, go for a walk in nature or perhaps cuddle up in a cozy blanket listening to your favorite tunes.

If you are up to it, maybe try a solo session, using a clitoral stimulator or small vibrator with lots of lubricants. Because of your body’s changing-needs, highly-customizable toys like MysteryVibe’s Crescendo will be a great fit as you can change its shape along with creating unique patterns of vibrations (spanning from super gentle to more powerful).

Toys like this are super effective at satisfying both penetrative and non-penetrative play, and don’t rely on friction or thrusting, which can be painful for many women post-birth. This will be a great time to reconnect with your body, with orgasms acting as stress relievers as well.

Whatever it is, love yourself and do what makes you feel good!

2. Rediscover the power of cuddling and kissing. While it may feel like you are regressing back to ‘first base’, these simple forms of physical touch with your partner increase* oxytocin levels, also known as the ‘bonding’ hormone that can help reduce* stress and anxiety.

So, when your baby is sleeping, take some time to simply hold each other’s hands or wrap yourself up in one another’s arms as you watch some TV.  When you are feeling ready for second base, allow your lips to linger and move into loving, passionate kisses.

3. Venture outside the usual. For many women, their breasts and vagina feel less sexual during the postpartum period. Once a focal point in the bedroom, breasts are now inflated and sore, and the vulva and vagina may be recovering from the physical trauma of childbirth.

No need to fret. There are many other erogenous zones that can bring you pleasure.  With their hands and/or mouth, ask your partner to stimulate other areas of your body.

Try some of these: ears, neck, nape of neck, spine, back, behind the knees and feet. These areas are full of nerve endings and can reveal some unexpectedly pleasurable sensations.

4. Explore non-penetrative practices. There are many ways to experience mutual pleasure and intimacy with your partner outside of the traditional penetrative act. Try reinventing the 69.

If you are not ready for vaginal or clitoral action, ask your partner to massage your feet that stimulate blood flow up to your legs and abdomen, while you return the favor with your hands or mouth.

You and your partner could also try intercrural sex, where the penis is stimulated by being placed in between your thighs. Or, on the flip side, intergluteal sex where the penis can be stimulated by moving between the buttocks.

For the last two, we recommend lube.

5. Invest in some good quality lube. When you are ready for more advanced foreplay or penetrative sex, do not be shocked if you are not naturally lubricating downstairs. Dryness is another side-effect of declined estrogen and progesterone levels post-birth.

Lube will be your best friend when you are getting back to the norm with your partner, helping things run smoothly. Clitoral stimulators can also act as great tools in this department. Also, do not forget to relax.

Many women feel a mixture of fear and anxiety about returning back to penetrative sex after months of celibacy, leading to a tenseness that will undeniably make sex less pleasurable. If you can, have a glass of wine, take your time, let your partner give you a massage, and then get the lube out!

6. The gift that keeps on giving. So maybe you are just not in the mood? Because of wonky hormonal changes, it’s totally normal to experience plummeted levels of libido. It’s ok.

Nonetheless, women put pressure on themselves to perform in the bedroom out of guilt for not tending to their partner’s sexual needs. Consider buying masturbating toys for your partner, it will show them that you care without forcing yourself to do anything out of your comfort zone.

All in all, intimacy with your partner can help decrease* your stress, improve* your confidence and (contrary to belief) energize you! Making space to prioritize intimacy, without the pressure of going all in, can help nurture a deep connection with your partner that can translate to increased happiness and wellbeing.

Do not expect to go from 0 to 100 after your 6 week check-up. Remember, most women wait longer than 6 weeks, and many women will not get 100% back into the groove of things for months.

Allow this journey back to intimacy be an exciting opportunity to rediscover the relationship you have with your own body and to find new techniques that lie outside the norm with your partner.

The key is to take things slowly, to listen to yourself, communicate with your partner, and when the time comes, use lots and lots of lube.

Complete Article HERE!

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Ring-A-Ding-Ding

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Hey sex fans!

It’s Product Review Friday once again. This week we welcome back an old friend. The good people at We-Vibe have been part of this review effort since 2008 when we reviewed our first product of their line. Since then we’ve happily reviewed several of their others.

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!

Back with us today is one of the newest members of the Dr Dick Review Crew, Trevor, who will introduce us to today’s product.

The Verge Vibrating Ring, Slate —— $88.70

Trevor
Hello again! Just in case you didn’t read my first review, my name is Trevor.  I’m 32 years old. I’m originally from the UK, Manchester to be precise, but have been in the US since I was 13. I live with my da. My mom passed away three years ago. I am dating this great gal. Shelia is her name. We’ve been together for just over a year.

My new toy is the Verge Vibrating Ring by We-Vibe. It’s an amazing new cockring.

If you are unfamiliar with what a cockring (penis ring) is or what it is used for, let me turn your attention to a swell tutorial that Dr Dick put together called, Cockring Crash Course.

The Verge Vibrating Ring is worn around your cock and balls. The ring feature adds a bit of blood flow restriction for fuller, longer lasting erections. The vibration feature, which hits you smack-dab on your perineum, produces mind-blowing orgasms.

You can use the Verge Vibrating Ring alone, like when you’re having a little wank, or with a partner, like when you’re having a little shag. Either way, it’s brilliant!

Sometimes I need a wee bit more stimulation to get off than what I can produce with my hand. For example, I’ve recently discovered all the pleasures that come from stimulating my prostate while I wank. For the longest time my butthole was off limits because I thought that was too gay for a straight bloke like me. I know how stupid that way of thinking is now, but for the longest time I just wouldn’t allow myself the permission to even investigate the other pleasure zones on my body.

My girl, Shelia, helped me over come that. One day we were having sex and she had this little lipstick vibe with her. http://www.drdicksextoyreviews.com/2014/05/09/we-vibe-tango/ She started to use it on her clit while I was inside her. At first, I was pretty upset by this. I thought I wasn’t doing my job pleasuring her enough with my cock. I even started to get soft. I was just about to pull out when Shelia, guessing what was going on with me, took the little vibe and placed it on that patch of skin between my balls and butthole, my perineum. I immediately jumped to attention. I had never felt anything like that before. But I was also scared. It was getting way too close to my hole for comfort.

I was torn between the intense pleasure and the fear of the gay thing. What a dolt!

Shelia later told me about all the nerve endings in my pelvis can be the source of great pleasure and that some guys are orgasmic by just stimulating their prostate. To tell the truth, I wasn’t all that sure what or where my prostate was. All I knew was that if it was inside my butt; I wasn’t going there. But I figured stimulating my perineum was OK because it was not technically IN my butt.

To make a long story short, I was using a vibrator on my perineum one day when I, all of a sudden, let the vibe wander to my hole. The sensations were AMAZING! It was only a little while later that I threw caution to the wind and tentatively started to insert the vibe in my butthole. Within minutes I discovered my prostate, which is as sensitive and pleasure producing as my cock if not more so. And guess what? I didn’t turn gay!

Crazy story, right? I’ll bet there are a lotta guys out there who think the way that I used to. Hopefully, reading this will straighten them out…no pun intended.

OK, so I mentioned that if you wear the Verge Vibrating Ring with the pointy part down you get perineum stimulation, right? Well get this, if you wear the Verge with the pointy part up, like when you’re having sex with your partner, the Verge Vibrating Ring delivers the vibration to your partner’s clit.

The Verge Vibrating Ring delivers vibrations that are deep and rumbly, not the little buzzy kind that you get from some vibes. It’s also amazingly quiet.

And while we’re talking about the vibrations, you should know that there are 10 vibration modes built into the Verge Vibrating Ring. But that’s just the beginning. There’s a smartphone app that you get through the We-Vibe website. http://we-vibe.com/app With the app you can connect and control a bunch of We Vibe products, not just the Verge. So when Shelia and I both have our We Vibe vibrator we can share control of each other’s pleasure at the same time. It’s totally wild.

The Verge Vibrating Ring is covered in velvety, latex-free, nonporous, phthalate-free, and hypoallergenic, body-safe silicone. And because it is fully waterproof and made of silicone it’s a breeze to clean. I toss it into the skink with mild soap and warm water, rub it down a bit, and 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.

The Verge Vibrating Ring is rechargeable via a USB connected port. It takes about 90 minutes to fully charge and a full charge will last for up to two hours of play.

If you’re going to be using lube on or around the Verge Vibrating Ring, be sure to use only water-based lube. A silicone based lube would mar the beautiful finish of the toy.

I love everything about the Verge Vibrating Ring. I love that it is made of body-safe silicone and that it’s 100% waterproof. I love that the vibrations are massive but it’s still really quiet. I love that it is rechargeable. And I love that Shelia and I can play with our toys and each other even if we’re not actually together.

Full Review 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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How to Rethink Intimacy When ‘Regular’ Sex Hurts

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There’s no rule that says sex has to be penetrative.

By Breena Kerr

When sex hurts, women often feel alone—but they’re not. About 30 percent of women report pain during vaginal intercourse, according to a 2015 study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine which surveyed a subsample of 1,738 women and men ages 18 and older online.

Awareness of painful vaginal sex—sometimes lumped under the term Female Sexual Dysfunction (FSD)—has grown as more women talk about their experiences and more medical professionals start to listen.

Many conditions are associated with FSD, including vulvodynia (chronic vulva pain), vestibulodynia (chronic pain around the opening of the vagina), and vaginismus (cramping and tightness around the opening of the vagina). But they all have one thing in common: vaginal or vulval pain that can make penetrative sex anywhere from mildly uncomfortable to physically impossible. However, you can absolutely still have sex, which we’ll get to in a minute.

First and most important, if you are experiencing any type of genital pain, talk to your doctor.

There’s no reason to suffer in silence, even if it seems awkward or embarrassing or scary. Your gynecologist has heard it all and can help (or they can refer you to someone who can). The International Pelvic Pain Society has great resources for finding a licensed health care provider who specializes in genital pain.

“We don’t yet know why women get vestibulodynia or vulvodynia,” Kayna Cassard, M.A., M.F.T., a psychotherapist who specializes in vaginismus and other pelvic pain issues, tells SELF. “[There can be] many traumas, physical and psychological, that become internalized and add to vaginal pain. Women’s pain isn’t just ‘in their heads,’ ” Cassard says.

This kind of pain can affect anyone—regardless of sexual orientation or relationship status—but it can be particularly difficult for someone who mostly engages in penetrative sex with their partner. The important thing to remember is that you have options.

Sex does not have to revolve around penetration.

Hell, it doesn’t even need to include it. And for a lot of people, it doesn’t. Obviously, if P-in-V sex is what you and your partner are used to, it can be intimidating to consider redefining what sex means to you. But above all, sex should be pleasurable.

“The first thing to do is expand what ‘counts’ as sex,” sex educator and Girl Sex 101 author Allison Moon tells SELF. “Many people in heterosexual relationships consider only penis-in-vagina to count as sex, and everything else is some form of foreplay,” she says. But sex can include (or not include) whatever two consensual people decide on: oral sex, genital massage, mutual masturbation, whatever you’re into.

“If you only allow yourself one form of sex to count as the real deal, you may feel broken for enjoying, or preferring, other kinds of touch,” Moon says.

To minimize pain, give yourself time to prepare physically and mentally for sex.

That might sound like a lot of prep work, but it’s really about making sure you’re in the right mindset, that you’re relaxed, and that you’re giving your body time to warm up.

Heather S. Howard, Ph.D., a certified sexologist and founder of the Center for Sexual Health and Rehabilitation in San Francisco, publishes free guides that help women prepare physically and mentally for sex. She tells SELF that stretching and massaging, including massaging your vaginal muscles, is especially helpful for women with muscle tightness. (Too much stretching, though, is a bad idea for women with sensitive vaginal skin that’s prone to tearing.)

Starting with nonsexual touch is key, as Elizabeth Akincilar-Rummer, M.S.P.T., president and cofounder of the Pelvic Health and Rehabilitation Center in San Francisco, tells SELF. This puts the emphasis on relaxation so you don’t feel pressured to rush arousal.

Inserting a cool or warm stainless steel dilator (or a homemade version created with water and a popsicle mold) can also help reduce pain, Howard says. Women can tailor the size and shape to whatever is comfortable. If a wand or dilator is painful, however, a cool cloth or warm bath can feel soothing instead. Again, do what feels good to you and doesn’t cause pain.

Several studies have shown that arousal may increase your threshold for pain tolerance (not to mention it makes sex more enjoyable). So don’t skimp on whatever step is most arousing for you. That might mean some solo stimulation, playing sexy music, dressing up, reading an erotic story, watching porn, etc.

And of course, don’t forget lubrication. Lube is the first line of defense when sex hurts. Water-based lubricant is typically the safest for sensitive skin. It’s also the easiest to clean and won’t stain your clothes or sheets. Extra lubrication will make the vagina less prone to irritation, infections, and skin tears, according to Howard. But some people may also be irritated by the ingredients in lube, so if you need a recommendation, ask your gynecologist.

Now it’s time figure out what feels good.

Women with pain often know what feels bad. But Howard says it’s important for them to remember what feels good, too. “Lots of people aren’t asking, ‘What feels good?’ So I ask women to set what their pleasure scale is, along with their pain scale. I ask them to develop a tolerance for pleasure.”

To explore what feels good, partners can try an exercise where they rate touch. They set a timer for 5 or 10 minutes and ask their partner to touch them in different ways on different parts of their body. Sex partners can experiment with location, pressure, and touch type (using their fingertips, nails, breath, etc.) and change it up every 30 seconds. With every different touch, women should say a number from 0 to 10 that reflects how good the touch feels, with 10 being, “This feels amazing!” and 0 meaning, “I don’t like this particular kind of touch.” This allows women to feel a sense of ownership and control over the sensations, Howard says.

Another option is experimenting with different sensations. Think tickling, wax dripping, spanking, and flogging. Or if they prefer lighter touch, feathers, fingers, hair, or fabric on skin are good options. Some women with chronic pain may actually find it empowering to play with intense sensations (like hot wax) and eroticize them in a way that gives them control, according to Howard. But other women may need extremely light touch, she says, since chronic pain can lower some people’s general pain tolerance.

Masturbating together can also be an empowering way for you to show a partner how you like to be touched. And it can involve the entire body, not just genitals, Akincilar-Rummer says. It’s also a safe way for you to experience sexual play with a partner, when you aren’t quite ready to be touched by another person. For voyeurs and exhibitionists, it can be fun for one person to masturbate while the other person watches. Or, for a more intimate experience, partners can hold and kiss each other while they masturbate. It feels intimate while still allowing control over genital sensations.

If clitoral stimulation doesn’t hurt, feel free to just stick with that.

It’s worth noting that the majority of women need direct clitoral stimulation to reach orgasm, Maureen Whelihan, M.D., an ob/gyn in West Palm Beach, Florida, tells SELF. Stimulating the clit is often the most direct route to arousal and climax and requires no penetration.

Some women won’t be able to tolerate clitoral stimulation, especially if their pain is linked to the pudendal nerve, which can affect sensations in the clitoris, mons pubis, vulva, vagina, and labia, according to Howard and Akincilar-Rummer. For that reason, vibrators may be right for some women and wrong for others. “Many women with pelvic pain can irritate the pelvic nerve with vibrators,” says Akincilar-Rummer. “But if it’s their go-to, that’s usually fine. I just tell them to be cautious.”

For women with pain from a different source, like muscle tightness, vibrators may actually help them become less sensitive to pain. “Muscular pain can actually calm down with a vibrator,” Howard says. Sex and relationship coach Charlie Glickman, Ph.D., tells SELF that putting a vibrator in a pillow and straddling it may decrease the amount of direct vibration.

Above all else, remember that sexual play should be fun, pleasurable, and consensual—but it doesn’t need to be penetrative. There’s no need to do anything that makes you uncomfortable physically or emotionally or worsens your genital pain.

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