Want to Sleep Better? Have More Sex

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If you’re having trouble sleeping soundly, studies show having sex with your partner (or yourself) can help improve the quality of your sleep.

by Brian Krans

The bedroom, according to the National Sleep Foundation, is designed for two things: sex and sleep.

But there’s one big problem: Not enough Americans are getting enough of either.

However, recent research suggests fixing one could fix the other.

A 2017 study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior suggests people, whether single or married, were having sex less often during the early 2010s than they were in the late 1990s — at a rate of nine fewer times per year.

Millennials are having the least amount of sex, but the researchers say it’s not due to longer working hours or increased pornography use.

Overall, fewer people are in steady relationships and those who are, including married people, are having sex less often.

And research has shown that a lack of quality sleep for the right number of hours a night can lead to a decline in mood, libido, and romantic motivation.

That alone may keep you up at night.

Does having sex help you sleep better?

Experts say while there isn’t enough solid clinical proof to suggest that sex makes you sleepy, the basic underlying mechanics of the chemicals released during sex may help one sleep better.

Among other things, it has a lot to do with the hormone oxytocin, nicknamed “the love hormone.”

Dr. Amer Khan, a Sutter Health neurologist, sleep specialist, and founder of Sehatu Sleep in Northern California, says the release of oxytocin has been stated to occur in conjunction with feelings of affection and affectionate or sensual touch, leading to a feeling of pleasant well-being and relief from stress.

“Other hormones, such as dopamine, prolactin, and progesterone, have been implicated in affecting the mind with a sense of relief, relaxation, and sleepiness following the act of satisfactory sex,” Kahn told Healthline.

But everyone is different, so these chemicals shuffling through your brain right at bedtime may be stimulating and wake-promoting or sleep-inducing, Khan said.

“After all the considerations, it seems reasonable to say that a mutually satisfying physical and mental interaction before sleep enhances mood, feelings of well-being, releases stress, and makes it easier to switch off the busy mind to go to sleep and stay asleep,” he said. “If a satisfying sexual orgasm after an exciting foreplay is a part of that interaction, it is also likely to lead to better sleep.”

A 2016 review of research done at the University of Ottawa suggests engaging in sexual intercourse before sleep can decrease stress and possibly help insomniacs initiate and maintain their sleep, making it a “possible alternative or addition to other intervention strategies for insomnia.”

Still, Khan warns, more large-scale studies are needed to explore the subject in more detail. Either way, he says, there’s more than one way to connect with your partner that can put your mind at ease before bedtime.

“As a sleep physician, I would advise people to enjoy their time together,” Khan said. “Physical, emotional, and mental togetherness is more important than focusing on the need to have an orgasm before sleep.”

Then again, some research suggests a good orgasm doesn’t hurt when trying to get better sleep.

A 2017 study out of CQUniversity in Adelaide, Australia found that more than 60 percent of 282 adults studied reported having slept better after having sex that led to climax.

Chris Brantner, a certified sleep science coach at SleepZoo, said women also experience increased estrogen levels after sex, which can enhance REM sleep — the truly regenerative kind — while men get a surge of prolactin, which causes a feeling of fatigue.

“However, like most things involving sleep, there’s a deeper relationship here,” Brantner told Healthline. “Because not only does having sleep help you get to sleep, but getting good sleep helps you have more sex.”

To help increase your libido, Brantner recommends the full seven to eight hours of sleep a night.

“Lack of sleep throws your hormones out of whack and decreases testosterone, which is crucial for both male and female sex drive,” he said. “Sleep deprivation also has a negative impact on your energy levels and mood, which both will make you less likely to want to have sex.”

But what about those without a partner to help release those love hormones?

The power of self love

As earlier noted, people are having sex less often, partially due to having a steady relationship with a partner.

So, what’s to prevent masturbation from being the way to calm oneself to sleep? Nothing, actually.

Nicole Prause, PhD, founder of the Liberos lab in Los Angeles, is researching just that.

Some of those experiments include whether masturbation leads to more quality sleep. Animal studies, she says, have shown males who ejaculated had better sleep latency and quality, but it hasn’t yet been shown in humans.

“In animals, the effect is thought to be due to vasopressin, which also increases with orgasm in humans, so it is likely to work the same in humans,” Prause told Healthline. “Our federal government, however, does not fund sex research, so it is unlikely we ever will receive funding at the level necessary to demonstrate this in a sleep laboratory with humans.”

Besides studying the effects that sexual gratification has on sleep, Prause is also a licensed psychologist who works in behavioral medicine, including sleep maintenance issues.

Masturbation is not currently mentioned in any standardized sleep assessments or treatments, but Prause thinks it should be.

“I think it is a terrible disservice to patients, especially those struggling on their medications, and can increase the stigma for those who successfully use masturbation to manage their sleep disturbances,” she said.

Beyond sex

Any sex expert worth their salt will tell you it’s not just the completion of the act, but the act itself.

As Khan mentioned, hormones that may help you sleep are released just by being close and intimate with someone, even if it doesn’t involve sex.

But since the bedroom is made for either sleep or sex, there are a few small things you can do to keep that space sacred. That includes removing distractions like TVs, tablets, phones, and anything else with a screen that isn’t a window.

Brantner says staring at your phone right before bed can mess up your circadian rhythm, or the body’s natural sync with the sun. Also, he says, research suggests it also contributes to partner dissatisfaction.

“If you’re staring at your phone, you aren’t cuddling, you aren’t conversing, and you’re definitely not having sex,” he said. “In other words, you’re ignoring your partner.”

So, if you’re reading this in bed, put your phone away and talk with your partner about sharing a hormone-filled experience in the bedroom.

Complete Article HERE!

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Rubbing Out Sexist Attitudes Towards Female Masturbation

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Lois Borny discusses attitudes towards female masturbation at university

By Lois Borny

Other than typing ‘porn’ into YouTube on my family computer at age 11, I always saw it as a dangerously seductive zone not meant for my eyes. A force field also encircled my pelvis, the nether realm where I ought never to go. Any moments of curiosity when I was sure my parents were asleep resulted in a deep embarrassment that made my cheeks flush and my palms sweat. This only solidified the idea that I was a sexual anomaly amidst all other girls my age. Once or twice someone at school would ask ‘do you…?’ but the question was always dismissed by the shaking of heads in unison, faces aghast.

In my experience, female masturbation became more heavily loaded with age. Around the time when exchanging numbers at the school disco had turned into nudes being sent and drinking straight Glens at the weekly rich kid’s house party, it was still very hush-hush. For boys, an interest in their penis seemed to be a kind of comical inevitability, and touching it was a necessity that need not be questioned.

Like a mutually loved hobby, it was a source of jokes, bonding and outwardly expressed desire that just didn’t appear relevant to me. It seemed my own sexuality was only legitimate if a boy was involved, or if it was as some kind of spectacle – and if I were ever to talk about it, it was seen either as an invitation or as a statement about how rebellious and free-spirited I was.

‘Before you realise how programmed are you to be woman hating, if any other girl says they finger themselves you automatically think they’re trying to get attention, whereas a boy is seen as just being honest’ Molly says, when asked the about pre-university attitudes to female masturbation.

Like a mutually loved hobby, it was a source of jokes, bonding and outwardly expressed desire that just didn’t appear relevant to me. It seemed my own sexuality was only legitimate if a boy was involved, or if it was as some kind of spectacle – and if I were ever to talk about it, it was seen either as an invitation or as a statement about how rebellious and free-spirited I was.

‘Before you realise how programmed are you to be woman hating, if any other girl says they finger themselves you automatically think they’re trying to get attention, whereas a boy is seen as just being honest’ Molly says, when asked the about pre-university attitudes to female masturbation.

For girls it was seen as self-indulgent rather than natural instinct, a view which lingers at the back of my mind even now, despite knowing it is completely unfounded. When asked about their early orgasms, the general consensus among my female friends at university was that they used to keep it to themselves, and that the whole thing was generally a source of guilt. This sense of shame all seems so distant from sleepover masturbation and the soggy biscuit challenges of puberty described to me by my male friends.

For me, coming to university was like having a long conversation with a reassuring experienced friend. But she brought with her a confusing message: a lot of girls own vibrators, and they use them often. This was such a sudden change from the messages I had been given through school and sixth form, and I was confused as to why. Even in first year, under the shroud of 2 am when the clinking from the kitchen and the sound of footsteps in the corridor had finally stopped, I would still feel odd about doing it. Like somehow my flatmates could sense it, and that for them to know would be a terrible humiliation.

‘There’s a stark change in attitude towards girls masturbating at university compared to school. Suddenly, it’s completely acceptable for girls to own sex toys, speak freely about using them and even give each other tips’ my friend Isabel says, who tells me she never spoke about masturbation with friends before coming to university.

Of course, for many girls this wasn’t the case, and if it was, these feelings likely faded.

‘When I got to year 10 I became close with a girl who was really open about that kind of thing and she would tell me funny stories that had happened to her. It made me more open’ says Anna. ‘It definitely became more obvious to me as I grew up that it’s nothing to be ashamed of and it’s perfectly normal’ she adds.

‘I know that a lot of girls feel uncomfortable talking about masturbation and usually deny that they even do it, but that hasn’t been my experience because I was close to my friends at school and they were open minded about it like myself. At university masturbation was just so normal that it wasn’t an exciting thing to talk about anymore’ says Maddie.

The abrupt break in the silence on female masturbation upon coming to university seems unnecessary, and although it isn’t an experience shared by the entire female student demographic, the internalisation of these ideas amongst a lot of us is undeniable.

Complete Article HERE!

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Here’s Everything You Need to Know About Anal Beads

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First things first—don’t be afraid!

By Gigi Engle

You’ll find no shortage of explanatory pieces on the Internet when it comes to butt stuff. There are so many ways to explore the butt. Some people use fingers, while others prefer dildos or butt plugs. And, of course, people enjoy a mix of things. Yet in all of this ongoing hoopla, we’ve forgotten a key player: anal beads.

Anal beads are the unsung hero of butt play. They are freakin’ amazing, and yet when asked about butt play from readers, I never get questions about anal beads.

Butt plugs and anal beads are two different toys, although they both go in the anus. “Anal beads provide stimulation through movement, while a butt plug offers internal ‘fullness’ or pressure,” explains Alicia Sinclair, a certified sex educator and CEO of the butt-centric company b-Vibe. “Unlike a butt plug, which is often used in preparation for penetrative anal sex, and is only meant to go in and stay [in place], anal beads were designed to stimulate inside the body and specifically to move in an out of the bum.”

There is no reason to feel embarrassed about wanting to explore butt stuff. Will there be some poop? Possibly, but if you clean up thoroughly, you’ll be just fine. You might come in contact with some fecal matter, but this simply goes with the territory. The sooner we move on from that, the sooner we can delight in the butt fully. I love butt play of any kind because it is an equalizing sex act that everyone can enjoy, regardless of gender. Everyone, after all, has an anus.

“Playing with products like anal beads allows you to really create equality in the bedroom and experience pleasure for the sake of pleasure, rather than tying it to identity in any way,” Sinclair adds.

The anus is a huge area of pleasurable possibility. You don’t need to put anything all the way inside of the butt to enjoy it. The anal opening is clustered with nerves, making any play with toys very enjoyable.

“As the beads are removed, they arouse the sensitive nerve endings of the sphincter muscle,” Sinclair says. “This stimulation creates a series of pleasurable sensations, like having a muscle massaged. The beads can be removed at varying speeds, depending on the desired effect, and can amplify the intensity of orgasm or even initiate for some. A great element is that using anal beads can be a hands-free path to stimulation, which means you can use your hands for other important erotic matters.”

Sign me up, please. Here is what you need to know about anal beads and all their multidimensional wonders.

Anal beads can be for newbies.

If you’re unsure if you’re ready for le beads de anal, Sinclair assures me that anal beads are totally fine for butt play beginners. While your forays ought to begin with a well-lubed finger or two, she assures SELF that there are “anal beads available in sizes for folks at all entry levels.”

Where to begin as a newbie when you’re looking for that perfect fit? Sinclair says that if you’re a beginner, it’s best to choose beads with “graduated sizes.” Meaning, ones that start small on the string and grow in size as you move up. “This allows the user to start with the smallest beads and then works towards the larger beads as they become comfortable with the sensation,” she says.

You should start with anal beads that come with three to four beads. You don’t need some long, snaking set of 15 balls when you’re starting out—that could be a little intimidating. “Make sure there is a good-sized flared base or circular handle at the end of the beads, otherwise there the beads may get lost inside the body,” Sinclair adds. Yikes. No one needs a trip to the ER, amiright? The rectum is not a closed area like the vagina; once something goes up the butt and disappears, it probably won’t be coming back on its own.

Stick to medical grade or body-safe silicone.

Materials for anal beads, like all sex toys, vary widely depending on where you buy them. Simply put: Do not buy cheap, crappy sex toys. If you buy beads made of jelly or non-ABS plastic (the only non-porous grade of plastic) then you risk leaving bacteria behind. These materials can never be fully disinfected. Yes, this is exactly what it sounds like: Your anal beads will have lingering poop on them.

“Silicone is my go-to material of choice,” Sinclair tells SELF. “It’s body-safe, non-porous, and all you need is mild soap and warm water to clean.”

Vibrating anal beads can be a super-fun way to ease yourself into playing with this new toy. “It promotes relaxation and can amplify the pleasurable sensations,” she says. “At b-Vibe, we specialize in vibrating anal beads and playing with different points and patterns of vibration.” (If vibration isn’t your thing, there are plenty of body-safe silicone anal beads that don’t vibrate. It’s all about preference.)

If you’re truly not sure what sensation you want to feel, start with a basic set of three to four non-vibrating beads and see how you feel about them. If you’d like to experiment with bigger beads, vibration, or a larger number of beads, go from there. There are so many different kinds to choose from.

Grab some lube.

You can use anal beads alone or with a partner. It can be easier to give toys a try alone for the first time to avoid awkwardness or nerves, but this is completely up to you.

Be sure you have a ton of lube on hand. Avoid silicone-based lubes with silicone toys; in other words, stick to water-based lube. I recommend Sustain Natural for all play, including anal. If you are more of an oil-based lover, I’m obsessed with CocoLube. Oil-based lubes are great for anal play because they are super slippery and don’t need to be applied as often as water-based options.

If you are sharing butt toys, be sure you are thoroughly cleansing them before using them with a different partner. Otherwise, you risk transferring bacteria or STIs.

Relax and breathe before insertion. You can lie either on your back or side, whichever is most comfortable for you. I suggest starting on your side if this is your first time. You don’t want your butt hole to be tensed up. Put the beads in one at a time, checking in with yourself and your partner along the way.

“Once they are inside, you’ll feel ‘fullness’ and receive pleasure as they move inside you,” Sinclair says. “You can stop wherever—there’s no pressure at all to go the full length of the beads. You can then leave them in during partner play or pull them out at varying speeds, depending on the desired effect.”

Sinclair suggests leaving the beads in during intercourse, slowly removing them one by one when you’re nearing climax for “toe-curling orgasms.”

Clean your anal beads immediately.

After you’re finished getting busy, wash your anal beads right away. You don’t want to leave lingering bacteria on your toys. Use a mild antibacterial soap and leave them on a towel to air dry. Be sure to pay special attention to any nooks and crannies. Be thorough.

If you’re really into sanitizing, I absolutely love the UVee Box. It uses UV light to remove 99.9 percent of surface bacteria on your toys. I use it for everything in my house from my cell phone to my jewelry. It’s a worthy investment.

Do away with shame! Go boldly into butt play and have the most fun!

Complete Article HERE!

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9 New Year’s Resolutions For Exploring Your Sexuality In 2019

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They Will Make You Feel Empowered AF

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After the shimmery dresses come off and the Champagne hangover comes on, you may find yourself looking at your “resolutions” as a means to doubt how amazing you are. So, I’m going to cut to the chase: You’re beautiful and amazing and your weight, your clothes, and your skincare routine don’t need to change. But if you’re feeling stuck in a sexy rut, manifesting some New Year’s resolutions for exploring your sexuality in 2019, can be a fun and empowering way to feel more in tune with your body.

At it’s best New Year’s can be an empowering time to set intentions for the future and cultivate gratitude for the past. Taking a moment to focus on all you’ve made it through in the past year can propel you take the next 12 months head on. Whether you’re single, dating, or on a self-inflicted six month vow of celibacy, exploring your own sexuality can be a cool way to learn about your body, it can also be really fun. Of course, when trying new things, you may find out the stuff you’re not into. And if something’s not floating your sexual boat, you never need to push your boundaries, no matter the month.

Here are nine resolutions aimed at feeling in tune with your sexy side in 2019.

1 I will take time to day dream about what I want.

Sometimes we don’t even know what we’re into because we’ve never thought enough about it. Take some time to fanaticize and daydream about your desires. Think about what makes you feel sexy, and ways you can bring those feelings into the bedroom.

2 I will get it on with myself.

Knowing what physically feels good for your body may mean some self-discovery. Taking time to touch different parts of yourself, in sexual and non-sexual ways can be a great way to sense how and where you like to be touched.

3 I will not be ashamed to read or watch sexual media.

There’s no shame in reading about sexuality, erotica, or even wanting to watch sexual material. If you have questions, urges, or know some things that pique your interest, reading articles or watching videos can be informative and sexy.

4 I will journal.

Journaling about the best sex you’ve had or things you want to try can help you remember what has worked in the past. Having yourself literally sit and write can be a structured way to really dig into your sexy side while strengthening your ability to articulate your desires.

5 I will talk about sex.

Opening up a dialogue with the people you’re sleeping with or even with friends you feel comfy sharing with can be a great way to understand other people’s perspectives and feel validated in your desires. Hearing that others have shared your experiences or desires, even swapping tips and advice can make you feel less alone, and give you some sexy inspiration.

6 I want to take some (healthy) risks.

If you’ve always wanted to go to a bar by yourself, or try having sex wearing a blindfold, the New Year can be a time to roll the dice (within reason.) Of course, your well-being is the most important thing and if something is way out of your comfort-zone or kinda dangerous, there’s no need to feel pressure to perform. But if there’s something fun you’ve always wanted to try, like a new move or a new naughty night club, Jan. 1 may give you the boost you need.

7 I will do more of what feels good.

There is nothing wrong with having a plan or knowing what works. If you’ve found what works for you, it’s also awesome to continue to do that. Routine doesn’t need to be boring. Knowing what makes your sex good and enjoyable sex and doing more of that, is a great way to go into the new year.

8 I will pump myself up.

Your biggest cheerleader should be yourself. Whether it’s looking at your body in the mirror and saying positive affirmations to singing Cardi B songs or spending a little more money on a haircut, doing more of what makes you feel sexy, and puts you in the mood is a great way to explore your body and sexuality.

9 I will cut myself some serious slack.

If you’ve farted during sex, if you’ve tried to sexy talk and ended up laughing, if you’ve set up a sex swing and landed butt first on the floor — you don’t need to feel ashamed. It’s OK for sex to be funny, for it to be awkward, silly, or gooey and romantic. You don’t need to be a ballerina sex-kitten with grace, perfect hair, and no bodily functions. Remembering you cut yourself some slack in the streets and in the sheets can keep you feeling strong and good about trying new things and feeling what works.

As we look to the New Year, may we relinquish all the bad dates, idiot people, and terrible sex we dealt with in the past 12 months. Having empowering resolutions about exploring your body and your sexuality can help when manifesting our future plans. Feeling yourself and knowing what you’re into can really help the New Year come in with a bang.

Complete Article ↪HERE↩!

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Is Your Partner Masturbating Too Much?

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By Cory Stieg

When you’re in a relationship, you might find yourself telling little white lies every now and then to make your partner happy, like: I really did love the way you made the salmon, or I absolutely love that you knit me this scarf for Christmas. But there are some things that you should not lie about for the sake of your partner’s ego, like how often you masturbate.

First of all, you’re not doomed if your partner masturbates more than you do, and you’re not a monster if you are the one masturbating more. People often assume that when their partner masturbates frequently, it’s a sign that they don’t want to have sex with them — but sex and masturbation are two different activities, says Shannon Chavez, PsyD, a certified clinical sexologist. “One is not a replacement for the other,” she says. That said, if someone isn’t interested in partnered sex and only wants to masturbate, then that could be a sign that there are bigger issues in the relationship, she says.

There are many reasons why people masturbate, one of which is to enhance partnered sex. “[Masturbation] gets you in touch with your body and your sexuality,” Dr. Chavez says. During partnered sex, you might be more self-aware or experience more of a physical response to stimulation if you also masturbate, she says. Masturbation is also an opportunity to bring new techniques into sex, or safely learn about your partner’s preferences and fantasies.

Some people just masturbate because it’s an act of self-care, Dr. Chavez says. “It is as important [and] as healthy eating and exercise,” she says. “It’s a genital workout that also helps with mood and is a sleep aid.” Others masturbate to alleviate stress, or do it out of habit or boredom, says Kristen Lilla, an AASECT certified sex therapist in Nebraska. And some turn to self-pleasure because they have a higher libido than their partner, and don’t want to put pressure on their lower-libido partner, she says. But that’s not a bad thing.

Even though masturbation is a part of overall sexual wellness, it can feel tricky bringing up your routine or frequency to your partner. Sometimes, people perceive their partner masturbating as a threat, personal rejection, or betrayal, Lilla says. “A person may feel entitled to this information, or may even assume their partner does masturbate,” she says. “But upon finding out how frequently, they may react negatively and try to find a way to control the other person’s behavior.”] If you feel comfortable, it’s a good idea to discuss your routine with your partner — including how often you masturbate. Take any judgement — of yourself or your partner — out of the equation and remember that “talking about masturbation can be helpful for your relationship,” Dr. Chavez says. It normalizes self-pleasure, and gets the conversation started about sexual needs and interests, she says. “If you can openly discuss it with a partner, it’s a good sign that you have moved past the stigma and embraced it as part of your overall wellness,” she says. And keep in mind that there’s no data around how much masturbation is too much, she says.

Complete Article HERE!

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6 things I wish I knew about sex as a teen

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It’s up to you to define what constitutes losing your virginity

By Olivia Cassano

Growing up we receive so many problematic messages about sex that it’s no wonder we still consider it such a taboo.

Although I consider myself a very sex-positive person now, it took years to unlearn most of what mainstream society taught me about doing the deed.

There’s a lot to be learned about the nuanced experience of sex and I full-heartedly believe that we can never stop learning.

But here are the things I think everyone, young women especially, should know in order to foster a healthy, fulfilling relationship with sex.

Virginity is a heteronormative myth

Almost everything we know about virginity is either wrong or misogynistic.

First of all, it completely excludes same-sex experiences and focuses only on hetero PIV (penis in vagina) sex, alienating gay sex and turning it into the ‘other’.

If we were to take virginity for how it’s taught, technically gay people are all virgins.

See? It makes no sense.

All sex is sex and, ultimately, it’s up to you to define what constitutes losing your virginity, because it’s nothing more than a concept.

Losing your virginity is also somehow simultaneously romanticised and made out to be this horrific, traumatising, painful milestone.

It’s an oxymoron, but your entry point to sex will most likely be unremarkable.

It doesn’t have to hurt and you might not bleed (I didn’t), because another fallacy is that losing your V-card is all about the hymen breaking.

We’re taught that the hymen is like a fleshy roadblock that needs to be crashed into to officially lose your virgin status, but none of that is true.

The hymen is a thin, perforated membrane most, not all, women have, and it can be torn from pretty much anything, like tampons, masturbation and even some types of sport. It’s not proof of your virginity or lack thereof because, newsflash, women don’t come with a freshness seal.

The first time can be uncomfortable and the pain often associated with it most likely comes from nerves and a lack of lubrication.

Relax, lube up and enjoy (once you’re ready of course).

Had I known this before my first time, I wouldn’t have looked forward to it with such dreaded anticipation.

All sex is sex

As mentioned above, society has a tendency to think of sex as intercourse.

Again, this alienates same-sex experiences and trivialises other sexual activities like oral, anal and masturbation.

This way of thinking is so embedded in how we understand and talk about sex that it took me a while to dismantle this way of thinking, but it’s crucial to abandon this hierarchy.

And – lazy, straight men – foreplay is sex. Stop acting like it’s a nuisance you have to quickly get rid of before sticking your dick in us.

Which brings me to my next point.

Sex is not a race

Orgasms feel incredible and provide a wide range of mental and physical benefits, but, that being said, they’re not the only reason we have sex. Sex should be a whole experience and should be enjoyed even though it doesn’t end in climax, especially since the sad reality is that most hetero women don’t come from intercourse alone. Slow down, savour the experience and stop trying to hit a home run straight away. Masturbating is awesome

Women do it too.

It doesn’t make you desperate.

You shouldn’t feel guilty about it.

It’s healthy. It’s amazing.

DIY sex is more than just satisfaction, it’s an act of self-love that reinforces your own pleasure and agency in sex.

Knowing how to please yourself means knowing what you want out of a sexual experience with a partner, if you wish to have one.

STIs don’t make you dirty

Although I was lucky enough to attend a school that offered a sex ed class, all it consisted of was our teacher showing us a slide show of disease-ridden genitalia.

The aim wasn’t so much to spread awareness but rather disgust us into not having unprotected sex.

It reinforced the stigma that people with STIs are dirty and stupid for catching them in the first place, most likely from having sex with a lot of different people.

Yes, we should teach kids to use a condom and get regularly tested – this advice applies to adults too – but we should also be taught how to talk about STIs without judgement or shame.

The easier it is to talk about them without wanting to recoil, the easier it is to approach the subject with a partner should you find out you caught something.

I didn’t get my first sexual health test until six years after being sexually active because I was terrified of knowing if I had anything.

Now I get a routine check every six months even though I am in a committed relationship, and it’s something I look forward to because it’s a way to make sure I’m being safe and keeping my partner safe too.

STIs aren’t something to be happy about, but they’re also not the end of your sex life.

Literally anything about consent

It’s 2018 and most people still don’t have a clear grasp on consent.

Growing up, I had never even heard of consent, because no one taught me.

Consent isn’t just the absence of a ‘no’, it’s a voluntary, explicit and enthusiastic verbal and non-verbal ‘yes’. It can be withdrawn at any point and consenting to one activity does not mean consenting to any future activities.

Sex without consent is abuse or rape, so it’s probably the first and most important thing we should be learning when it comes to sex.

Complete Article HERE!

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MysteryVibe And The Surprisingly Difficult Challenge Of Selling Sex Toys To Men

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Sex tech startup MysteryVibe’s new penis-focused toy, the Tenuto.

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In 2016, British startup MysteryVibe made waves in the sex toy world, and the wider design and tech spaces, with its debut product, the Crescendo. A reimagining of the traditional vibrator, this flexible silicone rod with six vibrating motors, their intensities controlled via an app, promised customizability that could work for diverse body types and genders. It was not the first malleable, gender-neutral sex toy. And not every reviewer thought it lived up to its adaptable, accessible hype. But its clever yet simple innovation and sleek execution, not to mention effective marketing, made it a defining example of a new generation of smart, sensually novel, and customizable sex tech.

This year, MysteryVibe is taking a step away from anatomy-neutral malleability to try its hand at selling an explicitly penis-centric product, the Tenuto. They announced the new toy, their sophomore offering, in May, though the $130 device likely will not ship until sometime in December.

An L-shaped, flexible silicone loop similarly studded with six app-connected, variable intensity motors, the Tenuto fits onto a user’s penis in several possible ways. But no matter how one wears it, MysteryVibe suggests that it will offer a unique form of stimulation, more holistic and varied than any other male sex toy—the industry term for penis- and prostate-targeted devices—on the market now boasts. MysteryVibe co-founder and “Chief Pleasure Officer” Stephanie Alys recently told me that she thinks the Tenuto, by offering sensations people with penises may never have experienced or even conceived of before, could help men explore a satisfying new world of “pleasure-centered, versus orgasm-centered, goal-orientated sex. Slowing down, learning more about their bodies, trying new things.”

“That whole narrative,” she added, “is something we’re really keen to push forward.”

Given how limited male sex toy options are these days in both form and function—there are few offerings beyond masturbation sleeves, penis rings, and prostate massagers—the Tenuto probably will become, as MysteryVibe hopes, a category defining device. But it faces one major hurdle: Men (especially the large consumer base of cis-gendered, self-identified straight ones) notoriously do not buy many sex toys. And when they do, it is usually not because they are interested in exploring new sensations like those the Tenuto offers.

Granted, researchers haven’t probed how men engage with sex toys too deeply. Social psychologist and sex researcher Justin Lehmiller has speculated this may be because so many people only think of toys as a part of female sex and sexuality that few even consider exploring male toy usage.

Some sex store sales figures do suggest that men shop for sexual goods about as often as women. A 2014 deep dive on one chain’s sales by data journalist Jon Millward, though, showed that men mostly dominated purchases of things like condoms. Women dominated purchases of vibrating toys, the retailer’s highest selling device category. Men did dominate purchases in the lower selling anal toy category. But non-heterosexual men seemed to drive those figures, reflecting widespread and persistent stigmas around anal stimulation among straight men. Many men who bought toys that weren’t explicitly made or marketed for their gender seemingly did so for their female partners to use, whether in sex or on their own. And few women bought toys for their male partners. A 2009 survey similarly found that only a minority of American men had ever used a vibrator, and the vast majority of them only used these toys with (and likely only on) their female partners, rather than for solo fun.

When men do buy items for their own use, Millward and others have found, most seem to opt for penis rings, or other devices mostly meant to help people with erectile dysfunction get or maintain an erection. In Millward’s data, only about a fifth of his already limited pool of male consumers actually bought a device specifically made for penile stimulation. And his data came from the tail end of an apparent spike in male toy sales from the mid-2000s to the mid-2010s.

Sex culture observers have suggested any number of reasons for the anemic state of the male sex toy market, all of which probably have some merit: Most media, for instance, only depicts women as toy users—and increasingly represents them as sexually liberated souls. In the rare instances pop culture does show men using sex toys on their own, they are typically portrayed as sad sacks or weirdoes who can’t find a partner. The zeitgeist also increasingly seems to view sex toys as a vital tool for accessing female pleasure, and this pleasure as a vital component of holistic wellness, or a strong relationship. That is likely why big chain retailers like Walmart feel comfortable selling vibrators now. But the zeitgeist also insists that male sexuality and pleasure are simple, built around the quest for a quick and efficient orgasm, for which one only needs a hand and one frictional, repetitive motion. That implies that men who might want, or even need, toys for themselves are somehow deficient or deviant.

This is a fair amount of cultural and behavioral baggage for a company to push against. So I asked Alys: Why did MysteryVibe decide to move into the fraught male sex toy space in the first place? And how does the company plan to sell a novel device like the Tenuto to a limited, and likely skeptical, consumer base?

According to Alys, the MysteryVibe team decided to create Tenuto for a pretty simple reason. Their existing consumers said they wanted the company to make an explicitly male-facing toy.

Alys noted that while the Crescendo is gender-neutral, many consumers “still conceive of it as a product for people with vulvas.” That is not necessarily a problem. Many men find, through partnered or solo exploration, that they can bend even toys built explicitly for use on vulvas or in vaginas towards their wants and needs. So plenty of people who assume the Crescendo is a female-focused toy may learn, rather intuitively, that they can get some mileage out of it for their own erogenous anatomy.(Similarly, MysteryVibe points out that people with vulvas can likely still find uses for the Tenuto.) But many, if not most, men never do figure out that seemingly female-facing toys can work for them, too. “One of the core pieces of feedback we were getting from men who bought it for their partners,” Alys said, was “‘when are you going to create something for me?’”

MysteryVibe, in other words, seemed to see a clear male consumers base open to buying a high-end and novel toy for their own pleasure and exploration, like the company’s existing product, but waiting for something explicitly gendered that would, in a sense, give them permission to buy and use it.

Looking at the male sex toy space, Alys said, the MysteryVibe team realized there was plenty of room for innovation, especially by moving away from designs that try to mimic human anatomy in function and in form. Variable, unique sensations and a discreet design could together offer, as Alys put it, “something that people with penises can be proud to walk into a store, buy, and use.”

Alys seems to believe that stressing the Tenuto’s novel form(s) of stimulation can effectively draw men towards it—that many men are eager not just for a respectable company to tell them it is okay to buy a toy for their own pleasure, but for a product to encourage them to explore their bodies. “Elevating the conversation around pleasure is where we’re aiming, in terms of some of the marketing and some of the ways we’re hoping to talk to people” about the Tenuto, she explained.

However, she does acknowledge the massive gap in the way pop culture and society talk about female versus male toys and sexuality. She also seems to acknowledge that there are not as many cultural forces normalizing male toys as there have been for female toys over the past couple of decades (e.g. Sex and the City, Goop), much less cultivating a complex view of male sexuality and encouraging slow, pleasure-not-orgasm-centered self-exploration. She maintains that this exploration would be valuable for the many men who have internalized a simplistic view of male sexuality. Exploring themselves, she stresses, could clearly help men achieve new heights of personal pleasure, and learn to explore their partners’ bodies as well, leading to more satisfying sensual lives overall. But it is hard to see how the sort of pleasure exploration-focused pitch she makes for the Tenuto could push past the largely intact cultural barriers against, and stigmas around, male sex toy usage to reach the bulk of male consumers.

So perhaps unsurprisingly, while the promotional materials for the Tenuto mention novel pleasure and self-exploration, they lean just as heavily, if not more so, on the rationales men already use for buying sex toys: satisfying their female partners and managing their erectile dysfunction.

“Why use a vibrator,” one promo asks, “when you can be the vibrator” by wearing the device so some of its motors act as a clitoral stimulator during penetrative vaginal sex? This, MysteryVibe’s press release materials argue, could help men close the orgasm gap between them and their female partners. They also boast that the Tenuto’s sensations can spark blood flow, which can help men get, or maintain, an erection.

These sales points position the Tenuto as a cross between a penis ring and a vibrator, items men might already be willing to buy for partnered sex. Its inconspicuous design, seen from this perspective, further positions it as something men might feel less embarrassed to buy than existing devices that could, in combination, serve the same purpose.

For Alys, though, that messaging is just a good hook to grab people initially. She believes that the same narratives that have helped to diversify female sex toys in recent years are bleeding into discussions of male sexuality. This seems to give her faith that, after the right introduction, men will be willing to engage with, and want to buy, the Tenuto as a more revolutionary tool for exploring new types of pleasure.

She also believes that, by presenting the Tenuto in spaces that usually do not feature sex toys, like tech conferences, she can create a moment of shock in unwitting audiences that opens a door of potential for some to reconsider the role and meaning of male sex toys. Novelty and surprise may be enough to give people permission to explore the Tenuto on its own unique sensory terms.

None of this is certain, though. The question of how to overcome the cultural forces that have limited male sex toys in the past “is a lot of the stuff that we’re still trying to figure out,” Alys admitted. She added that the Tenuto alone isn’t going to tear down longstanding social-sexual stigmas, and by so doing open up new potential in the male sex toy market. “I will probably spend my entire life talking about sexuality and breaking things down and establishing new attitudes,” she said.

In that sense, Tenuto may be as much a piece of sexual activism as entrepreneurship. It is, in part at least, a MysteryVibe manifesto on the realities and needs of male sexuality. And it is a gamble on the power of a few established marketing entry points, surprise, and innovation to encourage people to engage with, and hopefully embrace, a (for many) new and complex vision of male pleasure and sexuality. It is impossible to say whether the startup’s gambit will pay off. But even if it succeeds in moving the needle slightly, it could be a major step towards a more diverse, dynamic (and lucrative) male sex toy market.

Complete Article HERE!

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Your Clitoris Is Like an Iceberg — Bigger Than You Think

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by Sarah Aswell

Who says the clitoris is pea-sized? Well, for a very long time, science did. But sometimes science gets it wrong before it gets it right.

And even when science gets it right, sexism still takes the stage and moves away the spotlight. It’s time that both men and women learn that a woman’s pleasure center isn’t a tiny nub: It’s an expansive playground, and we need to relearn the rules to having fun.

Why has the clit been left in the dark?

It’s little wonder that the penis receives the vast amount of attention in research and under the sheets. The male sexual organ isn’t just external. It’s also attached to what has historically been considered the dominant sex.

The clitoris, on the other hand, took much longer to discover, let alone correctly comprehend. It also has the unique distinction of being the only organ in the human body dedicated solely to pleasure, an amazing fact that has ironically been left neglected by science and romantic partners alike.

Dr. Sybil Lockhart, PhD, is a mom, neuroscientist, and full-time researcher at OMGYES, a website that focuses on research and content related to understanding and enhancing female pleasure. Lockhart has a few ideas as to why the clitoris has been given the cold shoulder by science.

Who says the clitoris is pea-sized? Well, for a very long time, science did. But sometimes science gets it wrong before it gets it right.And even when science gets it right, sexism still takes the stage and moves away the spotlight. It’s time that both men and women learn that a woman’s pleasure center isn’t a tiny nub: It’s an expansive playground, and we need to relearn the rules to having fun.

Why has the clit been left in the dark?

It’s little wonder that the penis receives the vast amount of attention in research and under the sheets. The male sexual organ isn’t just external. It’s also attached to what has historically been considered the dominant sex.

The clitoris, on the other hand, took much longer to discover, let alone correctly comprehend. It also has the unique distinction of being the only organ in the human body dedicated solely to pleasure, an amazing fact that has ironically been left neglected by science and romantic partners alike.

Dr. Sybil Lockhart, PhD, is a mom, neuroscientist, and full-time researcher at OMGYES, a website that focuses on research and content related to understanding and enhancing female pleasure. Lockhart has a few ideas as to why the clitoris has been given the cold shoulder by science.

“In order to get funding, researchers must often pitch their projects as solutions to problems,” she explains. “But the clitoris is not problematic. It is a pleasure enhancer!”

“We hope that in 10 or 20 years, health researchers will look back and say, wow, we knew for years how physical exercise and brain exercise improve our longevity and happiness — why didn’t we get to the clitoris sooner?” adds Lockhart.

Not only has the clitoris been largely ignored throughout history, information about it — when given — has often been partial or plainly incorrect. In the 1400s, a guide for finding witches considered the clitoris the “devil’s teat,” and any woman with one was a witch.

Even in the early 20th century, Freud was convinced a woman’s ability to orgasm was based on her psychological maturity and that only mentally healthy women could have vaginal orgasms.

Ignorance surrounding the clitoris isn’t just bad for women. It’s also bad news for the significant number of women who experience clitoral pain caused by disease or infection.

Not knowing how to talk about the clitoris — let alone not knowing how a healthy clitoris functions — harms our quality of life, our health, and even our chances at equality in general.

The good news is that the tide is shifting.

On the flip side, knowledge about the clitoris can improve lives

“What we’ve observed again and again is that as women begin to discuss their pleasure with [OMGYES] and with their sexual partners, they report more fun, improved relationships, and better orgasms,” Lockhart says.

The advent of female doctors and researchers has pushed back against the sexism of science, while general societal changes have made space for open discussion of the clit.

At the same time, new technology allows us to better see, understand, and utilize all of the clitoris.

We now know that the tiny, pea-sized body part most people think of as the clitoris is only the gland — and the tip of the iceberg.

We also know that while “clitoral orgasms” and “vaginal orgasms” were once seen as different entities, all female orgasms are technically the result of clitoral stimulation (i.e., different parts of the iceberg).

As the award-winning mini-documentary “Le Clitoris” explains, there are two 4-inch roots that reach down from the gland toward the vagina.

Le clitoris – Animated Documentary (2016) from Lori Malépart-Traversy on Vimeo.

The clitoris might also be the “woman behind the curtain” when it comes to the G-spot. A study using ultrasound found that that magical area is likely so sensitive because the clitoral root is located right behind the anterior vaginal wall.

Reclaim the clitoris and get ‘clitorate’

A growing body of knowledge and research is great. So is a slow lifting of the taboos surrounding sex, female anatomy, and female pleasure. But how can these things help you, your clitoris, and your female pleasure? Well…

Start reading. Lockhart’s research, for example, can be accessed at OMGYES, where it has been condensed into dozens of short videos.

Say goodbye to taboos. A lot of the ignorance about women’s bodies is because of taboos. It’s time to be open and honest, beginning with the realization that women’s sexual pleasure is good and healthy. Also, our ideas that tie the worth of women to whether they can orgasm solely through penile penetration? That has to go.

Check out a 3-D model. Unlike the penis, much of the clitoris is internal. You can either check out pictures in the mini-doc above or print out your own three 3-D model. (The website is in French, but you can use Google Translate to find the instructions for the 3-D printer.)

Schedule a date with yourself. “There are many different ways to touch a clitoris … just as we might prefer different combinations of menu items at a restaurant,” Lockhart says. “Learning and finding words for the particulars of how you or your lover like to be touched can take the pleasure to a whole new level.”

Get your partner involved. Even just talking with your partner about these topics can make you closer and improve your bedroom romps. Once you’re educated, educate the person or people in your life who happen to have a relationship with your clit.

Talk to your doctor. Women are turned on by many, many different things, and can orgasm in many, many different ways. Some women have trouble reaching orgasm (research puts the number around 10 percent), while others might have an issue with clitoral health. Both topics are totally normal to talk to your doctor about.

Lockhart has one last tip as well: “After the first orgasm, many women have a completely different sensitivity to touch. One wouldn’t have brisket for two courses in a row. It is well worth one’s time and energy to investigate what new dishes you or she might enjoy for dessert.”

Keep the learning inside and out

The clitoris can seem like a mystery, but the time to get a healthy understanding of it is now. Ignoring or misunderstanding the clitoris is also ignoring female health and pleasure.

And health and pleasure come from knowledge, so let’s get learning, inside and outside the bedroom. We’ve been in the dark for too long. It’s time for everyone to get clitorate.

Complete Article HERE!

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6 sex-positive YouTube channels you need to follow

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By Emma Elizabeth

These YouTubers are giving the progressive, inclusive and sex-positive sex ed we never got in school. A huge chunk of (majority straight!) women today are not having orgasms- partly because they never learned how to masturbateor that they should. Having these awesome, sex-positive resources available to young people is revolutionary. Of course we’re here for it.

Without further ado… 

1. Hannah Witton 

Sex, masturbation, sex work, contraception- when it comes to the human body, there’s little that Hannah Witton won’t discuss. Hannah works to educate her viewers about sex, relationships, and feminism. 

2. Melanie Murphy 

Melanie is your Irish Internet big sister. She’s been making quirky and awesome videos on YouTube since 2013, sharing her thoughts on body positivity, sexuality, mental health, and much more.

3. Chelsea Nichole 

Chelsea is a breath of sex-positive fresh air. Sex toys, STIs, oral sex, masturbation, period sex…homegirl covers all the bases in a way that is both matter-of-fact and judgment-free. 

4. Grace Victory 

Grace is a writer/speaker/YouTuber who discusses everything to do with sex, body-positivity, mental health and self-love in her videos. This queen started her channel because she wanted to see more people like her represented in the media- and she really wanted to make these subjects less taboo.

5. Stevie Boebi 

Stevie Boebi is a modern-day gift to us looking for progressive/sex-positive/inclusive sex ed. Stevie makes epic (and hilarious) queer, educational, and sex-positive videos about sex, dating, and relationships.

6. Rose Ellen Dix 

Married and hilarious Youtubers Rose Ellen Dix and Rosie Spaughton have captured the hearts of hundreds of thousands, and are quite literally #CoupleGoals. Rose and Rosie’s natural way of talking comfortably about sex in their relationship really shows their audience what it’s like to have a healthy sexual relationship with open and honest communication. Swoon.

Complete Article HERE!

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Norwegian elders tops in masturbation

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More than 90 per cent of Norwegian men between the ages of 60 and 75 are sexually active, as are almost 75 per cent of Norwegian women.

It may make people uncomfortable to think about it, but older people actually have an active sex life, according to a new survey that has compared the sexual habits of the elderly in four European countries.

By: Nancy Bazilchuk

Few people study the sex lives of the elderly. But once they do, they find some surprises, says Bente Træen, a professor of health psychology at the University of Oslo.

“Researchers are like other people. We are raised to think of sexuality as something for the young and the good looking,” she said. Now, she says, they know better.

Træen worked with group of European researchers to study sex among the European elderly.

Many masturbate

Træen and researchers from five other countries have compared the sexual activity of people between the ages of 60 and 75 in Norway, Denmark, Belgium and Portugal in a major study. Now the team is beginning to publish its results.

She says the group’s findings are unexpected, even for people who are accustomed to studying sexual habits.

“I am surprised at how many people are sexually active. It’s not that I’m comparing what we found to previous studies, because there aren’t that many other studies. It’s more about the societal myths we have about the elderly and sex,” she says.

Many people in the study reported that they masturbate and often have intercourse. What was also surprising was that the elderly in the study were generally satisfied with their sexuality, according to Træen.

Norwegian men and women were at the top of the list when it came to masturbation.

Fully 65 per cent of men and 40 per cent of women said they had masturbated in the previous month.

In contrast, very few Portuguese men and women say they have masturbated.

Lots of intercourse in Portugal

Men in Portugal, on the other hand, are at the top when it comes to having intercourse, according to the survey.

The Portuguese say they have intercourse one to three times a week. This is far more frequently than men in Norway, Denmark and Belgium. In these three countries, men report having intercourse about two to three times a month.

Thus, it is perhaps not surprising that Portuguese men are most satisfied with their sex life of all the men in the survey.

Nordic women in the survey reported being most satisfied with their sex life.

Træen interprets these results as reflecting the gender equality situation in the different countries.

“In Norway, women are much more used to negotiating with regards to their own sexuality. The Mediterranean countries are much more traditional when it comes to gender roles. The typical Portuguese man has access to a partner that he has intercourse with — and he is very satisfied with that. While we in the north may have intercourse less often and masturbate more, intercourse is what really matters in Portugal,” Træen said.

Poorer data from Portugal

Træen and the other researchers first conducted recruitment interviews by phone to find a representative selection of both sexually active and inactive individuals for the survey. These individuals then were sent a questionnaire by mail.

However, there was a big difference in participation from the different countries.

In Norway, 68 per cent agreed to participate. In Portugal, only a quarter of respondents contacted by phone said they would be willing to participate in the written questionnaire. Many people also changed their minds after saying yes on the phone. Træen thinks this makes for some uncertainty regarding the data from Portugal.

“The response rate in Norway was much higher than we had thought it would be. I actually expected more people to drop out of the survey. But the response rate in Denmark and Belgium response was also quite good. It’s possible that people in Portugal found some questions offensive, although we obviously tried to avoid this problem,” she said.

Desire diminishes, but does not disappear

Træen was also the main author of another recent study on older people’s sexuality. Here, researchers asked 75-year-olds in the same four countries about their sex drive as compared to ten years ago. Most people responded that it was a little less or the same.

“Sexual desire diminishes with age, but that does not mean it disappears. How satisfied you are with your sex life changes as you age. As a young person, you most appreciate the ‘gymnastic side’ of sex and pleasure related to genital contact. When you are older it’s more about having a comfortable relationship with someone, and being touched and kissed,” she said.

There is an important difference between the sexes here. Health is often what decides if men still have sexual desire, while for women, interpersonal relationships are the most decisive in determining their level of desire.

Health care systems must recognize need for sex

This new information on older people’s sexual habits shatters old myths, Træen says.

“Older people are not asexual. That means that sex must be higher on the agenda as an issue in the planning of health care for older adults,” she said.

Complete Article HERE!

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The 6 Most Common Female Sexual Fantasies and Why Women Have Them

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By Alexia LaFata

In 1973, it was believed that only men had sexual fantasies.

In fact, Cosmo even opened up a feature article that same year with, “Women do not have sexual fantasies, period. Men do.”

Much has changed since then, of course. While we still live in an age where female sexuality is more taboo than it should be, let the records show that women enjoy sex just as much as men.

Women even have sex drives so high that men may not be able to handle them, considering men have been so socialized to value their own pleasure above a woman’s.

Did you know that a man can show his orgasm face in a movie, and the movie can still be rated PG-13, but if a woman shows her orgasm face, the film is automatically bumped to R or NC-17? What does this say about how society perceives women experiencing pleasure?

It’s time we contribute to the discussion and ponder our deepest sexual fantasies.

If you’ve ever had a sexy thought pop into your head that flushed your cheeks and made you shift in your seat, know that it probably wasn’t that crazy at all. Always kinky and sometimes uncontrollable, sexual fantasies are far more common than you think.

Since these fantasies live within the unconscious mind, they sometimes go a little further than your actual body might want to — but, hey, that’s why they’re called fantasies.

1. Dominance

Matthew Hudson of Psychology Today says, “It’s been said that those who are easy-going in real life tend be dominant in the bedroom, and those with type-A personalities like to be submissive.”

In an age where men systematically rule, women fantasize about being dominant in the bedroom. Women want to have their bodies worshipped, call the shots in bed and be begged for more.

Laci Green, YouTuber and public sex educator, says it’s about a combination of being in a position of power and being desired.

In her book “Garden of Desires,” Emily Dubberley, British author and journalist who specializes in sex and relationships, notes that dominant sexual fantasies can include cheating on your boyfriend, controlling a personal erotic slave, decking out in leather and embodying a true dominatrix, or sticking to an assertive version of yourself. This fantasy focuses on the woman mainly receiving the pleasure and the man giving it to her without question.

Female sexuality is often overshadowed by a man’s desire for sex, so it’s only natural that women fantasize about being the most important person in the bedroom.

2. Submission

Submission fantasies are a surprisingly common category, and they include everything from simply giving in to the desires of a dominant man, to BDSM, to sexual assault, to rape.

These fantasies tap into the question, “To what extent is the personal political?” That is if you’re a feminist and a strong, powerful woman, why would the idea of completely submitting yourself to someone else be such a turn-on?

Green hypothesizes three main theories: Submission fantasies, specifically the most intense ones like rape, could be 1) an internalization of extreme expressions of “normal” power dynamics, 2) an extension of how our culture eroticizes aggression and violence, or 3) a guilt mechanism.

Submission means force, so women would be able to engage in wild and crazy sexual escapades without feeling weird, or a sense of guilt, about it. The idea would be that the woman tried to stop the kinky sex from happening, but the pleasure came anyway, so you can’t blame her! She’s still innocent.

This is not to suggest that women want to be raped, sexually assaulted, or give up control in life. Sex and life run on separate tracks, says Linda Alperstein, a sex therapist from San Francisco. Being spanked doesn’t mean you wish for your husband to hurt you. Real-life power struggles, Alperstein says, are not reflected in sex.

In some ways, according to Dr. Leon F. Seltzer, a woman putting herself in a sexually submissive role is the ultimate level of control because it’s such a stark variant from what she would do in real life.

The element of control here is having the choice to make such an extreme decision. Forced submission, as is the case with real rape or sexual assault, is obviously not a choice. In a submission fantasy, however, a woman wants to be submissive. In other words, it is her choice to do so.

3. Watch or Be Watched

Ah, voyeurism and exhibitionism. Whether you’re doing it in a crowded nightclub, in front of a large window so your neighbors can get a show or watching other couples get it on, women fantasize about sex that includes a witness. This can even include filming yourself and creating a mini-porno to watch later.

Dr. Laura Berman says it’s all about the adrenaline that comes with the fear of being caught in the act. I’d say it’s like an extreme version of that because, well, in some cases you’ve been caught.

Exhibition-style sex can also provide a huge ego boost. Dr. Drew Ramsey, a psychiatrist at Columbia University Medical Center, told Maxim that “there’s a sense of power that can be derived from seducing someone at a distance.”

Embodying a porn star and having someone watch you and get super turned on is enough to make the even shyest girls get freaky. It’s all about being in control of someone else’s pleasure.

4. Role-Playing

This can include simple or complicated role-playing. Simple role-playing can mean just a change in your personality or embodiment of someone else without getting dressed up.

Complex role-playing, such as dressing up as a teacher/student, nurse/patient, or even stripper/CEO, involves acting and shamelessness.

Feeling comfortable in real life, after telling your partner he’s overdue for a check up and you have to examine his prostate, is the key to role-playing fantasies.

This includes another element of submission and dominance. It’s about taking a relationship between two people where one has more power than the other (nurse and patient, for example, where the patient is at the mercy of the person taking care of him), making the power dynamic in said relationship extreme, and eroticizing it.

It’s also about the anticipation. You and your partner are coming together creatively to set a mood, set up an atmosphere and anticipate the pleasure; all of this preparation heightens the excitement for the main event.

As we know, anticipation increases levels of excitement, so taking the time to construct and arrange the scene creates a big script to lead to the finale.

5. Atypical One-On-One Session

How does sex with a woman or a celebrity sound? What about with an ex or a stranger? Single women and women in relationships alike often fantasize about these things.

These fantasies don’t mean women in relationships love their partner any less or that they’ll necessarily act upon those fantasies; in fact, many healthily married couples fantasize about having sex with other people.

Dr. Joyce Brothers says this kind of fantasy is a “perfectly legitimate way to add variety to sex,” since it spices things up without messing up the monogamy. As long as it remains a fantasy and doesn’t lead to infidelity, it’s okay.

Celebrity

Ryan Reynolds is hot. No further explanation needed here.

Girl-on-Girl

Many women fantasize about having sex with another woman. This doesn’t necessarily mean they’re lesbians. Green points out that these kinds of fantasies mean you can appreciate a woman’s body and curves just as much as society does.

It also means women know that another woman would understand her body perfectly and would know exactly how to get her to climax.

An Ex

As far as an ex goes, Dr. Berman says it’s normal to fantasize about an ex who may have rocked you sexually, loved you and then left you behind. In this case, it’s the familiarity that turns you on. You know your ex knows exactly how to push your buttons.

Stranger

Women are turned on by the idea of having sex with a stranger. It’s about the spontaneity and the fact that you’ll never see this person again.

Green says that women often feel inhibited in their sex lives and unable to have casual sex without social repercussions, so in this fantasy, a woman can let her freak flag fly without shame or guilt. This person doesn’t know her, and she doesn’t know him. No judgment here.

6. Group sex

Ménage a trois, anyone? Group sex, says Dubberley, is appealing because it would literally be very stimulating. Multiple hands would be touching you all over, in all of your erotic zones, whether the hands are those of strangers or of other women to whom you’re not normally attracted.

About 15 percent of women fantasize about group sex, which means it seems to offer the greatest division between emotions and pleasure.

It’s a widely accepted idea that women need to feel emotions towards someone to have sex with them. However, since a woman is probably not going to be in love with everyone she’s orgy-ing with, this fantasy breaks that accepted stereotype.

Complete Article HERE!

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Mutual masturbation could help end orgasm inequality

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May is National Masturbation Month, so we’re celebrating by exploring the many facets of self-love.

[S]o, your sexual partner just came and you didn’t. It’s infuriating, it’s frustrating, and it’s — rather dismally — all too common during heterosexual sex.

I’m talking about the orgasm gap — the inequality in men and women’s sexual pleasure, which affects an alarming number of women. A whopping 95 percent of straight men always come during sex, but a mere 65 percent of heterosexual women can say the same, per a study by Chapman University.

But, save living in a state of perpetual sexual frustration and faking your orgasms for the rest of your days, what exactly can be done about it? Well, these two words could bring us closer to closing the orgasm gap: Mutual masturbation (a.k.a. masturbating with your sexual partner).

Dan Savage, sex advice columnist and host of the Savage Lovecast, told Mashable he’s long been “an advocate for mutual masturbation” in heterosexual relationships and for “straight people broadening their definition of what qualifies as sex.” And, given that a recent study by Indiana University found that heterosexual women experience the fewest orgasms, it appears something is definitely amiss in the realm of straight sex.

Savage believes that straight couples should take a leaf out of gay people’s books when it comes to bringing mutual masturbation into the bedroom: “A lot of the sex that gay people have is mutual masturbation, which a lot of straight people — guys in particular — don’t think counts as sex, or is some sort of tragic consolation prize.” Savage says we need to reframe the way we view the concept of mutual masturbation, and see it as “the main event” rather than “a pity-not-fuck.” “If straight people approach mutual masturbation as a rich and rewarding form of sexual expression it would improve their sex lives so much,” says Savage.

Researchers believe that sex education that fails to teach sexual pleasure, in addition to a lack of communication between sexual partners are reasons for the gap. While it’ll take a long time to remedy these causes at their root, mutual masturbation combines non-verbal communication with a learning experience about a partner’s individual needs.

Savage says if guys watch their girlfriends masturbate, they’ll see “what it looks like when she makes herself come,” and what is takes to get there. For 75 percent of women, it takes more than vaginal penetration alone to get there. “That’s not gonna get them there, you need additional, direct, focused stimulation that a vibrator, a finger, a tongue can provide,” Savage says.

“It really helps for men to learn a woman’s particular needs when it comes to stimulation, and what she needs on a plateau before orgasm, and what it looks like when she reaches the point of orgasmic inevitability, so that he can be a better partner to her,” says Savage. “The only way for him to see that is through masturbating together.”

Watch and learn

How exactly should sexual partners go about incorporating mutual masturbation into their sex lives? Heather Corinna founder of Scarleteen, an inclusive sex and relationships education site for young people—says women need to make sure mutual masturbation is “really about what feels good to them.” That might sound obvious, but this is to ensure that women masturbating in front of male partners isn’t “just another way to give a partner a sexual performance for *their* benefit.” Corinna says men should observe their partners masturbating, and “take notes.”

For many people, the very idea of masturbating in front of another human being is daunting. Corinna says that’s because “there’s still so much cultural shame with masturbation,” but it’s important to keep in mind that this shame comes largely from the “same places that don’t support sex as being about pleasure for anyone, especially women.”

But, in order for the orgasm gap to be completely fixed, Corinna says we also need “some changes in how women’s sexual desire is treated, including by partners.” Mutual masturbation isn’t a performance, it’s an opportunity for women to show men what they need in bed.

Blindfold your partner

How do we move past any shame and nervousness we might feel? Savage has some advice that he’s given to women before, which has worked. First, he recommends closing the door when masturbating while their partner is at home, so there’s someone in the same house who’s aware of them masturbating. Next time, “bring them in the room with you but blindfold them so they can’t look at you, and you can’t look in their eyes and read their expressions and how they’re perceiving you,” says Savage. After half a dozen times of doing this, take the blindfold off. By this point, Savage says you’ll have “acclimated” to having another person with you when you masturbate.

“The first couple times they don’t touch you, or maybe you lay on opposite sides of the bed and you’re just aware of their presence,” says Savage. He suggests sitting on your partner when you masturbate, and getting them to touch your breasts while you touch yourself. “You will get to a point where you will want them to see,” says Savage.

Try phone sex

Still feeling vulnerable? Corinna recommends letting a partner know if you need “some extra TLC or support” or even “a wild cheering section.” “If you feel extra nervous, trying a half-step like phone sex where you are masturbating but not sharing the visual experience might help you build some trust and comfort,” they say.

Watch gay porn

Savage says he tells callers to his show to watch gay porn. “I say this to straight guys all the time: you want your girlfriend to come during intercourse? Watch gay porn and look what the guy getting fucked is doing. He’s jacking himself off,” he says.

Not only that, gay porn can also provide a valuable lesson in the art of being unselfconscious when masturbating in front of a partner. “What you always see in gay porn is guys rolling around with each other, stroking each other, touching themselves, incorporating self-touch into the touch from the other person that they’re getting,” he says. The “completely unselfconscious” mutual masturbation in gay porn shows “it doesn’t mean your partner isn’t attractive or pleasing to you.”

“In fact, you’re kind of masturbating about them while they’re right there,” says Savage.

Whichever way you look at it, mutual masturbation gives you the power to take this pleasure disparity into your own hands. The tools are quite literally at your fingertips.

Complete Article HERE!

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Masturbation Tips for your Queerest, Sexiest Spring Ever

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Masturbation, more than any other sex act, is a time to be completely selfish and all about yourself.

By Cameron Glover

[M]ay is here, which means that it is finally National Masturbation Month! You may have seen the memes or innuendo-laced content swirling around social media, but this month is more important than you may know. Masturbation Month has evolved to become one of the most ambitious nationwide efforts to create more inclusive, welcoming sex education.

The month actually has political roots: it was started back in 1995 in San Francisco as a response to the forced resignation of the first Black U.S. Surgeon General, Joycelyn Elders. Elders gave a speech for the United Nations World AIDS Day in 1994, where a member of the audience asked her about “masturbation’s potential for discouraging early sexual activity.” Yeah, you read that right. Her response (which was: “I think it is something that is part of human sexuality and a part of something that perhaps should be taught”) caused such a backlash that it led to her forced resignation.

While this instance highlights the unaddressed and still unresolved issues of misogynoir within this country’s healthcare and politics, it also makes us even more aware of how access to sexuality education remains inadequate. Following the incident with Elders, a local sex toy and education shop, Good Vibrations, continued to push for a conversation around Elder’s forced resignation and the importance of masturbation.

Over twenty years later, there’s still heavy stigma and shame around masturbation. This is especially true for marginalized people, who have dealt with a disproportionate lack of access to sexuality resources that include them.

Here are a few tips to help make this Masturbation Month the best yet:

Set The Mood

Masturbation gets a bad rep — most people see it as a downgrade from sex with a partner, when that couldn’t be further from the truth. Masturbation/solo sex sessions/whatever you want to call it can be a sacred, special practice. If you’re having trouble getting into the mindset of masturbation as sex, trying incorporating the same things that you do when you prepare for sex with a partner. Wear that lingerie that makes you feel desirable and sexy; put on your favorite scents; even read your favorite sexy novel or erotic fanfiction.

No matter the method, take the time to have a ritual to make the experience as special as if you were preparing to have an experience with a partner. Masturbation can be an important part of showing yourself self-love, so why not honor that?

Choose The Right Lube

If there’s anything that you should incorporate immediately into your masturbation (or sex in general) routine, it should be bringing in the lube. Now despite what you may think, lube isn’t only for if you have a problem with lubrication, it can actually help intensify sensation and increase pleasure, which is exactly what we want during a solo session. Even if getting a new sex toy isn’t an option (and we’ll get to those in a minute), new lube can be more affordable and is a good way to spice things up without going too far out of your comfort zone.

I suggest that everyone have both a water-based lube and a silicone-based lube — I recommend this one for your silicone option and that one for the water-based lube. If you do have sex toys, not every toy can be used with each lube; as a rule of thumb, silicone toys should only be used with water-based lube as silicone breaks down silicone. Try different brands to see which feels right for you.

Switch Up the Method

If you’re someone who has sex or masturbates frequently, there can often be the issue of being less stimulated by the same old positions. An easy solution for this can be to just switch it up! Yes, it’s good to know which go-to positions or angles can get you off in a pinch, but masturbation is a special time where exploration is actually encouraged. Try using slower methods — use your hands and fingers to slowly build up pleasure in less-sensitive areas, followed by focus on areas with a higher concentration of nerve endings, like the clitoris, the head of the penis, or the anus.

Invest in a New Toy

If you’re financially able, investing in a good, quality sex toy can be a huge improvement for your solo sex sessions. For people with vulvas, I highly recommend a G-spot vibrator like the OVO E3, but brands like njoy and Fun Factory have quality, reasonably priced toys for a variety of interests.

My girl Sophie does the best monthly roundups on when good toys go on sale. Do your research, have fun, and make sure to

Have Fun!

Seriously. Sex and so much of our lives can be heavy and serious. Masturbation, more than any other sex act, is a time to be completely selfish and all about yourself. What gets you off? What makes you feel sexy? Lean into that and don’t forget to enjoy yourself.

Complete Article HERE!

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Men who masturbate often have better sex lives

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May is National Masturbation Month

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[T]here’s no shame in masturbating.

It’s a stress reliever, it’s the only form of entirely safe sex, and, as new research notes, it might actually make you better at sex with another person.

Sex toy brand Tenga have revealed that men who masturbate weekly are 10% more confident in their own sexual performance than those who masturbate less often.

Men who masturbate weekly or more often are also 12% more satisfied with the quality of their orgasm, and 6% more confident in their own body.

Tenga surveyed 2,000 UK men for the results, asking them about their solo sex habits and their experiences with other people.

They found that 96% of British men masturbate, and that the average person discovers masturbation at age 15.

The top three reasons why we masturbate are to achieve pleasure, to relieve sexual tensions, and to de-stress. Other popular reasons include to aid sleep, to deal with boredom, their partner isn’t up for sex, and to help improve sexual performance.

Of course, this study only shows a positive correlation between masturbation and improved sexual satisfaction and confidence in your own body. What’s not clear is a cause and effect relationship.

It’s possible that men who are more sexually confident are more comfortable masturbating more, or that men who are comfortable in their bodies tend to be more open to exploring themselves sexually, rather than the other way round.

But what we do know is the many, many benefits of masturbation for all genders – stress relief, the ability to learn what gets you off, and the empowerment of being able to give yourself pleasure.

Alix Fox, sex and relationships educator and ambassador for Tenga, commented: ‘It doesn’t surprise me at all that male masturbation goes – ahem – hand in hand with being a better lover!

‘Guys who regularly take time to pleasure themselves and appreciate their bodies are more likely to feel comfortable and confident in their own skins.

‘This in turn means they’re more likely to be relaxed when playing with a partner.

‘It’s a lot easier to pay attention to the sensual signals someone’s giving off; to be fully immersed and present in a shared moment; to be switched on to your lover’s needs and turned on yourself if you’re not distracted by getting hung up on your own hang ups.

‘A regular masturbator is more likely to have been experimental in their solo sessions, too. They may well have discovered a broader range of erogenous zones and stimulation techniques that make them tick. They may even have tried some toys.

‘This greater self-awareness and open-minded attitude – honed via testing new things out alone – makes for more exciting, creative partnered sex.

‘The more men discover how their own bodies can feel wonderful in myriad ways, the more they are likely to try to bring that same liberated sense of adventure and those same fresh thrills to their lovers.’

Complete Article HERE!

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Masturbating has a number of health benefits for women too, so why aren’t we talking about them?

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May is National Masturbation Month

By Erika Lust

[T]he idea that women enjoy sex still hasn’t quite reached societal acceptance. There is no purer example of this than the taboo which surrounds a woman enjoying the pleasure of masturbating.

Masturbation is widely accepted as an essential part of health and hygiene – for men.

Women’s reproductive health is a politicised and much-discussed topic, with conversation ranging from the accessibility of birth control to the necessity of abortion clinics. The discussions focus mainly on preventing pregnancy, rather than a woman’s own sexual well-being and pleasure.

By ignoring the health benefits of masturbation for women – reduced stress, sleep induction, endorphin production, increased resistance to infection, decreased anxiety levels – and focusing mainly on protection, the stigma around female masturbation strengthens and consequently so does the idea that women receive sex, as opposed to enjoy it.

Even referring to the act as “female masturbation” implies it is something separate and not normal – there’s masturbation, and there’s “female masturbation”.

The stereotype of the women who masturbates

Society has long decreed women should only exhibit passive feelings towards sex. The same double standard that exists for dating and having sex with multiple people exists for masturbation. This stereotype of what type of woman masturbates is not only incredibly false but another toxic form of slut-shaming.

Men are encouraged to masturbate, which allows them to explore their bodies and find out what makes them feel good. When women are afraid to masturbate they are robbed of this experience, they don’t know how to make themselves orgasm and they don’t feel as comfortable telling their partner what they like.

Many women have their first sexual experience with another person, but most men have theirs with themselves. So from the very beginning, women learn about sex and pleasure in relation to another person, rather than something they can do for themselves.

End the control of women’s bodies

If women learn how to pleasure themselves without a man, it threatens to undo the patriarchal structure of our society. Our patriarchal society which attaches so much fear and fascination to female sexuality. What is more threatening to the male ego than a woman who can please herself?

It’s time to throw away the shame surrounding masturbation. The stigma isn’t going to end until women speak openly about it. So if you watch an amazing porn film or have fun with a new sex toy, share your discovery with your friends.

By talking about it we can break the misogynistic control and repression of the female body. And if we can bring masturbation into the broader discourse around women’s health, maybe we can bring a larger change in society’s views of women.

Complete Article HERE!

 

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