Lube, Butt Plugs, and Bondage, Oh My!

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Just another day at your friendly neighborhood sex shop

By: Emma Chekroun

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

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

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

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

Not Just a Job

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Funny Moments

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

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

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

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

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

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

There’s a Whole World Out There

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Complete Article HERE!

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The Psychological Benefits of Sex Toys

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

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

Eliminating shyness

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

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

“Cure” for sexual dysfunction

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

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

Great sex equals a great relationship

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

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

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

They just make you feel good

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

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

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

Complete Article HERE!

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What’s So ‘Indecent’ About Female Pleasure?

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

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

By Valeriya Safronova

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Complete Article HERE!

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The sex trends experts predict will be huge in 2019

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By Ellen Scott

You might not think that sex has trends.

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

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

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

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

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

Open relationships and polyamory

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

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

Sex dolls

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

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

Artificial Intelligence

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

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

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

Being single

Blame Ariana Grande.

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

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

Male pleasure

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

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

New sensations

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

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

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

Complete Article HERE!

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The 7 Rules of a Healthy Long-Distance Sex Life

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Sometimes a long-distance relationship is unavoidable. Here are some expert tips and clever tech we suggest to keep an intimate relationship lively and hot from miles away.

Couple Apps

Tristen Weedmark, Global Passion Ambassador for vibrator company We-Vibe, recommends that long-distance partners look into Avocado or Couple, apps that both offer multiple ways for couples to connect in daily life. They are multi-purpose apps with built-in capabilities for partners, such as sharing sexy photos, working simultaneously on doodles, sending virtual “kisses,” or coordinating calendars and to-do lists.

Lay the Ground Rules

There are so many different options for connecting remotely. Texting, photo chats, live video, and phone calls are just a few options, and each comes with its pros and cons. “Figure out what works best for you in an LDR,” says Weedmark. “For some it might be constant texting throughout the day, while others prefer long phone calls a few times a week.” Mix and match your options and see what sticks. Once you can settle on a style that suits you both, you might be amazed at how multi-faceted LDRs can be.

Making Memories

Just because you’re separated doesn’t mean you’re not part of each other’s lives. Take the time to celebrate special days, like birthdays, anniversaries, or life achievements in ways that are memorable. Send cards, flowers, or homemade gifts the old-fashioned way. To keep track of past efforts and future events, consider the two-person messenger app Twyxt, which auto-generates a relationship journal from your messages and allows users to make a “Keepsake” collection of their favorite messages and photos.

Rules of Sexting

A couple can be great at texting, calling, and sending presents while skimping on more intimate ways to relate. “Without the regular sexual contact that many couples take for granted, you may start to feel more like friends rather than intimate partners,” says Weedmark. The trick here, she says, is to develop intimacy in other ways, which comes down to being more straightforward about your desires and emotions. It’s also probably time to boost your virtual sex skills. Learn how to avoid saving sexy pics and video to the cloud and be careful not to sext anyone you don’t mean to. Then, try something new with your partner.

Toys

There are many sex toys that allow couples to pleasure each other from afar. Weedmark’s company has the We-Vibe Sync, which is an app-enabled, adjustable vibrator that allows a woman’s partner to control the toy while also sexting or chatting in the app. Toys like this can help make partners feel more in tune with their partner during long-distance sex.

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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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Sex Toys For Men:

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Are They Taking Over The World?

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The sex tech industry is booming and you’re the last one to know. How do you feel about that? If I were you, I’d feel lame as hell. So, why not do something about it? They’re all gonna laugh at you either way. At least you’ll be having back-to-back orgasms while the nay-sayers snicker behind your back.

Our beloved gods of good sex have bestowed upon us a myriad of perverted pleasure products that pique every nook and cranny of our depraved interests. It’s time we took advantage of that. In today’s world, it’s possible to find a male sex toy that can do just about anything you can imagine. In fact, some manufacturers still know how to surprise me, believe it or not.

As John James, the Sex Toy Expert, I know all about sex tech and the products that have come out of its catacombs in the last few years. I’ve made it my life’s mission to “stay on top” of every sex toy I possibly could (pun most definitely intended). The results haven’t always been pretty but they’ve almost always been fun.

What Is Sex Tech?

I’m a gentleman and a scholar but even I don’t know the actual definition of “sex tech”. My best guess is that is has something to do with sex toys and technology. As far as I’m concerned, they can fuck off with their technical jargon. For our purposes, the term “sex tech” refers to any sex toy or arousal product that utilizes some form of technology in its design, features and/or functionality. Got it?

What Kind of Toys Are We Talking about Here?

One of the first questions I get when introducing someone to sex tech is, “So, what kinds of toys use technology like that?” I suppose it’s because most people only know about the traditional stuff, having little to no experience with the world of luxury brands and tech-savvy features. That’s okay though, because ole J.J. is here to help.
First of all, there are 5 main types of male sex toys that generally have a techie component or two. Know them and find your way to some of the best orgasms you’ve ever had. Ignore them and keep beating your meat like your granddad.

  • Masturbators
    Known for their durability and simplicity, handheld masturbators allow for manual manipulation of your penis and a fully customizable experience for you and/or your lover. Often made with pre-programmed speed or intensity settings and graced with the ability to connect via Bluetooth or internet for a real-time sex session, today’s masturbator isn’t the simple pocket pussy of yesteryear.
  • Automatic Blowjob Machines
    Once I tried an auto-blow device for the first time I started to wonder why the sex toy industry even bothered making anything else. These things are amazing and I’ll tell you why: Not only do they feel almost exactly like a real deep-throat knob-job but they also work without manual manipulation and can (sometimes) link up to other devices. While some masturbators do that too, only automatic blowjob machines simulate the kind of shameless, enthusiastic head you have to pay good money for.

FUN FACT: Many masturbators and auto-blow machine models come with orifices and/or skin-like sleeves that have been molded after famous porn stars.

  • Torsos
    If you want to get REAL nasty, go for a humanoid torso that has tech-friendly features like touch-sensitive controls, sync-motion, vibration and Bluetooth connectivity. Among the most high-tech (and most expensive) male sex toys on the market, torsos are also among the most realistic in terms of visuals and can sometimes be have their hyper-humanistic skins and canals warmed.
  • Prostate Massagers
    There are a lot of p-spot stimulation toys out there that are designed with high-tech features and pleasure-seeking settings. Although usually not as futuristic as the auto-blow machines or the torsos, prostate and perineum massagers come in all shapes and sizes from beginner to pro. The higher-end models can be synced to Bluetooth, smart phone apps or other toys for an interactive or long-distance party.
  • Cock Rings 
    A staple of the modern-day bedroom in my humble opinion, the cock ring is a must-have for any contemporary pervert with something to prove. A good high-tech cock ring can be controlled via wireless remote or smart phone app, plus it’s generally rechargeable and waterproof. Made for discreet guys who like safe restriction and convenient kink, well-made cock rings with high-tech features bring out the animal in any man.

The Final Verdict

Doesn’t it feel so much better to be “in the know” about male sex tech and the options that currently flood the market? I know I feel much better having schooled you on what’s up. If variety is the spice of life, then an existence without several high-tech sex toys must be an extremely bland one. I, for one, have better taste than that.

Complete Article HERE!

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How To Have Fantastic Shower Sex

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By GiGi Engle

There seems to be a never-ending quest to conquer shower sex, and the number of tips are almost endless. That’s probably because, while sex in the shower looks so hot and easy on television, it’s harder than it seems.

To be fair, there are a couple of reasons why penetrative shower sex is objectively difficult: It’s dangerous and there is no lubrication. You think that one-legged standing sex position is going to work out for you and then … it really doesn’t. You wind up with this awkward, dry humping and grinding situation that often ends in frustration and general angst.

So is having good sex in the shower even worth trying? The answer: Yep! Fantastic and wonderful shower sex is possible, you just have to know what you’re doing.<

Intercourse is hard, so do other things instead

Fact: The shower is slippery. With all that soap and water on tile or linoleum, you’re very likely to take a tumble if you decide to have penetrative sex. How can you expect to have an orgasm with one leg in the air, praying to the high heavens that you won’t fall and break your leg? It’s just not practical.

Instead of making P in the V sex the end-all-be-all of shower sex success, do other things instead. Have your partner stand with his back to you and reach around for a handy. The dominance is intoxicating. Bend down and suck on her nipples and touch her clitoris with your hand.

We have to stop putting pressure on ourselves to “get it in.” This makes shower sex less fun and ultimately a lot less satisfying.

Don’t rush it.

Enjoy the shower itself. Wash each other. Shampoo your partner’s hair and give them a head massage. Let them wash your back and shoulders. Showering can be very sensual even without sex so lean into that romantic aspect of the experience. There is a kind of primal urge that comes from cleaning your partner. Just look at monkeys picking bugs out of each other’s fur.

Listen to the sound of the water, smell the lovely soaps, and take your time to simply be with your partner. Showering together is basically foreplay with zero effort on your part.

Get comfortable with making out under the water

It should come as no surprise that, in the shower, there is going to be water everywhere. It’s going to run down your face and over your eyes, and probably into your mouth when you start kissing. Don’t let this deter you, let it be fuel for a steamy, wet makeout session.

Haven’t you ever heard of making out under waterfalls and all that other romantic movie stuff? It’s like that. These are going to be wet kisses so, get down with it. Yes, you might have to spit out water occasionally, but this just comes with the territory.

Feel the water running over your body. Lick it off of each other’s chests. Long showers are the best. Kiss and enjoy.

Try some standing sex positions if you’re brave enough

If you insist on having intercourse, there are definitely some positions that are better than others. We have a complete guide right here. Most comfortable for shower sex-ing are a three-legged stand and the 90 Degree Angle. For the 90 Degree Angle, if you’re on the receiving end, be sure your partner has something to hold onto with one hand. Again, slippery = dangerous.

Remember, this is not the only thing that makes shower sex valid. If you start having intercourse only to realize it isn’t working for you, have some hand-sex, oral sex, or any other kind of sexual play you feel like. Don’t force it. That isn’t fun for anyone.

Silicone and oil-based lube are your best friends

There are plenty of amazing (and not so amazing) lubes out there. You want to be sure whichever you choose is paraben, petrochemical, and glycerin free. When in doubt, water-based lubes are your best bet for sex. But, in the shower, water-based lubes don’t have the staying power you need.
Opt instead for a silicon or oil-based lube. These lubes hold up against the water test and will keep things smooth and slippery during shower friskiness.

If you go for silicone, we love Babelube Silicone from Babeland. If oil-based is more your style, you can use something all natural like 100 percent organic coconut oil or almond oil. If you’d prefer an oil-based brand, we’re big on Boy Butter in the original formula.

Just keep in mind that if you’re using condoms, oil-based lubes are a no-go. Oil is incompatible with latex and can break down the material, leading to breakage. With condoms, stick to silicone lube.

Don’t forget the toys

The golden rule of sex toy owners used to be: If it has a motor, don’t submerge it in water. Luckily, this is no longer the case for many a vibrator. Many companies have waterproof sex toys that are not only bomb for shower sex, but can even be taken into the bathtub and dipped under the water completely. It’s pretty revolutionary.

We have a bunch of favorites, but we love the We-Vibe Nova for a combination of G-spot and clitoral stimulation and the Lelo Lily for palm-sized, clitoral fun.

Complete Article HERE!

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Sex guide for care home residents and nurses issued

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– including advice on sex toys and porn

– including advice on sex toys and porn

By Marie Claire Dorking

A sex guide advising nurses how to help senior and elder patients watch porn and use sex toys has been given out to care homes.

The leaflet circulated by the Royal College of Nursing also covers the topics of masturbation and extra-marital affairs.

The new guidance was  produced to help nurses and care staff advise on the “taboo subject” of the sex lives of the older generation.

The brochure, called Older People in Care Homes: Sex, Sexuality and Intimate Relationships, has been developed to help nursing staff “work effectively with issues of sexuality, intimate relationships, sexual expression and sex” with people living in homes in “a professional, sensitive, legal and practical way”.

“Fundamentally, people who move to live in a care home should be able to have the same rights, choices and responsibilities they enjoyed at home provided that these do not impinge upon the rights of others in the home,” the 44-page guide states.

“Care home staff should strive to achieve a balance between an individual’s right to privacy and control with the need for care and observation, for example, residents remaining in bedrooms undisturbed or with locked doors and staff waiting to be invited before entering,” it continues.

The guide states that: “sexuality remains a fundamental aspect of being human throughout life. It encompasses gender identities and roles, sexual orientation, intimacy, sexual expression and sexual acts.

It goes on to say that sexuality also influences “identity, self-image, self-concept and self-worth. It also affects mental health, physical health, social relationships and quality of life.”

The leaflet sites case study examples of real patients and the problems they have encountered when it comes to sexual activity within their care home including an OAP who was refused help with masturbation because staff “felt ill-equipped to deal skilfully” with the request.

Another case study explained how a resident had ask to watch porn in his bedroom. The guide noted that patient “should be supported” in accessing “the entertainment” he desired.

Commenting on the guide, RCN spokeswoman Dawne Garrett told the Daily Express: “Just because people live in a care home doesn’t mean they lose the same rights, choices and responsibilities they once enjoyed in their home.”

The fact is that people’s sex lives don’t suddenly come to an end when they reach the age of 70, or even 80. <

And actually research suggests many of the older generation are likely enjoying more sex than their younger counterparts.

A 2009 study, National Social Life, Health and Ageing Project (NSHAP), conducted by a team of researchers at the University of Chicago, found that almost three quarters (74%) of women aged 75 to 85 believed satisfactory sex was essential to maintaining a relationship, while 72% of men felt the same.

The same study found that over a third of men (38%) and almost a fifth (17%) of women within this age bracket were sexually active. And why the hell not?

Turns out getting jiggy can have health benefits for the older generation too in terms of giving their brain a boost.

Researchers from Coventry and Oxford University in the UK have found a link between frequent sexual activity and improved brain function in older adults.

The study, published in in The Journals of Gerontology, Series B: Psychological and Social Sciences, involved quizzing 73 people aged 50-83 on how often, on average, they’d had sex over the past 12 months. Participants also answered questions about their general health and lifestyle.

The 28 men and 45 women also took part in a standardised test, which is typically used to measure different patterns of brain function in older adults, focussing on attention, memory, fluency, language and visuospatial ability.

Complete Article HERE!

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Holiday sex toy shopping dos and don’ts

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By Lucky Tomaszek

Like it or not, we’ve entered the annual period of seasonal gift giving. Hanukkah begins Sunday, December 2. St. Nick’s follows on Thursday, December 6 (leave your shoes out on the night of the 5th). Next up is Winter Solstice on Friday, December 21. And then we wrap up the traditional gifting holidays with Christmas on Tuesday, December 25. Basically, if you’ve got a romantic partner in your life, you’re probably going to be doing a little shopping real soon.

Each year, the staff of the Tool Shed spends about six weeks helping people navigate the fun—but sometimes tricky—adventure of purchasing sex toys for another person. Giving overtly sexy gifts has an etiquette all its own. There are some obvious things (like don’t give an acquaintance a set of vibrating nipple clamps) that are basically common sense. But there are some less obvious things, too. Read on for some important gift giving dos and don’ts from Tool Shed staffers…

Don’t limit yourself to obvious sex toys, i.e. dildos, vibrators, butt plugs, etc. Shy or modest folks may recoil from a gift so blatant. You may also find that a person is just not interested in owning or using a sex toy. And if you’re in a new relationship, getting a sex toy out of the blue can feel like a lot of pressure.

Do remember how many different ways there are to be sexy. TS staffer Stephanie says, “For my sister, I got soap and socks with a gift card. It encouraged her to come back to the store and shop for herself.” Massage oil, books, underwear, and truth or dare games are also fun ideas.

Don’t just buy the most expensive vibrator you can find. You wouldn’t believe how often this happens! A customer will walk in the store, browse briefly, and pick out a vibrator in the $179-$219 price range. Sometimes they’ll ask, “So, is this the best one?” And we’ll try to explain that there’s no best vibrator for everyone. It’s a very individual thing. But because our culture equates cost with quality, they buy the toy anyway.

Do pick a toy that is body safe and reliable, but also that’s likely to make your partner happy. Different things are important to different people. Some people love vibration, while other people find it distracting or annoying. Some people want something small and discreet, but some folks feel that bigger is better. Even color can make or break someone’s relationship with a sex toy.

Don’t buy a sex toy to fulfill your own fantasy, especially if you’ve never discussed it with your partner. For instance, TS staffer Ashe says, “Unless you’ve had a few conversations with your partner about anal play, don’t surprise your partner with an anal toy.” This is also true for BDSM related gifts like paddles, masks, and bondage supplies. New items for activities that you haven’t talked about before can feel less like a special treat and more like an ambush.

Do pick a toy based on what you know about your partner’s pleasure and previous sex toy experience. If the two of you have had your eye on something, but have held back because it seemed too extravagant for a random Tuesday in June, now’s a great time to pick it up. TS staffer Kayla adds, “If you haven’t tried mojoupgrade.com, it might be a great and somewhat subtle way of finding a new gift idea that you would both enjoy. This website allows you and a sexual partner to choose what you both want or desire, then emails you the areas in which you overlap.”

Don’t assume that you’ll get to participate in the using of the sex toy. If it’s a gift, then the recipient gets to decide how they’re going to use it. Before you buy something, ask yourself who will really benefit from the gift. If you want to get your boyfriend a cockring so that his erection will last longer, talk about that ahead of time. If you’re dying to use a vibrator on your girlfriend because you want to see her reaction, be up front about that.

Do give a gift because you want your partner to be happy, and to have some tools to make that easier. While there are definitely toys that are designed for couples to use together, gifts should be things that will bring joy to the receiver.

Don’t use gift giving to make a joke or intentionally cause someone to feel embarrassed. As Kayla wisely says, “Avoid gag gifts or gifts meant as a prank. They may seem funny at the time, but the money you’ve spent could go towards a gift they’ll definitely enjoy, without all the stigma and shame wrapped up around it. Consider getting a hilarious card or funny wrapping paper instead, and have the gift either be meaningful or practical.”

Do pick up supplies and accessories to help the recipient enjoy the gift. That could mean batteries, lube, locking toy box, or instructional book. Consider charging up rechargeable toys so they’re ready right out of the wrapping paper. Make sure you know how to clean and care for the toys, and share that information when you give the gift.

Complete Article HERE!

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How to Use A Wand Vibrator During Sex

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By GiGi Engle

It’s no secret that a wand vibrator is the cornerstone of any notable sex toy collection. There is a reason why Hitachi wands have been best sellers since their advent in the 70s: They deliver powerful, insanely awesome orgasms.

The wand is the clit-whisperer. No matter who you are or what you like, almost every woman will agree that a wand vibrator is the best thing in the world.

Did you know that the love you have for your wand can be a part of partner sex and not just your favorite masturbation accomplice? Yes, that’s correct. The two things are not mutually exclusive. Here’s how to use your favorite giant sex toy during sex.

Why a wand vibrator during sex?

Bringing sex toys into the bedroom is finally becoming a new normal for many people — as .it should. Nearly every woman requires stimulation of the external clitoris to experience orgasm. Sex toys are a conduit to this necessary sexual touching, and vibrators are designed to help you orgasm. Any partner who is comfortable with themselves will not be intimidated by a sex toy, but rather open to experimentation. After all, who doesn’t want their partner to come?

If you’re in the early stages of your sex toy adventures, you’ll probably want to start with something small and non-threatening. Finger vibrators and pocket rockets are excellent for beginners, but eventually you’ll probably be ready to graduate to something bigger and more powerful. That’s where wang vibrators come in.

Wands are, for the most part, freaking enormous. I’m currently looking at my favorite wand and this sucker is a solid twelve inches long. It’s a subway sandwich-sized sex toy.

We love our wands because of their power-packed charge and long handles. They make masturbation easy. You can hold the handle at chest-height and reach the clitoris without moving a muscle. Convenient! The girthy head gives you all-over clitoral stimulation without having to do much in the way of maneuvering.

For the brave amongst you, these same positive attributes can be utilized during partner play. You may have cornered the wand as your solo-only toy, but its big head and long body make orgasms during intercourse even easier.
If you want to ease your partner into it, start by having them watch you use it on yourself. This can be a huge turn on. Seeing how you make yourself orgasm could be just the push your partner needs to get on board.

The best positions for wand play

Starting out with wand play means finding the right positions that are both comfortable and orgasmic for you. Now is not the time to be getting acrobatic. There will plenty of opportunities for that later down the line. For now, stick to these three basic positions to get placement in order.

Don’t worry if it feels awkward at first. All new sex things are weird in the beginning.

Missionary: Your wand can seriously spice up this go-to position. When you’re in missionary, slip the wand between you and your partner. If they are able to stay propped up on the their arms, it will help make some extra room for the wand. Hold the wand like you would while masturbating on your back.

The reach of the wand’s base helps you access your clitoris without reaching down too far. You’ll have ample opportunity to make out with your partner and focus on the combination of internal and external stimulation. Your partner’s weight will add to the pressure of the wand head on your clitoris for intense, full-body orgasms

Open-Legged Spoon: This is like a regular spoon only, you know, open-legged. Lie on your back and spread your legs, bent at the knee. Have your partner enter you from below, perpendicular to your body. Drape your knees over their side. You can align bodies like you would in a classic spoon for more intimacy

Grab your wand and rest it on the clitoris. This is an ideal lazy-girl sex position. You have total access to your clitoris, while your partner penetrates you. This low-impact position will change how you see your wand forever. Plus, it’s super sexy and dirty looking.

Doggy Style: For those of you who enjoy masturbating on all-fours with a wand, this will be your bread and butter. Lie on your stomach, sticking two or three pillows under your hips. Prop your wand against the pillows so you can lean your vulva against the top. Have your partner enter you with either their penis, fingers or dildo from behind.

A wand is amazing for doggy style because you get to ride it while your partner is riding you. You’re basically the center of a filthy nasty sandwich — something everyone deserves.

Queening: This position is great for everyone, but works especially well for same-sex couples. Lean your back against a throne of pillows like a queen. Grab the wand and hold it against your glans clitoris while your partner uses their tongue on the rest of your vulva. The vaginal opening is full of nerve endings and is amazing for exploration. They can also lick up and down your labia. Want to make it even more intense? Have them place a stainless steel dildo inside your vagina while they lick around the opening. The weight of the toy will pull the entire pelvic floor and internal clitoris downwards, resulting in an orgasm for the books.

If you don’t already have a wand vibrator, stop what you’re doing right now! You need one. Whether you’re planning to use it for partner play, by yourself, or both, it’s a must-have.

While Hitachi has long reigned supreme, it’s never admitted to being a sex toy. To this day it claims to be a neck massager. There are approximately zero people on this planet who have used a Hitachi magic wand as a neck massager, but I digress.

Female-run companies have stepped up and created wands that are proudly marketed as sex toys. Plus, they’re made from high quality materials you can trust. Our favorites are Le Wand and Ollie from Unbound. We like our sex toys like we like everything else: Highly quality, feminist, and orgasmic.

Complete Article HERE!

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4 Sexy Ways to Use Sensation in the Bedroom

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Sex is all about sensation and sensual touch. So whether you’re hitting the sack with a one night stand or spicing things up with a longterm bae, bringing new sensations into the bedroom will make for a night neither of you will forget. Read on for SlutBox Blog’s tips for adding unforgettable sensation to you next hookup!

By Amber Rose

1. Do More With Your Lube

Lube is super important for solo and partner play. Any time there’s friction, add in some lube to protect your skin, increase sensation and sensitivity and multiply those O’s. Now, why settle for any ol’ lube when you can slather on some extra sensation?

Warming or buzzing lubes are a super simple way to try something new in the bedroom, without fussing with a new toy or trying to set up a crazy sex swing apparatus! A warming lube we love is the Ignite Lubricant from Kush Queens (as found in our June Sluts 4 Love SlutBox).

This cannabis lube is 100% natural coconut oil based, and totally compatible with latex barriers so you can stay safe and sexy. Another fave is the ON Arousal Gel for Her from Sensuva (featured in our very first SlutBox!). ON Arousal Gel is a water-based blend of essential oils that jumpstart natural arousal and increase natural lubrication in folx with vaginas. No further explanation needed!

2. Amp Up The Foreplay

Take your time, baby! Build the excitement with sensation-building massage gels. Our recommendations? Sizzle Lips Edible Warming Gel and HandiPop Edible Handjob Massage Gel from Sensuva (as seen in our first SlutBox).

Sizzle Lips is a warming massage gel that heels hot when you blow on it. Massage Sizzle Lips into a sensitive area on bae’s body, and gently blow to get them all hot and bothered. Kiss and lick it all off – the more you rub it in the warmer it’ll feel.

HandiPop is a super sweet edible massage gel for the slipperiest, longest-lasting handjob. Getting a hand cramp? Finish the job with your lips and tongue.

Speaking of lips: want to give bae a kiss they’ll never forget? Slather on some Doctor Lip Bang’s Lip Freak Buzzing Lip Balm (found in our June Sluts 4 Love SlutBox) and lay one on ’em. The buzzing, tingling sensation will bring them to their knees! 

3. Try A Sexxxy Massage

What’s more intimate than a massage? Indulge your sensuous side with the Lelo Flickering Touch Massage Candle, made from all-natural soy wax, shea butter and apricot kernel oil in luscious scents like Vanilla & Creme de Cacao, Snow Pear & Cedarwood, and Black Pepper & Pomegranate.

This gorgeously-designed candle melts into a pool of decadent massage oil. Never greasy, this massage oil is easily absorbed into the skin for a smooth, buttery touch. With a burn time of 36 hours, you have plenty of time to enjoy. Use alone, for a romantic night in, or invite a few friends. Netflix and Chill just got a major upgrade.   

4. Ease Into Impact Play

Tickles don’t seem so silly now! Ticklers are an amazing, safe introduction to impact play and BDSM, especially when combined with a sexy blindfold! The Bijoux Indescrets Tickle Me Tickler (featured in the June Sluts 4 Love SlutBox) has a super cute retro look, but don’t be fooled: use this tickler can be used to tease and thrill your entire body.

Stimulate every inch of your lover’s bod with the tickler’s delicate feathers. Trust me, after just a few moments their skin will be super sensitive and they’ll be relishing a whole new world of unique sensation.

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.

By

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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What spending two weeks in a chastity device taught me about my sexuality and my marriage

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I had no idea how much of my daily interactions with my wife were subtle negotiations for sex, but my wife sure did. She’d come to accept it as part of being married to a man

By Key Barrett

It’s “Locktober” again, the month where men willingly lock their genitalia up in chastity devices in the hopes of making it “hands-free” for 31 days. Some do it for the kink, some for the challenge, and a great number do it as a way to be more present and engaged with their partners (called “keyholders”). Though I could never do a whole month, I did do it for two weeks, and what it taught me about my sexuality and how it can dominate my marriage was nothing short of revelatory.

First, some context. As an erotica writer, I wanted to understand the common theme of chastity to write more believable characters. My wife agreed to be my keyholder for two weeks and unlock me only if she desired it. I had a spare key to unlock for safety reasons and maintenance, but not for any other reason

With these rules in place, our dynamic changed within three days. What had started as some fun denial play became something else entirely. Once my wife trusted that I really was “locked up” at her discretion, she felt free to interact with me without every action being viewed through my sexual needs, which we dubbed “the barter system”.

Simply put, I had no idea how much of my daily interactions with my wife were subtle negotiations for sex, but my wife sure did. She’d come to accept it as part of being married to a man. But now, if my hand lingered too long on a caress, my cage made the motivations painfully obvious. Call it cognitive behaviour therapy for my penis.

Beforehand, her being playful with me was viewed primarily as an invitation to sex. Now it could now exist on its own. My listening to her day wasn’t partially “putting in the time to earn sex,” because sex wasn’t an option. I was liberated to enjoy the act of listening.

Subsequently, she opened up physically and emotionally and I enjoyed being the emotional support a husband is supposed to be. Over time, my sexual needs became less singularly focused on the end goal of orgasm, and more focused on courtship and on her. Closeness, caresses and bonding took prominence over my desire to get off.

I still wanted sex, but I was free from the dishonest dealings of my libido. I wanted sex as an accompaniment to intimacy, not intimacy as post-coital add-on. This distinction was huge. When the sex did come, it was better both physically and emotionally for us both.

There were other benefits, too. My locus of thought moved from “me” to “we”. She felt more entitled to her needs and filtered her words less.

I also learned the multiple roles masturbation played in my life and which ones weren’t helpful. It was healthy to use it as a release for sexual frustration during a week when there was just no time for sex, but it didn’t stop there. I used it when putting in the time to get my partner in the mood seemed like too much effort. In that sense it was lazy man’s sex that I benefited from, but denied my wife that intimacy, and treated sex like a chore.

When left without masturbation I sought other options. Intimacy with my wife (in a reciprocation-free environment for her) allowed her to ease into the enjoyment of it and allowed me to be a part of her pleasure without filtering it through my own. Needless to say, that was a lot of fun for us both.

If I was stressed, my new avenue was one that had always been there: I talked to my wife about it. She had great insights but mostly she just listened. The stress went away, and unlike the short-term benefit masturbation provided, I got longer term benefits like companionship, trust, vulnerability and reassurance.

I emerged from my two weeks with my masculinity intact, but a deeper understanding of what it meant to be her man. And we emerged a happier couple.

Complete Article HERE!

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Sex & Accessibility 101:

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

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

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

Disability Sexuality

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

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

Communication

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Getting Down

Setting the scene

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

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

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

Lube & Barriers

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

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

Positioning

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

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

Harnesses

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

Toys

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

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

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

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

After Care

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

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

A few quick references:

The Ultimate Guide to Sex and Disability

Disability After Dark Podcast

Exile and Pride: Disability, Queerness, & Liberation

Complete Article HERE!

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