Recovering the Beauty of Sex

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By Joseph A. Barisas and William F. Long

Last week, a group of students hosted Harvard Sex Week, a series of widely-publicized events with titles ranging from “Hit Me Baby One More Time: BDSM in the Dorm Room” and “Bloody Good! An Intro to Period Sex” to “One is Not Enough: Open Relationships, Non-Monogamy, & Polyamory.” The Undergraduate Council and the Harvard Foundation shared the distinction of sponsoring these talks with, among others, various retailers of exotic sex toys, lubricants, and condoms.

Over our years at Harvard, we’ve seen our fair share of the extreme and the avant-garde, but this year’s programming managed to shock even us. The idea that a week including BDSM and polyamory could possibly contribute anything to a healthy understanding of sex struck us as entirely backward. Why has our dialogue about sex, something which should be considered intimate and reverent and profound, become simply an outlet for our unrestrained desires and debased passions?

The answer, we suspect, likely has something to do with the fact that Harvard teaches us from our very first week on campus an oversimplified attitude towards sex that we might call the “consensual” philosophy of sex. Each year during Opening Days, freshmen sit through a mandatory theatrical production called “Speak About It” in which, over an hour of sexual reenactments, they learn that as long as they have “consent,” they are free to engage in whatever with whomever they please. What matters is not the act consented to, but the consent itself. While consent is obviously essential to the very nature of sex, there is so much more to it than just a verbal assent extracted from the other party in order to do whatever one desires.

Because there are no other normative guidelines on what true and good sex is, this ambivalence inevitably reduces sex, one of the most powerful and meaningful components of the human experience, to what many young people invariably want it to be: a purely physical act whose primary function is to produce pleasure and satisfy passions. It matters not with whom one engages in it, neither the duration or depth of that relationship, nor yet the further continuance of the relationship. To speak of its emotional and spiritual aspects feels awkward and anachronistic, and discussion of its procreative nature, arguably the most essential characteristic of sex, is avoided like the plague.

But the consequences of this cheapened, hollowed-out view of sex are heartbreaking. They can be seen in a culture of one-night-stands and hook-ups, fueled by alcohol, often ending in indifference and, occasionally, emotional trauma. Young men and women learn to see one another as means to gratification and not ends in themselves, infinitely valuable and unique. A woman who had suffered the emotional toll of being ghosted once too many times asked in a New York Times column whether by consenting to hook-up culture, she had also consented to its premise of detachment and self-centeredness. When we lower our standards of acceptable sexual behavior to merely what is legal, we should not be surprised to see our personal standards of sexual morality drop and unbridled license expand to fill the void.

A sexual ethic that bases its standards solely on what is allowed teaches students that they are being moral by merely staying within the bounds of the law. A robust ethic has positive rather than solely negative norms. Students learn implicitly a definition of sex as allowance, where anything not prohibited is good, instead of realizing that boundaries and reason help make sex the entirely unique and wonderful thing it is. Paradoxically, this prohibitive ethic in which we are currently immersed destroys the possibility of allowing people to see sex as a good and honorable and beautiful thing.

One of the self-proclaimed objectives of Sex Week was to “connect diverse individuals and communities both within and beyond Harvard,” and the group that runs it aims to “open up campus dialogue.” This is an aspiration we can certainly agree with, and we want to begin engaging in this dialogue by rejecting the premise that the ethic of “consent” is sufficient to create a culture of sex that truly empowers and connects.

Couldn’t we all agree that true sex requires genuine care for the other party and to have their best interest at heart? The moment we impose this reasonable requirement, we recategorize a wide swath of sexual behavior — drunken one-night-stands for instance — as instead a sort of glorified mutual masturbation. As we continue to positively construct sex by considering its many natural and valuable facets, we begin to elevate its dignity and purpose and reestablish a philosophy of sexual ethics that we believe benefits everyone. At the Harvard College Anscombe Society, we believe among other things that true sex should be a total and unreserved giving of oneself to another, physically, emotionally, psychologically, biologically, and spiritually. Its primary function is unitive, tying two people in an indissoluble bond, and procreative, wherein the love shared between the two manifests itself in the miracle of human life.

Only when we take every aspect of sex seriously and consider it in its proper framing, can we recover its natural beauty and value. Admittedly, constructing a full alternative vision of sex is not something that can be easily done in an op-ed, and the Anscombe Society — through meetings and public talks, including one with world-renowned moral philosopher Dr. Janet E. Smith this week — hopes to continue this ongoing dialogue about true love.

Complete Article HERE!

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5 Ways to Be More Sexual…

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Even When You’re Not in Bed

By Amy Stanton & Catherine Connors

Getting in touch with your erotic self can help you feel more authentic, and confident too.

This may seem counterintuitive in a culture that celebrates the Kardashians and made 50 Shades of Grey a bestseller, but female sexual power has always been controversial.

Women who own their erotic power have, for pretty much all of human history, been seen as dangerous and disruptive. (Who is Eve, after all, if not a brazen woman who tempts an otherwise innocent man? And she, apparently, caused humanity to be kicked out of paradise as a result!) History and theology are full of tales of women whose sexual power caused the downfall of nations and peoples. From the Hindus’ Mohini to the Greeks’ Sirens to the Old Testament’s Jezebel, Delilah, and Salome to Stormy Daniels—sexually confident women have been long characterized as capital-T Trouble.

It’s not hard to figure out why: women’s sexual power has long been directly associated with men’s sexual weakness. Delilah’s cutting of Samson’s hair is a figurative castration: a sexually powerful woman can rob a man of his strength and will and render him vulnerable. Other cultures viewed a man’s falling under the influence of a woman as so disempowering that it could only be the work of demons or other supernatural forces. And we all know the tragedy of the cuckold (who persists to the present day in the idea of the “cuck”): sexually duped by a woman, the cuckolded man can’t know who his real children are, and so is effectively impotent. (That this became the basis for The Maury Povich Show is arguably a compounded tragedy.)

The idea that women shouldn’t be sexually empowered runs so deep that we often don’t realize how much it influences us. Take the notion of the “slut” and the double standard it purveys. According to author and journalist Peggy Orenstein, “A sexually active girl [or woman] is a slut while a similar boy [man] is a player.” Apart from “player,” we don’t really have words to describe the sexually active boy or man. Girls and women are called “sluts,” “whores,” “slags,” “slatterns,” and (for older women) “cougars,” to name a few. And although we shame unabashedly sexual women (think of how much vitriol gets aimed at Kim Kardashian), we also vilify the so-called prude who suppresses her sexuality. To say that these double standards and contradictions create a confusing landscape for girls and women is an understatement.

It’s not only confusing… it’s also a dangerous landscape. In the era of #metoo, #BelieveHer, and #WhyIDidntReport, we are more aware than ever that our confidence—sexual or otherwise—won’t protect us from the risk of assault. And even though we know that the arguments about constraining women’s sexual freedom for our own protection are completely bogus–even dangerous—it’s hard to not absorb the chill of those messages. So how do we claim and own our sexual power? How can we use it in a way that promotes our emotional, spiritual, and physical well-being?

We think the starting point is to get in touch with your erotic self. Explore your sexual identity so that you can get to know it better. As Amy discusses in our book, The Feminine Revolution, one of the ways she does this is by embracing her love of lingerie—a love that started for her, because it made her feel great and then if men appreciate it, even better. For Catherine it’s been a process of embracing sensuality in all its forms—not just sexual—and getting to know what moves and inspires her senses. For you, it could be something completely different—what matters is only that you get started. Ask yourself, What makes me feel good? What makes me feel sexually and sensually gratified—and confident? And consider trying a few of these tricks:

Practice the skill of erotic observation

Explore what it feels like to “love” a sunset or the curve of smoke above a fire—and cultivate connection to beauty everywhere you find it. Your erotic self is defined by its connection to beauty and spirit in all forms, so being in touch with your erotic—and, by extension, sexual—power requires practicing appreciation of those things outside the sphere of sex and romance.

Use your senses

Sexuality is a power of the mind, but also, of course, of the body, and so the practiced exercise of sexual power requires connection to the senses. But this isn’t restricted to the sexual experiences of the senses—on the contrary, honing your senses more broadly can only enhance more, um, specific sensual experiences. Pay attention to what delights your senses. Is it the taste of fine wine or great chocolate? Is it the warmth of crackling fires, the feel of wind in your hair, the tingling of your muscles after a run? Do more of that. Find more of that.

Own your physicality

The way you sit, the way you walk—every movement plays into your sexual power. How can this work to your advantage? How can you express yourself intentionally through your movement? Pilates is a great way to get really specific with your various body parts and learn how to move and control them. Dance allows you to free and express yourself. Bring attention to how you’re walking down the street and how you feel.

Experiment

Try different ways of expressing and feeling your sensuality and sexuality. See how it feels. Play with it—visit extremes and fantasies. What feels right? Perhaps you’ll find you’ve been playing it too safe, and there’s room to indulge. Or maybe you’ll find that you want to dial it back. No matter what, the result is clarity and power.

Find inspiration in others

Look to sexual/sensual/erotic role models as a way to find your own approach to sexuality. Consider people across the gender spectrum: Whom do you find sexy? Why? What about that person is sexually or erotically compelling? Is it his or her physical beauty or sense of style, intelligence, or charisma? Understanding what we find erotic—what we desire—can help us find our own sexual being.

As we explore our femininity, our feminine power and, as part of that, our sexuality and sexual power, let’s not forget it’s a journey. A journey of freeing ourselves, learning what makes us feel our best and most confident and moving towards true authenticity. Towards a better world for us and for those around us.

Complete Article HERE!

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The Surprising Benefits Of Talking About Sex With Your Friends

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By Kelly Gonsalves

When it comes to improving our sex life, we’re told over and over how important it is to talk to our partner about our desires, turn-ons, worries, ideal frequency, and every other little detail. Communication is crucial to making sure both partners are satisfied with every encounter and are maximizing their pleasure; one recent study found both members of a couple were more pleased with their sex lives and their relationships the more each person communicated about their sexual needs.

But according to a new study in the International Journal of Sexual Health, it’s not just talking to your partner about sex that matters. Talking about sex with your squad is also crucial.

Researchers surveyed over 600 women about a handful of their sexual behaviors, how often they talked to their women friends about sex, and what those conversations involved—such as general support and encouragement, advice about specific sexual activities, and advice about STIs and birth control, to name a few. The study found that women who talked more with their friends about this stuff also tended to have more of two specific qualities: more sexual self-esteem, meaning they felt way more confident about how they express themselves and perform in bed, and more self-efficacy, meaning they felt more confident about protecting their sexual health and asking for what they needed to feel safer.

Let’s be clear here: Those are two huge benefits! Not only are these conversations just a great way to bond with the people in our lives, but it seems they’re also making us more confident and able to assert our needs when it comes to sex. These findings prove just how powerful it can be to share even the most intimate parts of ourselves with the people we care about.

“The relationship between sexual self-esteem and expressive sexual communication is not surprising, given that expressive communication is about encouragement and other confidence-building communications,” writes Katrina L. Pariera, Ph.D., a George Washington University communications professor who led the study. “Women may also benefit from exposure to sexual scripts that promote sexual agency and assertiveness.”

And by the way, the women in the study were an average of 36 years old, so we’re not just talking about teen girls giggling about crushes at a sleepover here. If you’re someone who tends to be pretty unsure or anxious during sex, consider reaching out to a close friend and opening up some sincere dialogue about what’s going on. You don’t even necessarily need to ask for help or advice—the study found the majority of women mostly talked to express themselves and simply seek encouragement and validation about their own experiences. Everyone can benefit from knowing they’re not the only ones going through something weird behind closed doors; it’s a great way to turn something that you might feel embarrassed about into something you can laugh about and grow from.

“The current study adds to mounting evidence that peer sex education is a promising avenue for promoting sexual health and wellness,” Dr. Pariera writes. “Silence begets shame and misinformation.”

In a country like America, where comprehensive sexual education is seriously lacking, it looks like plain ol’ word-of-mouth information sharing might be an effective way of disseminating knowledge about safer sex.

You know what that means: Time to crack open a bottle of wine and get the squad together for some real talk.

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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How to Have the Sex Talk During and After Cancer

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One expert shares advice for opening the line of communication between patients and health care providers, as well as their partners.

BY Katie Kosko

Sex and intimacy after cancer can often become an afterthought. Many people are focused on fighting their disease, but don’t realize that sexual health matters, too. And it’s not a challenge that is hopeless.
As more and more people are becoming cancer survivors, cancer centers now have health care professionals who can aid those in need of sexual health advice following treatment. Sharon Bober, Ph.D., founder and director of the Sexual Health Program at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, understands these concerns. In an interview with CURE during the 11th annual Joining FORCEs Against Hereditary Cancer Conference held Oct. 19-20 in San Diego, she shared tips on how to have patients’ voices be heard and debunked those “magic pill” myths.

What questions should a patient ask before, during and after treatment?
I think it’s very important that patients feel comfortable asking someone on their medical team whether it’s a doctor or a nurse about sexual health. I say that because often providers do not bring up the topic first. We know that it can be a topic that may feel taboo or uncomfortable, including for providers, and often patients get the message that if nobody’s asking then it might not be something that they should talk about. I’m here to say that that’s not the case. Patients really need to bring up the topic even if nobody else is, especially if they have any concerns or changes that are bothersome or distressing in sexual health.

I think we need to think about sexual health like any other review of our system. So, when people go for treatment and are asked about nausea, pain or fatigue, they should also be asked about sexual health. That’s not always the case and that’s where it’s perfectly fine for a patient to say, “Actually, there is something else we haven’t talked about. I’m concerned about changes in sexual health or changes that might be coming or changes that have happened and I’m not sure what to do about it.”

Are there ways couples can overcome the sexual side effects of cancer? What about single people who may be dating?
It’s important to think about sexuality and sexual function really at the intersection between mind, body and relationship. It is not typically only about one factor but when a couple, whether they are married or dating, is dealing with changes in sexual function as a couple they are also dealing with changes in roles and changes in styles and patterns of behavior. There may be an expectation or worry that you don’t want to make your partner feel bad but on the other hand it’s hard to talk about. It’s very important for couples to take time and say, “Listen, this is a part of our life which is different and it is OK for us to talk about it.” That’s really the first step.

For single people, it is important to appreciate that we are not only about our body parts. Sexuality is more than just one body part or any one part of something that has changed. And that recognizing when we go dating and we start to meet people everybody brings something to the table whether it’s cancer, depression or something in the family — all of these things are part of what makes us human. It’s important to realize that because you may have had cancer that is not going to be the reason why you can’t have a successful relationship. It just means that you are going to want to find a partner who is sensitive, who is going to be caring and who is going to be open to hearing about this.

Are there any proclaimed sexual health “cures” that patients should stay away from?
We live in a culture where everything is focused on a pill. We live in a culture where we want everything in 140 characters in a Tweet or we want to have something quick and easy. The truth is when it comes to sexual function it is often at the intersection of a variety of different things that are going on. From my point of view, that’s great news because it means that there are ways we can improve the relationship, we can improve how someone thinks and feels about themselves, we can also improve the mechanics around, for example, vaginal dryness or erectile function. But it doesn’t have to be only one thing that you have to find or that there is a magic pill. It’s important for people to focus on communication and intimacy and enhancing desire. It’s important, for example, for women on the other side of menopause, they are not expected to have spontaneous desire. Desire becomes something we have to cultivate. We need to stick with evidence-based intervention. And although we sort of would like to think if I could just go with the magic cure, that will work, but there’s no magic. On the other hand, it is powerful and magical to have an intense sexual relationship with someone that you love.

Is there anything else that you would like to add?
There is help available. The good news is that there are a number of resources that people can access online, such as the National Institutes of Health and American Cancer Society. We now have much more to offer than we used to.

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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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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5 Types of Orgasms and How to Get One (or More)

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by Hannah Rimm

The ‘Big O(s)’

There’s a lot of talk about the “Big O,” but did you know there’s more than one kind of O to sing about? Orgasms in women may seem a little harder to spot since there’s no obvious spray to end the play. But they exist, and with a little awareness and attention, you can get the Os you deserve, from the fireworks-on-display kind to the calm oh-my-gods.

When you find yourself missing out on the Big O, there are three likely culprits: expectations, communication, and method. And alongside all of that, experimenting is required. You’ll find sites reporting that there are anywhere from 12 orgasms to just 1. But we’re focusing on the five an average person can achieve, for the definitive happy ending they deserve.

What are the types of orgasms?

Here’s a list of the most common types of orgasms and what they typically feel like, although this varies from person to person:

Now, how do we make these orgasms happen?

Let’s talk about the clitoris

The clitoris is a small organ with a lot of nerve endings that peeks out from the tiptop of the vulva, is often covered by a hood, and extends down the inside of the labia. The best way to stimulate the clitoris is by gently rubbing with the fingers, palm, or tongue in a back and forth or circular motion.

Tackling the elusive vaginal orgasm

Vaginal orgasm is often misconstrued as the “best” way for women to orgasm (read: the easiest for penises), but it’s often the most difficult for ladies. Instead of a penis, try fingers or a sex toy. Insert the fingers or toy into the vagina and make a “come hither” motion toward the belly button.

There’s a point of pleasure on this wall called the G-spot and when you hit it with regular, strong pressure, it can lead to orgasm. Stimulation of the G-spot is also the way to lead to female ejaculation, as it stimulates the Skene’s glands on either side of the urethra.

Exploring the anal orgasm

Anal orgasms are much more common in men because of the prostate, but can also be achieved simply by rubbing the outside of the anal opening as well as stimulating the inside of the anus with a finger. When it comes to anal sex, please, please, please use lube. Butts don’t naturally produce lubricant and the skin around the area is very prone to tears, which can lead to unwanted infection.

If you’re looking to return the favor with your male partner, stimulate the prostate by gently inserting a finger straight forward and massage the gland.

Going for the combo and erogenous zones

In order to achieve a combo orgasm, combine clitoral and vaginal stimulation at the same time, either in parallel or opposite rhythms — whatever feels best for you or your partner. This is also the most common way to achieve female ejaculation because the clitoris is stimulated and the G-spot or Skene’s glands are engaged.

Finally, erogenous zone orgasms are achieved exclusively through a lot of experimentation. You may be able to orgasm from kisses on your neck, teeth on your nipples, or fingers on the inside of your elbows. The best way to find your erogenous zones is to use a feather or another light external object and take note where you feel the most pleasure.

Orgasms won’t come without communication

In any kind of sexual play, communication is key. Not only is consent literally required by law, but telling your partner what you want, how, and where is the best way to ensure maximum pleasure. It’s ideal to have these conversations before engaging in sexual play, but it’s equally effective to guide your partner during sex. This means asking for what you want either with words or with your body language. Remember, partners aren’t mind readers, even though we want them to be.

This also means being open to experimentation. If your regular sex routine isn’t getting you off, then experimenting with touching new areas at different times with different body parts (genitals, fingers, mouths) is the next best step to solving your orgasm mystery.

It’s also important to note that experimenting and achieving orgasm doesn’t require a partner. Pleasure is not dependent and neither are you — the better you know your rhythm with fingers and toys, the faster you can teach your partner how you tango.

What actually happens during an orgasm?

What physically happens in a woman’s body during actual orgasm is this: the vagina, uterus, and anus (and sometimes other body parts like hands, feet, and abdomen) contract rapidly 3-15 times, squeezing for 0.8 seconds at a time. Women may also ejaculate, releasing a liquid out of the urethra that contains a mix of whitish fluid from the Skene’s peri-urethral glands and urine. Don’t worry — urine is very sterile and the liquid usually comes out clear.

But not everybody experiences sex and orgasm the same way. The above explanations are great starting points, but sex doesn’t have a manual. That’s why exploring in the moment and finding what your body loves is absolutely key.

Understanding the stages that lead to an orgasm may help you

Masters and Johnson wrote a book that detailed the sexual response cycle, which states that there are four stages of the sexual response:

  • Excitement. Initially being turned on.
  • Plateau. Repetitive motion that feels pleasurable.
  • Orgasm. The burst of pleasure, and release.
  • Resolution. The refractory period.

While this is mostly accurate, it’s too general — especially when these stages cross over and there’s no explosive resolution. It’s also inaccurate to suggest that sex ends in orgasm, because this denies many women of their orgasms by pushing the idea that sex is finished when their male partners finish. Plus, not all sex requires an orgasm and orgasms don’t mean the sex is great.

Orgasms can be small. They can happen many times in a row or just once, and they don’t always happen. Don’t define your orgasms by someone else’s description… that’s ultimately shorting yourself on pleasure. Your calm clitoral orgasm can still be mind-blowing, just as your combo orgasm can be fun, and your partner’s ejaculation can be exciting.

Bodies are different. Orgasms are different. But the path it takes to get there is all about experimenting, communicating, and trying again. Allow yourself to soak in the sensations of the pleasure process just as much, or even more than, the finale.

Repeat after us: Orgasms aren’t the end goal of sex.

Complete Article HERE!

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New Studies Show That Marijuana Enhances And Increases Sex

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by Sara Brittany Somerset

Recent scientific studies substantiate what many marijuana users have claimed all along — that it enhances sexual relations. Currently, almost all research into the effects of the cannabis plant is prohibited by the U.S. government due to its classification as a Schedule I substance. However, 31 states and the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana, while nine states have also legalized adult use of recreational marijuana. Legalization benefits academia, as it finally allows researchers to study and analyze marijuana’s effects, including its impact on sexual intercourse.

According to a research study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine (JSM), entitled the Association Between Marijuana Use and Sexual Frequency in the United States: A Population-Based Study, the goal of the study was, “To elucidate whether a relation between marijuana use and sexual frequency exists using a nationally representative sample of reproductive-age men and women.”

The analysis represented 28,176 women and 22,943 men nationwide who were surveyed by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) via a questionnaire. The CDC’s broad, all-encompassing survey is often utilized by researchers as a basis for further, more specific analysis.

Researchers Dr. Michael L. Eisenberg and Dr. Andrew J. Sun are both affiliated with the Department of Urology, at Stanford University, in California. The duo accessed the CDC’s study to research marijuana’s effects on male sexual and reproductive function, which is Dr. Eisenberg’s area of expertise. As such, he sees men with various forms of sexual dysfunction. As for medical or lifestyle factors that may influence function, he is often asked about what role, if any that marijuana may play.

The clinical implications of their study revealed that “Marijuana use is independently associated with increased sexual frequency and does not appear to impair sexual function.” In fact, daily users across all demographic groups reported having 20% more sex than those who have never used cannabis.

Dr. Eisenberg thinks doing more research in this area is important. Previously, most doctors had generally counseled men that marijuana, like tobacco, is harmful. However, his current study suggests that may not be the case.

An additional JSM-published study entitled, The Relationship Between Marijuana Use Prior to Sex and Sexual Function in Women, conducted at Saint Louis University in Missouri claims, “The internet is rife with claims regarding the ability of marijuana to improve the sexual experience; however, scientific data is lacking.” The objective of this study “is to determine if marijuana use before sex affects the sexual experience, by how much, and which domains of sexual function are affected.”

In this survey, researchers polled 133 sexually-active adult women at one particular, academic ObGyn practice, during their annual check-ups. The female patients filled out a lengthy questionnaire regarding marijuana use before sex (hashtag #MUBS).

Thirty-eight women (29%) disclosed consuming cannabis prior to copulation. Of those 38 women, 68 percent reported more pleasurable sex, 16% said it ruined their sexual experience, while the remaining 16% were undecided or unaware.  

Among the enhanced sexuality camp, 72% said it always increased their erotic pleasure, while 24% said it sometimes did. Almost 62% said it enhanced the quality of their orgasms and their libidos in general. Additionally, 16% of MUBS adherents disclosed they purposefully puff pot prior to sex, specifically to relieve any potential pain associated with the act. There were conflicting reports as to whether or not it enhanced vaginal lubrication.

The same research team later widened the scope of their survey to 289 adult MUBS women, with similar results: 65% decided it enhanced their sexual experience, 23% said it did not matter one way or the other, 9% had no significant feedback and 3% said it sabotaged their sexual experience.

Dr. Monica Grover of Asira Medical is double Board certified in Family Medicine and Gynecology, with practices in both Midtown, Manhattan and Westchester, New York. Although she did not participate in either clinical study, she is currently conducting independent research.

“Although some studies have shown results that are equivocal, anecdotally patients have reported positive feedback,” says Dr. Grover.

“Consumption of small quantities [of marijuana] prior to sex may increase libido in female patients, which in turn can release positive endorphins and increase vaginal lubrication.”

Dr. Grover believes this may be due to the short-term anxiolytic of cannabis.  In women. Reduced sexual libido in women usually correlates with any anxiety or stress they are experiencing. So, in the short-term, cannabis has anxiety-reducing effects. However, in the long-term, it can increase anxiety, which may explain the lack of libido in possible habitual users. Dr. Grover is currently working on a study to determine this theory.  

Notable clinical implications among male users reported in the Stanford study were that Cannabis does not impair sexual function nearly as much as alcohol does. Nor are there any contraindications of mixing marijuana with other drugs for sexual performance enhancement such as Viagra or Cialis.  

Additionally, and perhaps most importantly, unlike alcohol, so far there is no direct correlation between marijuana consumption and a significantly increased risk of fatalities.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 88,0008 people (approximately 62,000 men and 26,000 women) die from alcohol-related causes annually, making alcohol the third leading preventable cause of death in the United States.  The Journal of the American Medical Association corroborates these findings. The first preventable cause of death in the United States is tobacco use and the second is poor diet combined with physical inactivity. These findings may help build the case for consuming cannabis to become more sexually active to benefit one’s overall health.

Complete Article ↪HERE↩!

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Can yoga improve your sex life?

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The Internet abounds with wellness blogs that recommend yoga for a better sex life, as well as personal accounts of the practice improving sexual experience — often to an enviable degree. Does the research back up these claims, however? We investigate.

Modern research is only just starting to unpack the numerous health benefits of the ancient practice of yoga.

Some conditions that yoga reportedly helps with include depression, stress, and anxiety, as well as metabolic syndrome, diabetes, and thyroid problems.

Recent studies have also delved into the more complex mechanisms behind such benefits.

It turns out that yoga lowers the body’s inflammatory response, counters the genetic expression that predisposes people to stress, lowers cortisol, and boosts a protein that helps the brain grow and stay young and healthy.

On top of all its benefits, we must add, it just feels good. Sometimes — if we’re to believe the hype around the mythical coregasm during yoga — it feels really, really good.

Getting in touch with our bodies can feel replenishing, restorative, and physically pleasurable. However, can yoga’s yummy poses improve our sex lives? We take a look at the research.

Yoga improves sexual function in women

One often-referenced study that was published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine found that yoga can indeed improve sexual function — particularly in women over the age of 45.

The study examined the effects of 12 weeks of yoga on 40 women who self-reported on their sexual function before and after the yoga sessions.

After the 12-week period, the women’s sexual function had significantly improved across all sections of the Female Sexual Function Index: “desire, arousal, lubrication, orgasm, satisfaction, and pain.”

As many as 75 percent of the women reported an improvement in their sex life after yoga training.

As part of the study, all of the women were trained on 22 poses, or yogasanas, which are believed to improve core abdominal muscles, improve digestion, strengthen the pelvic floor, and improve mood.

Some poses included trikonasana (also known as the triangle pose), bhujangasana (the snake), and ardha matsyendra mudra (half spinal twist). The full list of asanas can be accessed here.

Yoga improves sexual function in men

Yoga doesn’t benefit just women. An analogous study led Dr. Vikas Dhikav, who’s a neurologist at the Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital in New Delhi, India, examined the effects of a 12-week yoga program on the sexual satisfaction of men.

At the end of the study period, the participants reported a significant improvement in their sexual function, as evaluated by the standard Male Sexual Quotient.

The researchers found improvements across all aspects of male sexual satisfaction: “desire, intercourse satisfaction, performance, confidence, partner synchronization, erection, ejaculatory control, [and] orgasm.”

Also, a comparative trial carried out by the same team of researchers found that yoga is a viable and nonpharmacological alternative to fluoxetine (brand name Prozac) for treating premature ejaculation.

It included 15 yoga poses, ranging from easier ones (such as Kapalbhati, which involves sitting with your back straight in a crossed-legged position, with the chest open, eyes closed, hands on knees, and abdominal muscles contracted) to more complex ones (such as dhanurasana, or the “bow pose”).

Yogic mechanisms for better sex

How does yoga improve one’s sex life, exactly? A review of existing literature led by researchers at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, from the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Vancouver, Canada, helps us elucidate some of its sex-enhancing mechanisms.

Dr. Lori Brotto, a professor in the Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology at UBC, is the first author of the review.

Dr. Brotto and colleagues explain that yoga regulates attention and breathing, lowers anxiety and stress, and regulates parasympathetic nervous activity — that is, it activates the part of the nervous system that tells your body to stop, relax, rest, digest, lower the heart rate, and triggers any other metabolic processes that induce relaxation.

“All of these effects are associated with improvements in sexual response,” write the reviewers, so it is “reasonable that yoga might also be associated with improvements in sexual health.”

There are also psychological mechanisms at play. “Female practitioners of yoga have been found to be less likely to objectify their bodies,” explain Dr. Brotto and her colleagues, “and to be more aware of their physical selves.”

“This tendency, in turn, may be associated with increased sexual responsibility and assertiveness, and perhaps sexual desires.”

The power of the moola bandha

It is safe to say that stories about releasing blocked energy in root chakras and moving “kundalini energy” up and down the spine to the point that it produces ejaculation-free male orgasms lack rigorous scientific evidence.

However, other yogic concepts could make more sense to the skeptics among us. Moola bandha is one such concept.

“Moola bandha is a perineal contraction that stimulates the sensory-motor and the autonomic nervous system in the pelvic region, and therefore enforces parasympathetic activity in the body,” write Dr. Brotto and her colleagues in their review.

“Specifically, moola bandha is thought to directly innervate the gonads and perineal body/cervix.” The video below incorporates the movement into a practice for pelvic floor muscles.


 
Some studies quoted by the researchers have suggested that practicing moola bandha relieves period pain, childbirth pain, and sexual difficulties in women, as well as treating premature ejaculation and controlling testosterone secretion in men.

Moola bandha is similar to the modern, medically recommended Kegel exercises, which are thought to prevent urinary incontinence and help women (and men) enjoy sex for longer.

In fact, many sex therapy centers recommend this yoga practice to help women become more aware of their sensations of arousal in the genital area, thus improving desire and sexual experience.

“[M]oola bandha stretches the muscles of the pelvic floor, […] balances, stimulates, and rejuvenates the area through techniques that increase awareness and circulation,” explain Dr. Brotto and colleagues, referring to the work of other researchers.

Another yoga pose that strengthens the pelvic floor muscles is bhekasana, or the “frog pose.”

As well as improving the sexual experience, this pose may help ease symptoms of vestibulodynia, or pain in the vestibule of the vagina, as well as vaginismus, which is the involuntary contraction of vaginal muscles that prevents women from enjoying penetrative sex.

How reliable is the evidence?

While it is easy to get, ahem, excited by the potential sexual benefits of yoga, it is worth bearing in mind the large discrepancy between the amount of so-called empirical, or experimental, evidence, and that of non-empirical, or anecdotal, evidence.

The Internet hosts a plethora of the latter, but the studies that have actually trialed the benefits of yoga for sexual function remain scarce.

Additionally, most of the studies mentioned above — which found improvements in sexual satisfaction and function for both men and women — have quite a small sample size and didn’t benefit from a control group.

However, more recent studies — which focused on women who have sexual dysfunction in addition to other conditions — have yielded stronger evidence.

For example, a randomized controlled trial examined the effects of yoga in women with metabolic syndrome, a population with a higher risk of sexual dysfunction overall.

For these women, a 12-week yoga program led to “significant improvement” in arousal and lubrication, whereas such improvements were not seen in the women who did not practice yoga.

Improvements were also found in blood pressure, prompting the researchers to conclude that “yoga may be an effective treatment for sexual dysfunction in women with metabolic syndrome as well as for metabolic risk factors.”

Another randomized trial looked at the sexual benefits of yoga for women living with multiple sclerosis (MS). The participants undertook 3 months of yoga training, consisting of eight weekly sessions.

Importantly, women in the yoga group “showed improvement in physical ability” and sexual function, “while women in [the] control group manifested exacerbated symptoms.”

“Yoga techniques may improve physical activities and sexual satisfaction function of women with MS,” the study paper concluded.

So, while we need more scientific evidence to support yoga’s benefits for our sex lives, the seeds are definitely there. Until future research can ascertain whether “yogasms” are a real, achievable thing, we think that there’s enough reason to incorporate yoga in our daily routines.

Trying it out for ourselves could prove tremendously enriching — and our pelvic muscles will definitely thank us for it.

Complete Article HERE!

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25 things all girls should know about sex by 25

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By disappointed girls

Practical advice included

By 25 you feel like you should’ve hit some pretty big milestones in life. Like getting a promotion, paying for your phone bill, moving out and understanding what the tax code on your payslip actually means. You should know who your real friends are, how many drinks will cause a hangover and the types of boys you should avoid on Tinder at all costs.

But if there’s one thing which shouldn’t be happening at 25, it’s bad sex. By then, you want to know exactly what makes you come, how a guy’s gonna do it and should own at least one sex toy. Here’s the 25 things all girls should know about sex by 25:

1. YOUR ORGASM IS AS IMPORTANT AS HIS

When you first started having sex it felt like the main event was the man coming, the man getting close and basically him having a good time – but that shouldn’t be the case. Sex is about both of you getting pleasure, so if you’re shagging someone who isn’t putting the time in to make sure you climax also, bin him.

2. SEX ISN’T HOW IT IS IN PORNOS, SO STOP FAKING IT AND MAKING LOUD PORN STAR NOISES IF YOU’RE NOT ACTUALLY FEELING IT

“OH YEAH BABY, HARDER, HARDER, FUCK ME HARDER!” – girl, it’s unnecessary for you to feel like you should be doing this just because some 40-year-old woman in the Nevada Desert is doing it. Boys see right through it, they know the noises aren’t genuine, and you know it’s not genuine. Save noises for when you actually feel it, that way he knows what you like and what feels good.

3. SOMETIMES IT’S OKAY TO FAKE AN ORGASM EVERY ONCE IN A WHILE

Never get into the habit of having fake orgasms all the time – it just means when you’re actually having an orgasm the guy doesn’t know what he’s done to get you there. But sometimes you might be a bit tired during sex and having a fake orgasm means it’ll end sooner – which is fine to do.

4. FINGER YOURSELF

Whether you’re bored, stressed or sexually frustrated, you should definitely be fingering yourself. Get to know your body, what feels good and what doesn’t – just have a lil you time. Some girls find using toys, lube or watching porn helps get them in the mood.

5. IT IS NORMAL TO WANT SEX AND TO LIKE HAVING SEX, SO DON’T BE ASHAMED OF IT

For too long we’ve been made to think a girl is slutty for enjoying sex. That if a girl has slept with 20 people she’s gross and “not girlfriend material”, but if a guy has he’s a legend and “one of the boys”. Wrong – we can enjoy having sex whether that’s through fingering ourselves or sleeping with 100s of people.

6. MORNING SEX IS RARELY SEXY SO DON’T LET HIM MAKE YOU FEEL GUILTY ABOUT NOT BEING IN THE MOOD

His dick will always be hard in the morning but that doesn’t mean you have to do anything about it.

7. BUY A SEX TOY

Not only is it great for you for when you want some alone time, it’s fun for you and your partner during sex. Once you buy one vibrator you won’t stop.

8. IT’S ACTUALLY REALLY HARD TO COME VIA PENETRATIVE SEX

It can take ages for a woman to come through penetrative sex, with only 20 per cent actually able to do so from no clitoral stimulation, so don’t freak out thinking you’re abnormal if you’re not getting there. The clit however should always be able to get you off – so get acquainted as to what feels good. Always go slow first in small circular or “up and down” motions, then build up the speed and pressure once you’re getting into it.

9. WATCHING PORN IS NOT A SIN

Everyone’s doing it, trust me.

10. IF YOU’RE SLEEPING WITH A SET MENU FUCKBOY, CHUCK HIM

The set menu fuckboy is the guy who does the same things in bed every single time. They have a routine which they swear by, because it always gets them to climax, but probably doesn’t take you into consideration. For example, he might always kiss you for five minutes, finger for two, go down for three (but doesn’t even use his tongue) and then shags in the same two positions before coming way before you were reaching an orgasm. These boys have one agenda, and it’s not making you come, so get rid!

11. HOW MUCH HAIR YOU HAVE ON YOUR VAG IS UP TO YOU

As you get older, you realise that how much hair you have really doesn’t matter. Like seriously think about it, why do you spend £30 a month having hot wax poured on your vagina, or wake up 10 minutes earlier than usual so you can hack at your vag with a shit razor? If the answer is “my boyfriend likes it” and it’s not because YOU like it, then you need to reassess. Good boys don’t care either way.

12. BE VOCAL WITH WHAT FEELS GOOD AND IS TURNING YOU ON

Never be embarrassed to guide a guy on how to finger you, what to do when he’s licking you out and basically how to make you come. They want to know what turns a girl on to make you come – they don’t want to be faced with your vagina licking around completely clueless.

13. NEVER ABANDON THE CLIT DURING SEX

Essential for the best orgasm. If you’re on top, get him to place his hand flat on himself so your clit rubs against it when your riding him. When spooning, either get him to reach around or just do it yourself. Guys won’t ever get annoyed you’re getting yourself off during sex – they love it. Plus, it’s hot.

14. DON’T FEEL YOU HAVE TO CONSTANTLY DEEP-THROAT WHEN GIVING A BLOW JOB

Again, real life isn’t a porno, instead you can have a lot of fun teasing when giving a blowjob. Like give the bottom half of his dick a handjob whilst you suck the top half – the top of the penis has the most nerves, so this means you won’t be gagging the whole time.

15. CLENCHING YOUR FIST WHEN GIVING A BLOW JOB ACTUALLY STOPS GAGGING

Idk what voodoo or science there is behind this, but thanks to whoever made this knowledge known.

16. PERIOD SEX IS TOTALLY NATURAL AND NOT SOME STUPID TABOO

Obviously it’s up to you if you want to do it, but having sex on your period shouldn’t been seen as this gross thing like you probably thought it was in secondary school. Bleeding, like coming, sweating and any other bodily fluid which is present during sex, is totally normal. Plus if you’ve got a medium flow that day it’s not like your sheets or his dick are going to look like a crime scene, there will probably be a small amount of blood maximum.

17. ALWAYS STOP HAVING SEX IF IT’S HURTING RATHER THAN CARRYING ON FOR HIS SAKE

Don’t feel like you should just stick it out if you’re sore and it’s feeling a bit rough. It’s okay to just stop and take a minute or 20 or just stop altogether. The guy’s orgasm is not worth you being in pain or uncomfortable, plus if he’s really that desperate he can go wank in the bathroom and you can go make yourself a nice soothing cuppa or a glass of wine.

18. SOMETIMES NEITHER OF YOU WILL BE ABLE TO COME, AND THAT DOESN’T MEAN YOU OR HIM ARE SHIT IN BED

Maybe you’ve drank too much, taken some drugs or either of you are overthinking it. Whichever way, sometimes it’s impossible to come. It’s better to just stop rather than aggressively hump for 40 minutes for something which definitely won’t happen. Reassure him it’s all good, because he will feel like he’s failed otherwise which is definitely not the case.

19. GO BETWEEN FOREPLAY AND SEX

Foreplay doesn’t always need to be during the building up stage – it can happen at any time. Like you could be on top then have a break and sit on his face. It doesn’t have to be only thrusting after the fingering, eating out, handjob, blow job stage.

20. IF THEY’RE NOT GOOD AT KISSING, THEY’RE PROBABLY NOT GOING TO BE GOOD IN BED

It’s true.

21. ALWAYS, ALWAYS HAVE A WEE AFTER SEX

Unless you really want a UTI, go to the loo after you have done the deed to get rid of gross bacteria that can cause some pretty uncomfortable infections – cystitis I’m looking at you.

22. GO EASY WITH HIS PENIS – YOU’RE NOT TRYING TO LAUNCH A ROCKET

In the same way you want him to be gentle, don’t tug or suck too hard – one girl gave a guy friction burn and that is NOT sexy.

23. SOME PEOPLE HAVE KINKS, GET OVER IT

Some people are really into BDSM and being a submissive, or dressing up, and that’s totally fine. It can be fun trying out people’s kinks, unless it’s something like beastiality then maybe not.

24. IF HIS DICK SMELLS FUNKY, ABORT THE MISSION

Seriously though, your nose isn’t there just for piercings babe, if something smells bad, it probably is and bacteria in your vagina equals a UTI.

25. GUYS HAVE A WEIRD OBSESSION WITH DOING ANAL

Maybe it’s part of the male chromosome but guys just have a weird thing for anal and bums and wanting to “try it out”. Only do it if you really want and have loads of lube and maybe a butt plug. If he’s that into it, you could even slip a cheek finger in his bum during sex – it’s a super sensitive area for them.

Complete Article HERE!

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This cooking staple is scientifically proven to boost your sexual performance

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Apparently it’s ‘better than Viagra’.

By Anna Lavdaras

Forget sex toys and oysters, apparently the secret to boosting a man’s performance in the bedroom is good weekly dousing of olive oil.

That’s right, just 9 tablespoons of your kitchen cooking staple is enough to reduce impotence by around 40 per cent by keeping blood vessels healthy and maintain circulation throughout the body.

Scientists from the University of Athens studies 660 men with an average age of 67 and found that those that adopted a Mediterranean style diet – rich in fruit and vegetables, legumes, fish and nuts, as well as olive oil – had far fewer problems in between the sheets and even saw a vast improvement in their bedroom prowess.

Olive oil can also help dramatically increase testosterone levels, which reduces the risk of erectile dysfunction, which is the inability to get and maintain an erection sufficient for sexual intercourse.

Erectile dysfunction currently affects about 1 million Australian men, and experts predict this percentage will escalate as our population lives longer as the disease is strongly linked to age.

Lead researcher Dr Christina Chrysohoou, said diet and exercise were key to improving sexual capacity of middle age and elderly men.

“Men that follow a Med diet – particularly consuming lots of olive oil – see their risk of impotence reduced by up to 40 per cent in older age.”

She added that small lifestyle changes could prove more beneficial for those looking for a long-term solution. While Viagra, created in the 1990s and now available over the counter without prescription, has helped the sex life of millions, the side-effects include headache, back pain and visual disturbance.

“This diet keeps your blood vessels healthy and lowers the risk of metabolic syndrome, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and central obesity.

“It offers men a long-term solution without taking any medication, such as Viagra. This diet keeps your blood vessels healthy.

“Viagra does not improve something long-term. It can only give some short effect in order to have sexual capacity.”

Julie Ward, of the British Heart Foundation, welcomed the findings, saying “It’s no surprise the Mediterranean diet – which we know is beneficial to heart and circulatory health – might benefit blood vessels and help men maintain healthy sexual function.”

Complete Article HERE!

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Sex, technology and disability – it’s complicated

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Media portrayals of sexuality often focus on a visual and verbal vocabulary that is young, white, cisgender, heterosexual and…not disabled.

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People living with disability are largely excluded from conversations about sexuality, and face overlapping barriers to sexual expression that are both social and physical.

Media portrayals of sexuality often focus on a visual and verbal vocabulary that is young, white, cisgender, heterosexual and … not disabled.

My research into inclusive design explores how design can – intentionally or unintentionally – exclude marginalised or vulnerable people, as well as how design can ensure that everyone is included. That might mean design of the built environment, everyday products, or even how information is presented.

UTS has been collaborating for over a year with Northcott Innovation, a nonprofit organisation based in NSW that focuses on solutions for people with disability, to understand the barriers people face, and how inclusive design can help break them down.

When it comes to sexuality, new technologies have a role to play – but we need to look at both the opportunities and risks that these developments bring.

Starting the conversation

David* is a young man living with cerebral palsy who expresses a deep frustration about being unable to have his sexual desires met. He revealed his thoughts during discussions around sex and disability.

I can’t get into a lot clubs in my wheelchair – or restaurant or cafés for that matter. So where do I go to meet someone? Or go on a date? Let alone if we wanted to be intimate!

Northcott Innovation’s executive director Sam Frain isn’t surprised by what these conversations are revealing:

People with disability want to date, fall in love, or even fall out of love. They want to be recognised as the adults they are. In acknowledging their capacity for meaningful relationships, we must also acknowledge their sexuality – in whatever form that takes.

David faces complex social barriers too. Because it’s hard to for him to discuss his sexuality at all, coming out to his mother feels particularly fraught:

My mum doesn’t really know that I want to meet a future husband, not wife. I want to go on more dates. I don’t just want to meet other men with disability either. I want to meet lots of guys – but where can I go and how do I do this?

Inclusive sex toys

People living with disability have diverse physical and social support needs when it comes to expressing their sexuality. That means there isn’t going to be a one-size-fits-all solution. Rather we need a design approach that allows for customisation.

A new research project at RMIT, led by industrial design lecturer Judith Glover, is investigating the design of customised, inclusive sex toys.

Aside from some engineering research undertaken earlier this year at the University of São Paulo into the neurodildo – a sex toy operated remotely by brain waves – inclusive sex toys are an under-explored area of design research.

Glover feels strongly that designing sexual health products or services – whether for therapy or for recreation – should be treated as any other area of design. She acknowledges that the sex toy industry has barely started to address sex toys for an ageing population, let alone solutions for people with various disabilities:

Some of the people I meet, who are physically incapable of holding and moving objects, may have trouble communicating verbally – yet who really yearn to be able to develop their own sexual practice. Plus who doesn’t need to just get off every once in a while?

David agrees:

I really want to explore the option of sex toys more, but I don’t know what to try, or how to use it.

Social media and intellectual disability

Connecting communities together is an important strategy to overcome marginalisation and amplify the voices of people with disability.

Social media is a space where technology brings like-minded people together. But creating safe online spaces for people to express their sexuality can create unforeseen challenges – particularly for people with intellectual disability.

Deakin University and the Intellectual Disability Rights Service (IDRS) set up a closed Facebook support group earlier this year for people with intellectual disability who identify as LGBTQI. Jonathon Kellaher, an educator with IDRS, says:

Group administrators quickly realised that people who were not “out” and did not understand that group members can be viewed publicly were at risk of accidentally “outing” themselves when requesting to join the group.

To address this issue, the group privacy setting was set to “secret”. But this meant new members had to wait to be added, so it became a barrier to the group’s potential as a social connector. Deakin is now working on a project with GALFA to learn more about how people connect in this space.

Technology must promote inclusion

Then there is the elephant in the room: sex robots.

Manufacturers claim sex robots provide health and social benefits for people with disability, but researchers have been quick to point out that there’s no evidence to support the range of claims that have been made.

While it’s possible to see the introduction of sex robots as a form of assistive technology – a new way to experience pleasure, or to explore preferences and body capabilities – there’s another, more tragic, side.

Viewing sex robots as a solution to the loneliness of people with disability (or anyone for that matter), or as a remedy for a lack of available dates, risks perpetuating and exacerbating the social and sexual exclusion of people with disability.

Technology can’t replace human connection, so it’s critical that new technologies support greater inclusion for people living with disability. It’s a human right to be able to safely express and enjoy sexuality, and have the choice to live a life with pleasure.

For David, that fits in to his ideal world very clearly:

One day I really want a husband to love me, two children, and to own my own restaurant.

Complete Article HERE!

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Art of Presence: Pleasure Mapping

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by KinkKit Team

Try the Yoni Pleasure Mapping Technique:

(Yoni, pronounced (YO-NEE), or “Vagina”, is derived from Sanskrit.)

The objective is not to achieve orgasm, though that may happen. The objective is to thoroughly learn and discover your partner’s pleasurable spots in a relaxed setting, with no expectations. As you massage your partner, focus all your loving emotion onto them.

1. Get your partner relaxed and comfortable.

Have your partner lie face-up with legs spread apart and knees bent. Optional: place a pillow under your lover’s head and/or hips. 

2. Both partners must remember to breathe.

Mindful breathing is a large part of what separates Tantra from regular sexual experiences. While you give your partner the lingam massage, try something called Ujiayi (ooh-JAH-yee), or “Bliss Breath”, in tandem:

To perform Ujjayi breathing:

  1. Close your mouth
  2. Take a long, deep inhale through your nose, while lightly constricting the back of your throat (your breath will make a whispery kind of noise)
  3. Hold it for a second
  4. Exhale slowly through your nose, while lightly constricting the back of your throat (your breath will make a whispery kind of noise)

3. Encourage your partner to breathe deeply.

Before you begin the yoni massage, tune into your partner by engaging in the “bliss breath” together. Just taking a few breaths at the same time will put you both at ease and match your bio-rhythms. You’ll both get all the good vibes. Ask your partner if you may continue before you begin.

4. Begin with both hands (or tool) well-lubricated.

Massager: If you started with Round 1, your hands may have the other hemp massage oil on them. Wash your hands and switch to the lube (it’s specially formulated to bio-match with the natural pH of the vagina). You may wish to also lube up the Gläs massager as well, if you plan to use this tool for pleasure mapping. Make sure the Yoni stays well lubricated throughout the entire Pleasure Mapping.

5. Massage the vulva first before slipping inside.

Gently rub the lube on the outer lips of the Yoni at least nine times. Using your thumb and index fingers, gently squeeze each lip of the vulva, sliding your fingers up and down the entire length of each lip. Then, carefully repeat this with each inner lip of the Yoni, being careful to vary the pressure and speed of your touch. Next, gently stroke the clitoris in a circular motion, clockwise and counter-clockwise. Then, squeeze the clitoris between your thumb and index finger.

As you do this, continue asking your lover to give their pleasure rating from 0 – 10. When a spot is given a rating of 5 or higher, push, caress, and gently squeeze that area more firmly to see if the pleasure rating changes. 

6. Move into the vagina.

Next, slowly and with great care, insert your middle finger into the vagina. Very gently explore and press the inside of the Yoni with your finger. As you do so, ask your partner how that feels and prompt more pleasure ratings. Varying the speed and depth of your finger, feel inside the Yoni up, down and around. With your palm pointing upward and your finger inside your partner’s Yoni, bend your finger to make contact with the G-spot. 

7. Continue for as long as your lover desires.

Continue massaging with different speeds and pressures. At this point, your lover may wish not to give pleasure ratings anymore — let your lover just relax and keep breathing. If your lover has an orgasm, keep up with the breathing, and continue massaging if your lover desires. More orgasms may occur at this point, though, if they do not, just enjoy the ride! 

Keep massaging until your partner requests that you stop. Slowly, and with respect, remove your hands. Allow your partner to lay there and bask in the afterglow of the Yoni massage, while you experience the joy of being of service. If your lover wishes, at this point you can gently massage the hands or feet using the mushroom massager.

Try the Lingam Pleasure Mapping Technique:

(Lingam, or “Penis”, is derived from Sanskrit.)

1. Get your partner relaxed and comfortable.

Have your partner lie face-up with legs spread apart and knees bent. Optional: place a pillow under your lover’s head and/or hips. 

2. Both partners must remember to breathe.

Mindful breathing is a large part of what separates Tantra from regular sexual experiences. While you give your partner the lingam massage, try something called Ujiayi (ooh-JAH-yee), or “Bliss Breath”, in tandem:

To perform Ujjayi breathing:

  1. Close your mouth
  2. Take a long, deep inhale through your nose, while lightly constricting the back of your throat (your breath will make a whispery kind of noise)
  3. Hold it for a second
  4. Exhale slowly through your nose, while lightly constricting the back of your throat (your breath will make a whispery kind of noise)

3. Encourage your partner to breathe deeply.

Before you begin the lingam massage, tune into your partner by engaging in the “bliss breath” together. Just taking a few breaths at the same time will put you both at ease and match your bio-rhythms. You’ll both get all the good vibes. Ask your partner if you may continue before you begin.

4. Lubricate and massage lightly around the penis with both hands.

Massager: If you started with Round 1, your hands may have the other hemp massage oil on them. Wash your hands and switch to the lube or a food-grade oil (coconut oil is fantastic: not only does it smell delicious, it has a very light, slippery texture without being sticky.). Make sure you oil both the shaft of the penis and the testicles. Start by sliding up and down the thighs before getting to the good stuff. This will also make your partner feel more relaxed. Feel free to compliment your partner, though don’t lose focus on the Ask and Answer. 

Receiver: Give your Pleasure Rating on the sliding scale of 1 – 10. Don’t worry about whether or not you are impressing your lover; only focus your breathing and on the pleasure you are feeling.

Massager: Move onto the testicles. Gently, slowly massage them. You can use your fingernails gently on his testicles, or pull them slightly. You can also cup them in your hands and fondle them in the palm of your hand.

Massage each of the areas around the testicles and penis (i.e., the pubic bone in the front, the inner part of the thighs, and the perineum—or “taint”—which is the area between the testicles and the anus).

5. Massage the shaft.

Once you’ve teased the areas around the lingam, move to the shaft. Vary your grip between harder and lighter. Vary your stroke sequences between straight up and down and a twisting motion.

Vary the action from one hand to two hands. When using just one hand, alternate between using the right and left hands.

Start slowly and build up to a faster pace, then make it slow again. Keep alternating the pressure, speed, rhythm, and methods.

Also, alternate the shaft strokes to start from the root of the shaft all the way up to the head. Once at the head, you can either continue the straight up and down motion, or you can do the twist—going from the root of the shaft and stopping just below the tip of the penis.

Variety is the key here.

When using two hands, you can do it a few different ways:

1. Both hands hold the penis in the same direction with the fingers pointing the same way.

2. One hand holds the penis facing one way and the other hand faces the other way.

3. Both hands move up and down at the same time. Use plenty of lube to keep the texture slippery and smooth.

4. The bottom hand moves up and down while the top hand does a swirling/twisting action at the tip of the penis.

6. Edge your lover – don’t allow climax. Rather, keep your lover at the edge of orgasm.

By now, your lover might be very worked up and might want to come. If you are paying close attention to breathing patterns, how the body moves, and the moaning, you should be able to predict whether your partner is nearing orgasm. At this point, slow it down and remind your partner to breathe and ride the wave of orgasmic feelings. At this point, your lover might go from being rock hard to semi-hard. Don’t worry. That’s what’s supposed to happen.

7. Continue for as long as your lover desires.

Continue massaging with different speeds and pressures. At this point, your lover may wish not to give pleasure ratings anymore — let your lover just relax and keep breathing. If your lover has an orgasm, keep up with the breathing, and continue massaging if your lover desires. More orgasms may occur at this point, though, if they do not, just enjoy the ride! 

Keep massaging until your partner requests that you stop. Slowly, and with respect, remove your hands. Allow your partner to lay there and bask in the afterglow of the Yoni massage, while you experience the joy of being of service. If your lover wishes, at this point you can gently massage the hands or feet using the mushroom massager.

Try the Prostate Pleasure Mapping Technique:

8. Stimulate the p-spot externally.

The prostate, or “male g-spot”, which is a walnut-sized gland located between the bladder and the penis. When stimulated properly, it is very pleasurable.

You can access the prostate either internally (by inserting your fingers or the Gläs curved massage toy into the booty) or externally (through massaging the outside without penetration).

If your lover isn’t experienced with prostate massage, start externally. Look for an indentation somewhere between the size of a pea and a walnut midway between the testicles and the anus. Push gently inward. As you do so, have your lover continue to give you numbers. Be careful to go slowly and let your lover guide you in terms of pressure.

When you hit the right spot, massage it by pushing in with your fingers or knuckles, then backing off and pushing in again. You can also use a circular massage motion. If he’s especially hairy, use more lube so you can get to the area more easily.

9. If your lover is comfortable, stimulate internally.

If your lover enjoyed the prostate massage, take it to the next level with an internal massage. If the game, you’ll want to loosen up the anus with lube. Start by massaging the outside of the anus with your fingers in a slow, smooth, and gentle circular motion. Don’t insert a finger without express permission. Ask if your lover is ready for more.

If he is ready for insertion, make sure his anus and your fingers are oiled up. Make sure your nails don’t have any jagged edges. Start by inserting just the tip of one finger at first. Wiggle it back and forth to loosen him up. Once he’s comfortable with that, you can insert your finger(s) more deeply, as the prostate is about 2 to 3 inches inside the anus, closer to the anterior wall of the rectum.

Once there, you can gently caress it by moving your finger from side to side, up and down, or “milking” it with a come hither motion with your finger(s). Continue asking for Pleasure Ratings.

10. Keep massaging until your partner wishes to stop.

Continue massaging with different speeds and pressures. At this point, your lover may wish not to give pleasure ratings anymore — let your lover just relax and keep breathing. If your lover has an orgasm, keep up with the breathing, and continue massaging if your lover desires. More orgasms may occur at this point, though, if they do not, just enjoy the ride! 

Keep massaging until your partner requests that you stop. Slowly, and with respect, remove your hands. Allow your partner to lay there and bask in the afterglow of the Yoni massage, while you experience the joy of being of service. If your lover wishes, at this point you can gently massage the hands or feet using the mushroom massager.

Complete Article HERE!

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Mindful sex: could it put an end to unhappiness in bed?

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Mindfulness has been used to treat depression and encourage healthy eating. Now, with huge numbers of men and women reporting sexual dissatisfaction, it is being applied to our relationships

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So there you are, in bed with your partner, having perfectly pleasant if serviceable sex, when your mind starts to wander: what was it you meant to put on your shopping list? Why didn’t your boss reply to your email? Don’t forget it’s bin day tomorrow.

Many of us feel disconnected during sex some or most of the time. At the more extreme end, sexual dysfunction – erectile problems, vaginal pain, zero libido – can severely hamper our quality of life and our relationships. In many cases, there could be a relatively simple, if not easily achieved, fix: mindfulness.

In essence, mindfulness involves paying attention to what is happening in the present moment and noticing, without judgment, your thoughts and feelings. It can reconnect us with our bodies – stopping us spending so much time in our heads – and reduce stress. It has been used by the NHS as a treatment for recurrent depression and popular books and apps have made it part of many people’s everyday lives. After mindful eating, drinking, parenting and working, mindful lovemaking is starting to be recognised more widely as a way to improve one’s sex life. (Earlier this year, the couples therapist Diana Richardson gave a TEDx talk on mindfulness in sex, which has been viewed 170,000 times on YouTube.)

A survey published in June by Public Health England found that 49% of 25- to 34-year-old women complained of a lack of sexual enjoyment; across all ages, 42% of women were dissatisfied. The most recent National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles, published in 2013, found that people in Britain were having less sex than they once did, with low sexual function affecting about 15% of men and 30% of women. Difficulty achieving orgasm was reported by 16% of women, while 15% of men suffered premature ejaculation and 13% experienced erectile dysfunction. Problems with sexual response were common, affecting 42% of men and 51% of women who reported one or more problems in the last year.

At the time, the researchers said modern life could be affecting our sex drives.
 
“People are worried about their jobs, worried about money. They are not in the mood for sex,” said Cath Mercer from University College London. “But we also think modern technologies are behind the trend, too. People have tablets and smartphones and they are taking them into the bedroom, using Twitter and Facebook, answering emails.”

Mindfulness is one of the tools that can help people focus in a world full of distractions. Kate Moyle, a psychosexual and couples therapist, says mindfulness is a recognised part of therapeutic work, even if it has not always been given that name. “When people have sexual problems, a lot of the time it’s anxiety-related and they’re not really in their bodies, or in the moment. Mindfulness brings them back into the moment. When people say they’ve had the best sex and you ask them what they were thinking about, they can’t tell you, because they weren’t thinking about anything, they were just enjoying the moment. That’s mindfulness.” Moyle says the techniques involve “encouraging people to focus on their sensations, explore their senses, hone in on what is happening in their body and how they’re experiencing it”.

A simple exercise Moyle recommends is “getting in touch with the senses in the shower – listen to the noise, the sensation of the water on your skin, notice any smells, see what the water tastes like, look around you. You’re really encouraging people to try to stay in their bodies, rather than be in their heads. It’s about refocusing their attention on what they can feel right now.”

Ammanda Major, the head of clinical practice at the relationship support organisation Relate, says mindful sex “is about focusing in the moment on what’s going on for you and making sure all the extraneous things get left behind. For example, if you’re being touched by your partner, it’s really focusing on those sensations. People may find themselves very distracted during sex, so this is a way of bringing themselves into their body and being totally aware of themselves in that moment.” It is now part of the standard advice and support Relate offers to clients, she says. “It can feel clunky to start with, but with practice people realise they’re able to engage in mindfulness without realising they’re doing it.” In short, it becomes a way of life. Other than focusing on sensations, people can bring into sex an awareness of “how nice your partner feels, or how nice they smell, or the sound of their voice – something that will bring you right back into the moment. When you have thoughts that distract you, one of the key issues is not to blame yourself, but just to acknowledge it and cast them adrift.”

At the Jane Wadsworth sexual function clinic at St Mary’s hospital in London, mindfulness is used in almost all sexual problems, says David Goldmeier, a clinical lead and consultant in sexual medicine. These approaches have been used in sex therapy since the 50s, but they were not known as mindfulness at the time. The American researchers William Masters and Virginia Johnson used a technique called “sensate focus”, emphasising the exploration of physical sensations rather than focusing on the goal of orgasm.

A mindful approach can help men with erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation. “If you have a man who has an erection problem and is stressed by it, a lot of his mind [during sex] will be worrying: ‘Have I got an erection or not?’” says Goldmeier. It is also used to help men and women who find it hard to orgasm or have low desire, as well as in sexual problems relating to abuse. “In our clinic, we see an awful lot of people with historical sexual abuse and [mindfulness is] a foundation for the trauma therapy they have. It is useful in sexual problems that are based in large part on past sexual abuse,” he says.

Lori Brotto, one of the leading researchers in this area, agrees. In her book Better Sex Through Mindfulness, she wrote of a study she published in 2012, which noted that “teaching sexual abuse survivors to mindfully pay attention to the present moment, to notice their genital sensations and to observe ‘thoughts’ simply as events of the mind, led to marked reductions in their levels of distress during sex”.

Brotto is a professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia and the executive director of the Women’s Health Research Institute in Canada. Having started sex research during her graduate degree, she began studying mindfulness in 2002. Mindfulness-based treatments had been used effectively for people with suicidal tendencies – these ancient techniques started to be used widely in western medicine in the 70s – and Brotto realised they could also be helpful for addressing the sexual concerns of women who had survived cancer. “What struck me was … how the patients I was seeing with suicidal tendencies, who would talk about feeling disconnected from themselves and having a real lack of awareness of their internal sensations, were very similar to the women with sexual concerns,” she says. “At that time, I thought: ‘If mindfulness could be an effective way of staying in the present and helping them manage these out-of-control behaviours, I wonder if it could also be a tool to help women reconnect with their sexual selves and improve their sexual functioning.’”

Sexual problems can be caused by a huge range of factors. Depression and stress can be triggers, as can the side-effects of antidepressants. Over time, these side-effects can become a psychological factor, as people worry that they are no longer sexually responsive. Problems can also be caused by physical conditions such as vaginal pain, or inhibitions and shame about sexual desire, particularly for some women and people in same-sex relationships. Survivors of sexual abuse, who learned to dissociate during an assault, can also experience distressing sexual problems in a later consensual and otherwise happy relationship. “Mindfulness is such a simple practice, but it really addresses many of the reasons why people have sexual concerns,” says Brotto.

At its most basic, she explains, mindfulness is defined as “present-moment nonjudgmental awareness. Each of those three components are critical for healthy sexual function. For a lot of women who report low desire, lack of response and low arousal in particular, all three of those domains are problematic.” Being “present” is critical. “Then there is the nonjudgmental part – countless studies have shown that people who have sexual difficulties tend also to have very negative and catastrophic thoughts: ‘If I don’t respond, my partner will leave me,’ or: ‘If I don’t have an adequate level of desire, I’m broken.’ Mindfulness and paying attention nonjudgmentally is about evoking compassion for yourself.”

Body image issues come up consistently, she says. “Women will often say they prefer to have the lights off, or they’ll redirect their partner’s hands away from the areas of their body they’re not happy with, or they may be worrying that a partner is perceiving their body in a negative way. All of those things serve to remove them from the present moment.”

As for awareness, Brotto says, “lots of data shows us that women, more so than men, tend to be somewhat disconnected from what’s happening in their bodies”. Her experiments have shown that women can experience physical arousal, such as increased blood flow to their vagina, but it barely registers mentally. “There may be a strong physiological response, [but] there’s no awareness in their mind of that response. We know that healthy sexual response requires the integration of the brain and body, so when the mind is elsewhere – whether it’s distracted or consumed with catastrophic thoughts – all of that serves to interrupt that really important feedback loop.”

It can be the same for some men, she says, but “there tends to be more concordance between the body’s arousal and the mind’s arousal. When men have a physical response, they’re also much more likely to have a mental sexual arousal response.”

While working with a group or a sex therapist can be helpful for people with sexual concerns, others can teach themselves mindfulness techniques using books or any number of apps. In her book, Brotto says mindfulness practice can be as simple as focusing on your breath. An exercise she uses involves focusing on a raisin (this is a well-established practice and there are many tutorials online). First, scrutinise it – its shape, size, smell, feel, its ridges and valleys – then put it to your lips and notice your anticipation and salivary response; finally, bite into it and observe, in detail, the taste and texture. This can teach us to focus on sensations and the moment, rather than mindlessly eating a handful of raisins. The same sort of attention can be applied to sex.

In Brotto’s eight-week group programme, people practice mindfulness techniques for 30 minutes each day, followed by a maintenance plan of between 10 and 15 minutes a day. For someone doing it on their own, she recommends starting with 10 minutes a day and trying to include a few 30-minute sessions. “The benefit of a longer practice is you get to deal with things such as boredom and frustration, and physical discomfort in the body, all of which you want to be able to work through,” she says. “A body scan is one of our favourites within the sexuality realm – that involves closing your eyes and really tuning in to the different sensations in different parts of your body and not trying to change anything, just observing. If people can start to do that in their life generally, on a regular basis, they strengthen that mindfulness ‘muscle’ and start to become more aware generally and they can take that newfound awareness into their sexuality.”

When we have better sex, we tend to want more of it, so it becomes a satisfying circle. “Desire is not a fixed level that each one of us has, but rather is adaptive and responsive to our situation,” says Brotto. “When sex is not satisfying, it makes sense that the brain adjusts itself and creates less [desire].”

Mindful sex does not have to be an intense, time-consuming session. “It can be very everyday; it doesn’t have to be a different type of sex,” says Moyle. “You might have sex the same way, in the same position, but you’re in a different headspace, so you’re experiencing it differently. People can think: ‘I’m not into mindfulness,’ or: ‘It’s a bit spiritual and I’m not,’ but it doesn’t have to be that. It can just be really straightforward – focusing your attention and fully experiencing sensations.”

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