Bedroom Insider

A blog about relationships, intimacy and sex toys.

Friday, December 21, 2018

The Lowdown on Flavored Lube

Ice-cream, lips and tongue

Have you heard about all the different kinds of lube? There’s water-based and silicone-based and oil-based and hybrid and thick and thin and toy-compatible and condom-compatible and the list goes on and on. There’s a different lube suited for every purpose, and everyone has their preferences. When it comes to lube for oral sex however, flavored lube might be your best bet.

While all lubes are perfectly fine for oral consumption, they might not taste great. That’s where a good flavored lube comes in. Perusing the lube section of any sex toy store reveals heaps of flavored products like cotton candy hand job gel, oral sex “Tingle Drops”, and edible massage candles and oils. Lots of people use these products, too. Some folks find the taste of genitals unappealing and use something tastier to cover up that flavor. Some use it to aid their dry mouths and make oral sex more slippery and pleasurable. Others simply find candy-flavored bits to be a fun experience.

The problem with flavored lube is that it can upset the balance of yeast or bacteria in the vagina. Every vagina has it’s own little healthy world of perfectly balanced bacteria and yeast cells. If something were to upset that balance, such as introduction of a lubricant, semen, or douching, some of that bacteria or yeast may become overactive and cause an infection. Yeast infections (where the yeast cells overgrow), and Bacterial Vaginosis (BV for short, when bacteria become overactive), are incredibly common. In fact, most women will experience at least one of these in their lifetime.

BV is triggered by a change in the pH of the vagina, and yeast infections are often triggered by an increase in what those yeast cells eat, sugars. Anything you introduce to the vagina, such as the lubricant, semen, or douching, can cause either of these uncomfortable issues. However, flavored lube is especially risky because it contains more sweeteners than its flavorless counterpart. Glycerine, for example, is what makes many lubricants slippery. However, it’s actually a type of sugar and can therefore trigger yeast infections.

But fear not, this doesn’t mean you can never use a flavored lubricant. You may just need to pay close attention to what kind of lube you use and how your body reacts when you use it. When choosing a flavored lubricant, look for something with a short ingredients list, and avoid glycerine if you can. Usually, this will mean a more expensive purchase, but it’s still cheaper than a trip to the doctor to clear up an infection. Wicked, for example, has a short ingredients list (although it does contain glycerine) and has flavors like salted caramel and pink lemonade, while JO Naturalove is strawberry-flavored glycerine-free goodness (and it’s organic too!). Some brands even offer Sample packs, which allow you to try a couple flavors before buying a whole bottle.

When using a flavored lubricant, there are some things you can do to reduce your chances of an infection. First, using a flavored lubricant on a penis is usually fine. While penises can also get yeast infections, it’s far less common. If that penis is going into a vagina afterwards, however, you may want to use some precautions. For example, you could rinse off the lube before having intercourse, you could cover up with a condom (hooray for bonus STI protection!), or you could use a flavored condom for oral sex and switch condoms for vaginal sex. For oral sex on a vulva or anus (yes, yeast infections can develop there, too!), dental dams are a great tool to allow the giver to experience the flavor without the receiver coming in contact with the lube. Of course, as with any sex act, peeing after sex can help reduce chances of infections, especially those of the urinary tract.

After you play with a flavored lube, pay close attention to how your body reacts. If you experience any burning, redness, or swelling in your genitals, or pain or burning when you pee or during sex, it is most likely a sign your body didn’t react well to the lube. If you experience an unusual white discharge from your vagina, you may be experiencing a yeast infection. If that discharge smells “fishy”, it may be BV. Both of these infections are incredibly common and can be treated by a clinician, so refrain from sex and get yourself to a doctor.

If your body does respond with an infection, remember that there’s nothing shameful about it. Yes, it can be uncomfortable, but contrary to popular assumptions, it doesn’t mean that your vagina is “dirty”. Some sensitive bodies get them often, some get them once or twice, and some don’t get them at all. Some folks will be able to use a flavored lube with no problems, some will be able to use one but not another, and some won’t be able to use any at all. It’s up to you to be mindful of what lube you use and how you use it, so you can best take care of your body.

By: Sammi
Follow on Twitter @Squeaky_Springs

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Why Sex Hurts

Couple lying in bed under sheets
Painful sex, also known as dyspareunia, is unfortunately common especially when you consider how simple some of the solutions can be. If you experience pain or discomfort when you have sex, it might be due to one of the reasons below.

You're Not Using Lube

Although some people view lube as something that you shouldn't need because a person should be turned on enough to self-lubricate, this is actually the wrong way to look at it. A person's natural lubrication varies such as with their menstrual cycle, and some vaginas never lubricate that much. Plus, medicine (anti-histamines, birth control, SSRI used to treat anxiety or depression, and insomnia medication can all contribute to vaginal dryness), and certain health conditions can interfere with your body's ability to self-lubricate.

When it comes to anal sex, you should always use lube because the anus isn't able to self-lubricate.

Almost everyone will benefit from using lube. Even if it sex doesn't necessarily hurt, lube can make it more comfortable and allow you to have sex for longer. Don't just think that using lube helps the receiving partner, either. Trying to penetrate an orifice that isn't properly lubricated can be quite uncomfortable, too!

You're Not Turned On

Although this plays into the previous point because being more turned on equals more self-lubrication, there's more at work here. Aside from lubrication, being properly aroused leads to ballooning of the vagina, which makes more room for penetration by a partner's penis, fingers, or even a toy.

The solution to this one is simple, fortunately. Spend more time on core activities such as making out, manual stimulation, oral sex, or whatever it is that gets you really turned on. That way, you'll be ready for penetration.

There's Cervical Contact

While a few women do like when a toy or their partner's penis comes in contact with their cervix – the body part that separates your vagina from your uterus – this isn't the case for most people. Try positions that change the angle of penetration or prevent deep penetration from happening.

Remember that making contact with your cervix The position and texture of your cervix changes during your cycle. Around ovulation (approximately two weeks before your period if you have a 28-day cycle), your cervix will be higher and softer, potentially making it more difficult to touch during sex and reducing pain if you do. However, during and after your period, your cervix will typically be low and hard, and this may lead to more pain during sex.

You Have an STI 

Pain during sex could be a symptom of a sexually transmitted infection such as herpes, which causes sores. Those sores are incredibly infectious, so you should avoid being sexually active during any outbreaks. If you've noticed sores due to painful sex, it's time to talk to your doctor about treatment options.

Of course, herpes isn't the only STI that can make sex painful for you. Gonorrhea, herpes, genital warts, chlamydia, syphilis, and trichomoniasis can all put the kibosh on a good time.

...Or Another Infection

Sometimes another infection could be the culprit causing all your painful sex. It might not necessarily be transmitted sexually; although, sex could be a reason why you experience infections so frequently. Urination tract infections, bacterial infections – also known as bacterial vaginosis – and even yeast infections can become quite uncomfortable. Fortunately, you can resolve these infections fairly easily with either a trip to your doctor's office or your local pharmacy department.

There's an Underlying Medical Issue

A visit from your doctor can help determine if one of the following medical issues/conditions are why it hurts to have sex.

  • Vaginismus: Involuntary contractions of the vagina that make penetration painful or even impossible. Mindfulness practices and the use of dilators can help with this condition.
  • Paraphimosis: Happens when the foreskin is trapped behind the head of the penis so that it cannot be pulled forward.
  • Phimosis: Is foreskin too tight to move.
  • Psoriasis: A skin condition that produces red, scaly patches.
  • Menopause: Causes changing hormones that can lead to vaginal dryness as well as atrophying of vaginal tissues due to a drop of hormones. Estrogen supplements can treat the symptoms of menopause.
  • Prostatitis: An inflamed prostate.
  • Vulvodynia: A condition marked by unexplained pain in and around a vulva.
  • Imperforate or Microperforate Hymen: A normal hymen only partially covers the vagina opening and stretches to accommodate tampons, toys, or penises. An imperforate hymen completely blocks the vaginal opening, making sex or using tampons impossible. A microperforate hymen allows room for a small opening but not one big enough for comfortable penetration.

Other conditions can cause deep pelvic pain. Cervical fibroids, endometriosis, and pelvic inflammatory disease are several such conditions.

You're Allergic to Condoms or Lube

It's possible to be allergic to condoms, specifically the latex from which they are made. Burning and other discomfort during sex might be a sign that you have a latex allergy. You can opt for polyurethane or polyisoprene condoms instead of latex, however.

Lube allergies and sensitivities also exist. It could be due to an ingredient in the lube such as glycerin. Or you might be reacting to a heating or cooling lube. It's always a good idea to test lube on your inner thigh before using it during sex just in case. Some lubes and sensitizing creams contain l'arginine, which can irritate herpes and possibly make sex painful.

Other Reasons Sex Hurts

  • The angle is wrong, so your partner's penis feels more pokey than pleasurable. Or your penis is being bent at an angle that's pressing on the suspensory ligament. Beware that this ligament can fracture! A simple change of sex position can fix this – and it's fun to boot!
  • You're being too rough. Even if you're using lube, rough sex can be painful. Some people even like this pain. Keep in mind that rough sex or sex without lube can cause microtears, especially in the vagina or anus, and this can make you more susceptible to infections and STIs.

Although sex is occasionally painful, especially for women, there's no reason why it should cause you discomfort some or even all of the time. Whether you take a bit of time to find the perfect lube or condoms for you or to add more foreplay or you talk to your doctor, you can have more comfortable sex and discover how pleasurable sex can be!

By: Adriana Ravenlust
Follow on Twitter @adriana_r

Monday, December 3, 2018

How to Give a Sex Toy As a Gift

Woman choosing sex handcuffs and mask

Birthdays, bachelor parties, divorces. What do these events have in common? They're all occurrences where it might be appropriate to give someone a sex toy. However, vibrators, dildos, and other sexy extras are not always the right choice for a gift. Here's what you need to know if you're considering giving a sex toy to someone.

Know Your Recipient

If your potential receiver is quite closed off about sex or even publicly prudish, then a sex toy is a bad idea – even as a gag. Furthermore, if you don't know your intended receiver well enough to know where they stand on the subject of sex toys, then you don't know them well enough to buy them a sex toy!

For this reason, buying a sex toy for your significant other doesn't usually present an issue. And you might also feel comfortable purchasing a sex toy or accessory for a good friend or even a sibling. Regardless of your level of closeness, if you're unsure how well this present will go over, you can hint at the gift and pay close attention to their reaction.

Buying a sex toy is such a personal endeavor. Do you prefer clitoral, nipple, vaginal, anus, penile, or some other type of stimulation? What about vibrations: should they be buzzy or deep? Is a rechargeable vibrator better or one that uses batteries more convenient? Do you prefer a plug-in wand that has Earth-shaking vibrations?

I say this not to dissuade you from buying someone a sex toy as a gift but to remind you to think of the recipient whose preference may differ from yours. You might prefer external stimulation or a dildo as thick as your arm, but not everyone does.

Finally, don't buy a present for your significant other that's actually a gift for you. While it might be fun to try something new in the bedroom, it's kinder to give them a gift that will enhance their own pleasure specifically.

Mind the Audience

If you give the bride-to-be a vibrator at her bridal shower, you might wind up offending her grandmother or future mother-in-law. The same gift might go over much better at a bachelor party. On the other hand, a friend who might be perfectly fine receiving a sex toy as a gift in private but might feel embarrassed to open such a present in the presence of others.

Don't Skimp

You can find sex toys available in a wide range of prices. While you might be tempted to buy something on the cheaper end, this could be a mistake especially if you're looking at rock-bottom prices on Amazon. The toy might be more likely to break or have its motor die at an inopportune moment. Furthermore, it could be made of a material that's no body-safe and could cause a reaction or even an infection (it's best to stick to plastic, glass, silicone, metal, or wood, all of which are body-safe).

The Internet is a great place to find reviews on toys if you're unsure. You can also check out sex toy reviewer's blogs to see what toys they like – and what they don't like.

Think Versatile

When you're shopping for someone whose preferences are well-known, you might opt for a particular toy such as a butt plug. However, if you're not sure or if your recipient is unfamiliar with sex toys, you might be better off buying something that can be more versatile.

For example, some G-spot toys can also be used for anal play. And many insertable vibrators can just as easily be used to stimulate the clitoris or nipples. If you buy something too specific and the person you're shopping for realizes they don't like that sort of stimulation, then they may simply have a sex toy that collects dust. But if you give them something that can be used in a variety of ways, it's easier for them to find a use for the toy.

Remember the Warranty

Some sex toys come with warranties, which is a nice option when you're buying for a friend. If something should happen to the toy, your friend may be able to get a replacement. Brands that offer a warranty include:

Screaming O
BS Atelier

Not every product may include a warranty, so make sure to investigate before you make your purchase.

Other manufacturers may offer warranties as well.

When In Doubt, Consider a Gift Card

While a gift card doesn't necessarily scream “personal,” it does come with a few perks. First, your recipient can buy whatever they want and at their own pace. If it's a card to an online retailer, they can shop from the privacy of their own home; otherwise, they can get their hands on the toy in store to see if they really like the size, shape, texture, and material. If they plan to use the toy with someone, say a spouse, the pair can shop together and find something that meets their needs as a couple. They might also find this activity quite sexy.

Don't Expect a Full Report

Just because you're close enough to someone to buy them a sex toy that will be accepted gratefully and used happily doesn't mean you should expect a detailed report about its use. It might simply not be the right toy for your recipient, or they may realize they're not comfortable using toys. While you might inquire whether they've enjoyed their gift, you definitely shouldn't press, and you should accept whatever answer they give you.

Of course, if this wasn't the toy for them and they're looking for advice to buy something a little more fitting, you can always offer our opinion!

The more you know about your intended recipient, the better the odds that you can buy them a sex toy that will be both appreciated and effective. A little research can prevent strain on your relationship and avoid embarrassing your friend.

By: Adriana Ravenlust
Follow on Twitter @adriana_r