Bedroom Insider

A blog about relationships, intimacy and sex toys.


Thursday, May 9, 2019

How to Go from Good Sex To Great Sex


Above top view of passionate beautiful naughty sexualcouple, woman domination and provocation she is kissing the handsome man on a bed and wearing lace black erotic underwear


A lot of people simply want to know the techniques that will make good sex into great sex, and you'll find plenty of those within our blog posts. But you can try all sorts of new things to make your good sex great and wind up a little disappointed. Why is that? There are two factors at play: your attitude and communication.

Your Attitudes About Sex


We start with attitude because if you have a bad attitude about sex, then you're unlikely to communicate about it effectively. Of course, some people may have a pretty healthy view of sex. If you're one of
them, you might want to skip this section.

What do we mean when we talk about a healthy attitude about sex?

  • You recognize that sex (with others and yourself) is natural and healthy
  • You don't judge others or yourself for your sexual preferences (as long as they involve consenting adults)
  • You recognize that having great sex can take work
  • You proactively take charge of your sexual healthYou don't prioritize your partner's pleasure over your own
  • You have sex because and only when you want to
Many of these ideas are tenets of the sex-positive movement, and while it's gaining traction, it's harder to shed "sex negative" thoughts than you might realize.

If you've been taught your entire life that sex is scary or risky, that your sexuality belongs to another person (such as a partner), that your pleasure is less important than someone else's (often true for women), that sex is your duty, that sex should only be for procreation (thus sex with yourself, multiple people, using birth control, or with a same-sex partner is immoral), that you shouldn't be interested in sex or any of the myriad other things that society impressed upon us, you might not look so favorably on sex.

You may have spent much of your sex life having mediocre sex, perhaps dealing with pain or discomfort or partners who don't care about your sexual pleasure. You might not be familiar with your anatomy. You may never have learned that sex can be good for you. It may be something that you simply grin and bear until it's over. Or you may have felt coerced to say "Yes" to sex you didn't want.

None of these things is helpful if you want to have a happy and healthy sex life, and several of these attitudes can get in the way of your pleasure and fostering greater intimacy with your partner(s).

How do you change attitudes about sex?


It's certainly easier said than done. You might start by examining how those attitudes have harmed you. You might finally admit your real desires and fantasies.

It also helps to learn more about sex whether that be by reading books, listening to podcasts, or attending lectures and sessions. There are so many resources available if you want to learn. You might be surprised how much you didn't know, but it's not your fault. Society often hides sex in the shadows.

Sex positivity can include talking to people about sex. We don't mean just your partner; although, we'll get to that in a moment. We mean friends, siblings, parents, and anyone else whom you might know. Recognizing that sex is healthy and natural and something to be enjoyed enables you to talk without shame. Knowing this can encourage you to speak to your doctor about any sexual problems.

One particular person who may prove helpful is a sex-positive therapist who can help you work through long-held beliefs about sex that are not longer aiding you. Although some professionals may be sex-negative, the right therapist can help you experience your sexuality more fully.

Let's Talk About Communication


Once you've got a healthy relationship with sex, it's time to consider your relationships with other people (unless, of course, you're sticking to solo sex).

Many people have the type of sex they think they should have, which might be good enough, but may not scratch every itch. You might want to try something such as bondage or spanking instead of just having "vanilla" sex. You may want your partner to pay more attention to your clitoris during sex or find yourself wishing that foreplay took longer.

These are all valid desires and, in some cases, are quite natural. If you're a woman, you've dealt with sex that prioritizes a man's orgasm. Even men might be surprised by how much better good sex can become once they talk about it.

Some people might think that talking about sex is silly. As long as it's good enough, why do it? After all, it's such an awkward conversation to have.

While that's true, it sets limits on your sexual experiences. Talking about sex means you can describe your fantasies, ask for what you want, talk dirty, and get to know your partner better.

There are a few things to keep in mind when talking about sex.

  • These conversations don't have to be tense or a "big deal." Keep a light tone and use humor when talking about sex. Just make sure the humor isn't at the expense of your partner.
  • Don't assume that the response will be negative or a rejection. Allow your partner to surprise you.
  • It's usually smart not to have a conversation about sex in the middle of sex or right after because this may come off as criticism.
  • Start the conversation when you know your partner has time for it and not when they're busy or distracted. You can let your partner know that you'd like to talk about sex when there's time.
  • Try not to have conversations where your partner will feel "trapped." This means that conversations in a vehicle might be ill-advised.
  • Be prepared to hear your partner's own desires and needs when you open the channels of communication.
  • Avoid blame or judgment in these conversations.

Remember that the sooner you make a habit of talking about sex, the easier it will be. If you can talk about sex when your sex life is good, you'll have an easier time should you run into any trouble down the line. These skills can also apply to other difficult discussions you may have.

Talking about your sex life allows you to explore with your partner, and both of you may find that sex gets even better by doing so. Communication is the foundation that lets you try any toy or technique you might discover.

Adopting a healthy attitude about sex and developing the skills to talk about sex can transform a good sex life into an even better one, and it can also help you improve your sex life if it's lackluster.

By: Adriana Ravenlust
Follow on Twitter @adriana_r

Friday, April 5, 2019

Nipple Pleasure: Techniques and Toys

Passionate beautiful charming seductive tempting gorgeous brunette sitting behind embracing back

Nipples are awesome. They’re cute, they’re purposeful (if there’s an infant to feed), and thanks to being loaded with nerve endings, they’re pleasurable. As a bonus, everyone has them. Although nipple play is usually associated with women, men too can experience good feelings from having these sensitive spots touched. Nipple pleasure is for everyone!

Everyone feels differently about having their nipples touched. Some folks detest having them so much as accidentally brushed. Some like light touch, some like them really pinched, and some can orgasm solely from playing with their nipples without touching their genitals at all.

One way to find out what your own nipples (or those of your partner) enjoy is to start exploring. Experiment with varying sensations: light, soft touches, rougher pinches, a flick. You could try massaging, squeezing, using the thumb to rub around the nipple, rolling it between the thumb and index finger, or pinching a small or larger section. If you’ve got a partner (or can reach your own nipples with your face!), you can use a mouth and tongue to kiss or suck. As with any sexual activity, it’s often best to warm up with gentler touches before increasing intensity and clamping down. If you’re performing this on your partner, be sure to pay attention to their body language to see how they respond to each touch, and if you’re not sure, ask!

If you’ve discovered that nipple play is something you or your partner enjoys and you’ve done all sorts of things using just your hands, perhaps it’s time to try a nipple toy. Nipple toys are great for solo play, leaving your nipples secured and your hands free to do other pleasurable activities.

Nipple Suckers work by using suction to increase blood flow around this sensitive area. Some are a simple hollow rubber or silicone ball you squeeze air out of to suck nipples in. Some feature a tube with a twist to create a vacuum to do the same, creating a more intense feeling then the former.

Nipple Clamps come in different shapes and sizes. Some even have cool extra features like vibration or warming sensations. Tweezer style clamps look like their namesake and use a sliding ring to increase pressure. Alligator clamps look a bit like a clothespin, but tighten with a screw, as do Mandible clamps, which are especially pinchy. Clover or Butterfly clamps become tighter when the string is pulled. Other operate by sandwiching the nipple between two rods and using screws or bands to tighten to the desired level of pinch.

Some folks enjoy visually pleasing decorations, like fake piercings, tassels, or feathers. These may have adhesive backing for sticking on, utilize magnets, or be attached to a clamp.

If incorporating nipple play into your sexual arsenal makes you nervous, or if you’re having trouble finding pleasure in it, try mixing it with other sexual activities. Use a sex toy on your genitals while touching your nipples, or a sex toy on your nipples while touching your genitals. You can also have a partner provide either sort of pleasure to allow you to focus on what you’re doing.
Nipples are an underappreciated erogenous zone of the human body. Whatever you discover about your nipples, whether they’re extra sensitive or don’t feel a thing, know that it’s normal and healthy and unique to you.

By: Sammi
Follow on Twitter @Squeaky_Springs

Friday, March 29, 2019

A Guide to Impact Toys

dominant woman with riding crop, bdsm. Beautiful woman ass in fishnet stockings and whip. Strict woman domination

Have you ever fantasized about a good spanking? Do you love the sound of leather hitting skin? Have you ever looked at a whip, flogger, or paddle, and wondered what it would feel like? If so, you might be interested in impact play and the wide variety of toys that can be used for it. In BDSM and kink, “impact play” is the practice of consensually hitting someone with something for the pleasure for all involved. While that might sound intimidating and intense, impact play can be whatever level of intensity one wants to. It can vary from gentle playful spanking to a walloping with an elaborate array of implements that leave a happy receiver with bruises all over.

While all sex acts should always be discussed before they happen, because of this variance and possibility of harm to the receiver, it’s especially important to talk to a partner in depth before bringing out the paddles and floggers. This way, everyone involved can have a discussion about safety, boundaries, and preferences. When talking to a partner about impact play, be sure to establish safe words to halt play, areas on the body that are okay and not okay to hit (and do some research beforehand to learn about these safe zones), how soft or hard to strike, and what toys to use.

Impact toys can be made rom different kinds of materials, including leather, faux leather, suede, wood, rubber, and plastic. Depending on the material, shape, and size of the implement, it can cause different kinds of pain, differentiated as “thuddy” or “stingy”. A “thuddy” sensation refers to pain that is felt deeper in the body, while “stingy” describes pain that is felt on the surface of the skin. If you’re curious, you can test these sensations on your thigh with your hand. A slap with an open hand causes much more of a sting compared with a closed-fist punch, which offers more of a thud. Each implement will cause both types of pain, but some lean more towards one than the other. This list of toys is organized from least to most painful.

Hands


The tool that perhaps everyone begins impact play with, your own hand is perfectly equipped for hitting your consenting play partner. It’s free, you already own it, and it can be used to create a range of different sensations. As mentioned above, an open palm with fingers together will cause the most sting and a wonderful noise. Cupping the hand will give another different feel and sound, and making a fist will change things even more. Using a hand to first try impact play is great practice for what sorts of sensations the receiving person enjoys, which can lead to ideas on which toy to try next.

Paddles


A classic paddle is often the next step after using hands. These toys are generally broad, flat, and made of firmer materials like wood. They offer one of the widest impact areas among implements, and have quite the variance in stingy and thuddy sensations. Thuddier toys tend to be heavier and more rigid, while something will sting more if it’s flexible and thin. Something with a texture will feel different than one with a smooth surface. A paddle with a pattern may even leave marks shaped like those patterns! Paddles don’t take much practice to aim and use, so they’re perfect for someone just starting out in impact play.

Crops


A Riding Crop  is like a mini paddle, but instead of a short handle and large broad impact end, it has a long thin handle with a small flat surface on the end. Because the area of contact is so much smaller, crops have much more sting than a paddle. They’re also a bit harder to aim with because of the long handle, and can take a bit more practice to get used to.

Floggers


A flogger is a bundle of long strips of material (often leather, rubber, or rope) attached at a handle. Like paddles, these can vary in thud and sting depending on the material of the tassles, but unlike paddles, they offer more variance in sensations depending on how the tool is moved. These are more difficult to aim, and therefore require a little more research before using. It is recommended to learn how to use the tool correctly through video tutorials or in-person lessons, and then practice on a pillow or other object before using (gently to begin with) on a person.

Whips


A whip is not a tool for beginners. One of the most painful of impact implements, a whip is a long single strand of material. With this single point of contact, these toys are incredibly stingy and can leave quite the welt. These require lots of practice to ensure no harm comes to the person being hit.

Canes


A cane is a long rod, sometimes with a curve on the end just like a cane someone would use to help themselves walk. These tools are sure to leave quite the mark. Canes are only recommended for those with prior impact experience, and those who are sure that they enjoy pain. If pain is what you want, a smaller, more flexible cane will cause the most, while a heavier, larger one will be a bit less intense.

As with any sex toy, each person will have their own likes and dislikes. Some folks adore impact toys, while others simply can’t fathom why someone would find sexual gratification from pain. No matter what side you lean towards or what impact toy strikes your fancy, what matters in the end is safety and consent. Communicate, negotiate, and explore what feels good to you.

By: Sammi
Follow on Twitter @Squeaky_Springs

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

How to Turn Your Partner On

Beautiful loving couple kissing in bed

The key to turning on your partner is knowing what turns them on. It might be something unexpected. For some people, feet are a huge turn on (in fact, a foot fetish is incredibly common), but others find feet to be quite a turnoff. You need to think both outside of yourself and society in general. Focus on what you know about your partner. If you’re unsure, there are a few options:

Ask directly
Try what’s worked before (or what commonly works for others)
Experiment

Talk About It


If you’re in the middle of flirting, making out, or dirty talk, you can easily ask your partner in a sultry way what turns them on. They might feel special that you’re taking the time to get to know them, and you may have a chance to talk about your own preferences. Plus, talking about what turns you on can be a turn on in and of itself.

There are other ways you can go about this, too. You can instruct your partner to show you what turns them on or even request that they tell you what to do to get them aroused. Many people find power play to be quite erotic, so these games serve dual purposes.

If your partner has trouble opening up or if you’re not even sure what might be an interest, your communication might need a kick start. You can employ technology to help. You’ll find a few tools that enable you to discover new things to try and do so in a way that’s low-pressure. Mojo Upgrade allows partners to take a quiz separately and then view overlap, but it’s not the only option. Autostraddle’s Sex Worksheet includes a section about turnons. Although less fancy, yes-no-maybe lists allow each of you to rate what you’re willing to try, would consider, and will never do in bed.

You might hear something that you find surprising or even distasteful. You don’t want to judge your partner when they reveal something so vulnerable as what gets their motors running in the bedroom. This can make them clam up and refuse to open up to you -- or any other partner -- in the future.

Go With What You Know


Although it’s never a bad idea to ask your partner about their sexual desires, turnons, and preferences, there may be times where there isn’t an opportunity. This is when you might rely on what has worked to turn on your partner’s in the past. If you lack experience, you can get a feel for common turnons online.

Things that commonly turn people on include:

Deep kissing/making out
Touching their genitals over clothing
Kisses on the ears, neck, or collar bone
Sensual massage
Watching porn or reading erotica
Sexy texting
Taking off their clothes
Taking off your clothes/performing a striptease
Talking dirty
Performing oral sex on them
Grabbing their butt
Masturbate for them or let them “catch” you
Flirting
Lighting candles or incense
Turning down the lights
Sensual music
Bondage
A blindfold

Remember that while some (perhaps even many) techniques will work for most people, no technique will work for everyone. So while your experience or advice from other people may lead you down the right road, you shouldn’t expect that it will work. Be prepared that your partner may not like everything you try, and recognize that this is okay. Avoid saying anything that might shame your partner for their preferences or bodily responses.

You still need to pay attention to how your partner reacts -- if they make noises that indicate discomfort or pain, if they’re silent, still, or they pull away from you, they’re probably not having a good time. You should check in to determine if whatever you’re doing is okay.

Bodily cues such as enlarged pupils, faster breathing, a blush over the face and chest, pulling you closer, moaning, grinding against your body, and erection (penis, nipples, clitoris), or moisture can all indicate arousal.

Explore to Find More ways to Turn Your Partner On


Experimentation is a great way to find out what else turns on your partner or how you can adapt the typical turnons. Exploring in this way combines using what you know works and communicating because you’ll need to get feedback on what you’re doing. But many of these methods rely on your body versus your mouth and mouth. Don’t forget to pay attention to their body to see how well it’s working!

Use Tools At Your Disposal 


Just like there are tools you can use to find out what your partner wants to do once they’re already turned on, there are tools to help you get there. Pillow includes a number of exercises that you might find helpful.

You can also find books, films, and other media that will coach you through similar exercises.

Sensate Focus


Sensate focus is a well-known exercise created by sex researchers Masters and Johnson. It focuses on sensuality over sexuality. In fact, you should avoid sexual touch at first Sensate focus takes place in several stages. You should try each phase twice weekly for 1-2 weeks before moving on to the next.

           1. Touch, kiss, and caress your partner’s body, avoiding the breasts and genitals. Take your time to touch every part of your partner’s body and to use different techniques to do so. Your partner can provide nonverbal feedback such as squeezing or tapping during this process. A partner can gently move your hand away if they don’t like the stimulation. The session should last at least thirty minutes before you switch roles.
           2. Start with the non-sexual touching from the first stage. However, you can now add the breast or genital areas. Remember not to engage in penetration or sexuality activities that would lead to orgasm. Keep up with the second stage for 20 minutes before switching roles.
          3. You and your partner can touch at the same time. Remember what you’ve learned from the first two phases. It’s likely you’ll become aroused, but you shouldn’t try orgasmic touching.
         4. Start the final stage with the touching you learned in the first three stages. Assume a position like that used for penetrative sex but focus on external rubbing and grinding. Lube can be helpful for this exercise After a session or two, you can move to activities that are designed to lead to orgasm.

Note that sensate focus was designed with straight couples in mind. Depending on your definition of sex, exercises in these phases, especially step 4, may qualify as sex. And while you’re not supposed to orgasm until the last phase, it can occasionally happen in an earlier stage.

When You Can’t Turn Your Partner On


Sometimes, no matter what you do, you’ll fail at arousing your partner. It’s all too easy to take this as a failure or even rejection, but don’t give up just yet. It’s time to investigate.

Do They Know Themselves?


You might have heard that it’s much harder for a partner to help you have an orgasm if you don’t already know how to have one, but this can extend to turnons, too. If your partner doesn’t know what turns them on, perhaps because of sexual inexperience, you’ll have to try things and see what works. But if their turnons are especially unique, you might not be lucky enough to stumble across them.

Encourage your partner to experiment with erotic content and masturbation. They can also research different sexual interests and activities to learn what works for them. One thing to do is to look for common themes in the erotic content they enjoy whether that be porn, a steamy movie, or erotica. This can also be applied to sexual activity or fantasy. What happens when they’re turned on? How can you incorporate that into your sex life?

Should You Focus on Their Brakes, Instead?


Sex researchers Bancroft and Janssen developed the dual-control model of sexual, which you can learn about here. In short, there are the things that turn you on (accelerators) and what turns you off (brakes). If those brakes are at 100%, it doesn’t matter how hard you push the accelerator. To ease up on the brakes, you might need to help your partner de-stress, work on relationship issues, or even use different words when discussing sex (yes, this can be that important).

Sometimes a person’s sexual brakes are things such as body image or sexual confidence, which require your partner to work on them. You can be supportive, but there’s not much you can do aside from that. Still, if your partner can let you know what prevents them from being turned on, you can

Are You Giving It Enough Time?


Some people find themselves turned on at the drop of a hat, but others? Not so much. You can’t expect your partner to be turned on immediately. For some people, especially women, it takes more time. Some people have what’s known as responsive desire, which means their desire needs the right cues. Scheduling sex can build anticipation that triggers responsive desire. You can discover more about responsive desire in Emily Nagoski’s book Come As You Are.

As you get to know your partner, you’ll discover some of those cues. But you’ll need to give it some time to work.

Allow yourself and your partner to enjoy the journey. Don’t be focused solely on the destination. Every part of sex from the turnons to the afterplay can be pleasurable! It’s one reason why I think we should stop calling it “foreplay” and work on coreplay, instead.

Discovering what turns your partner on and using that to drive your partner wild with desire can be just as scintillating for you and can make you feel powerful when you figure out the keys to unlock your partner’s arousal. Just make sure your partner is on board with the idea and you don’t treat them like an object in the process.

By: Adriana Ravenlust
Follow on Twitter @adriana_r

Thursday, February 28, 2019

12 Best Podcasts to Learn about Sexuality

Singer in front of a microphone. Isolated on a dark background

Whether you prefer the science, culture, or water cooler talk about sex, you're sure to find a podcast on this list that will whet your appetite and keep you coming back for more.

The Science of Sex

The Science of Sex Podcast is hosted by Dr. Zhana Vrangalova, a sexuality professor at NYU, and radio personality Joe Pardavila who represents a layman without sex-specific education. The two provide entertainment in the form of water cooler chat and education when they bring in sex researchers and educators to discuss the latest in sex science. Everything from kink to polyamory to orientation is discussed on this show.

American Sex 

You might already be familiar with American Sex host Sunny Megatron and her partner and co-host Ken Melvoin-Berg from her Showtime series Sex with Sunny Megatron. If you prefer your information in the audio-only format or simply can't get enough of Sunny, this podcast is for you. American Sex covers a variety of sexual topics with a BDSM slant by bringing on experts as well as members of the kink community. Interviews tend to be casual and friendly.

Consensually Speaking with Gio

Some sex podcasts have pre-selected questions and more rigid formats. Those podcasts aren't Consensually Speaking. Described as a kink-centric, sex positive, podcast.” Episodes don't have a theme. Instead, dominant and kinkster Gio sits down to have a chat with experts, educators, and kinksters in a very casual way. You'll learn a bit about their experience and expertise, but the format is a bit more relaxed.

Sex Out Loud

Sex Out Loud Radio is one of the many sex education projects of Tristan Taormino, whom you might not better as an adult filmmaker. The popular podcast plays live every Friday and has been going strong since 2012. Notable guests have included Dr. Joycelyn Elders, Margaret Cho, and Dan Savage. Tristan covers topics from queer issues to sex toys to threesomes to gender equality on her show.

Death, Sex, and Money

WNYC Studios produced quality podcasts and radio shows, and Death, Sex, and Money is no exception. Hosted by journalist Anna Sale, this show asks all the “big questions” about serious life concerns, not just sex. She discusses the issues with celebrities and experts and gets input from listeners who want to weight in on their own sex lives, open relationships, and sex education fails. You may be able to catch this show on your local public radio station.

Radiolab

Radiolab's tagline boasts how they're “investigating” a strange world. And what is stranger in this world than sex? While this podcast's episode list includes few that are about sex or even relationships, the episodes that do focus on the topic of sexuality are well-produced and enlightening. Their 2018 miniseries on gender entitled “Gonads,” for example, is one. The hosts have also promoted other podcasts projects on the podcast so you can hear episodes about consent and conversion therapy.

Disability After Dark

Not everyone who is sexual is able-bodied (or minded). However, society has long glossed over the sexual nature of a person just because they might be handicapped. Hosted by Andrew Gurza, a  disability awareness consultant, Disability After Dark promotes frank discussion about the differences – and similarities – between disabled and able-bodied sex. The podcast shares stories about disability and sex that are not often heard and educates listeners about the realities of sex with a disability.

The Bad Girls Bible

Blogger Sean Jameson takes a stab at audio advice with the podcast that he shares on his site that offers sex advice catered to heterosexual women. Sean invites doctors and sex educators to discuss a variety of sex-related topics on the podcast. Many of these podcasts supplement content such as already on the Bad Girls Bible site and blog, but others stand alone.

Sex with Timaree

In her eponymous podcast, Dr. Timaree Schmit relies on her degree in Human Sexuality Education from Widener University to answer audience questions about sexual topics. Dr. Schmit talks to experts and sex workers on her show to tackle tricky subjects ranging from professional domination to erotic hypnosis to polyamory.

Graydancer's Ropecast

Known as “the longest-running kinky sex podcaster on the web,” Ropecast has been around since 2005 and boasts over 200 episodes. Graydancer is practically kink royalty at this point, but he stays humble by providing education and entertaining to aspiring and experienced kink practitioners alike. Ropecast might sound like it's only about rope bondage, and the show does cover every flavor conceivable, but it also branches out to fetish art, BDSM relationship, and general sexuality.

Paging Dr. NerdLove

Doctor Nerdlove isn't a doctor; he just plays one on this podcast. The podcast offers practical advice on flirting, dating, and sex for the “modern nerd.” It's more generalized than some of the kink or science podcasts on this list, but it's a great primer for someone who may be getting back into dating, who has struggled with romance and technology, or anyone who wants to improve their sexual skills.

Life on the Swingset 

If you've ever wanted to listen to a podcast about swinging, polyamory, or other open relationships, look no further than Life on the Swingset. This podcast is part of Life on the Swingset, a website and community created by Cooper Beckett to bring together swingers, poly folks, and even BDSM fans to discuss ethical non-monogamy and all that it entails. The archive includes more than 300 episodes, so you'll have plenty to explore if you decide to dive in.

Of course, there are hundreds of podcasts, and your favorite may not be on this list or it may be defunct. Plus, some of the best episodes about sex may be part of podcasts that have a different focus. Still, the twelve podcasts above should keep you busy for a while, and you can let us know if we missed a great podcast about sex by sounding off in the comments.

By: Adriana Ravenlust
Follow on Twitter @adriana_r

Friday, February 15, 2019

New Year’s Resolutions: Sex Edition

Young passionate lovers lie

Opinions on New Year’s resolutions vary far and wide. Some folks view the start of a new year as a clean slate filled with endless opportunities for growth, while some see it as a month like any other. Most resolutions revolve around self-improvement, like eating a healthier diet, balancing finances, or reaching a fitness goal, but what if we made New Year’s resolutions for our sex lives? Our habits around sex influence both our mental health and our sense of intimacy with others. Those aspects of our lives deserve care just as much as our physical health and finances do. Whether you embrace the New Year as a time to start afresh or view it as any other day, here are some possible sex intentions to set for 2019.

Have More Sex


For many of us, it seems impossible to find time for intimacy. It seems like there’s always work to be done, bills to be paid, children to be cared for, and messes to clean up. Not to mention a partner to find. As with any goal, aiming to have more sex might mean you need to put some work into making it happen. That could be setting up an online dating profile or going on more dates, or it could mean scheduling time with your partner or finding childcare. It might even mean overcoming some personal hang ups around sex, which can be helped with a therapist. Whatever is preventing you from your ideal sex life, take a look at what it might be, and make some steps towards finding strategies to overcome or confront the issue.

Have Better Sex


The way to do so? Increase communication and honesty. Ask your partner what they like, what turns them on, and what body parts they like touched and how. Listen to their answers, and if they’re not too shy, ask them to show you how they like it. Advocate for your own needs and desires as well, and don’t settle for partners who won’t listen to them. This may mean having less sex. Say no to sex you’re not thrilled about. Praise and thank your partner for a job well done, and tell them what you want more of next time. For more examples of ways to talk about sex, check out our guide to communication.

Masturbate More


Maturbation is the number one way to find out what your body likes and dislikes, plus, it comes with a whole host of benefits! It can improve sleep, relieve stress, reduce menstrual cramps, help connect you with your body, and more. Creating time for masturbation means creating time for all those benefits, and of course, good feelings and orgasms!

Try New Things


What have you considered trying in the past but just haven’t been able to yet? Test a new toy or two, experiment with some new sex acts, or even get a little kinky! You could switch roles with a partner and unleash your dominant or submissive side, dabble in some rope bondage, or slow down and try tantric sex for some extra sensual connection. Make a list of things that interest you and see how many you can do before the end of the year.

Take Care of Your Sexual Health


Whatever your needs are, this upcoming year is a great time to check in with a medical provider and see if you’re due for any sexual health care. If you have a prostate, ask your doctor about a prostate health screening. If you’ve got a cervix (the hole that separates the vagina and uterus), see if it’s time for a pap smear (recommended once every three years). Paps detect abnormal cervical cells, and screen for cervical cancer and HPV. Speaking of HPV, the FDA just extended the approved age range for Gardasil, which vaccinates against the most high-risk strains of potentially cancer-causing HPV. If you’re under the age of 45, call your health insurance provider and ask if they’ll cover the three shots needed to keep you safe.

Get Tested


If you’re sexually active with more than one partner, or if your partner has other partners, it’s recommended to be tested for STIs (sexually transmitted infections) at least once per year, perhaps even more often depending on your levels of safer sex or frequency of new partners. The problem with STIs is that someone with an infection might not show any symptoms, but will still be able to spread the infection. Some STIs may be damaging to reproductive organs even without showing symptoms, so even if nothing “seems wrong”, it is important to be routinely tested to keep you and your partners safe.

Maybe your goals are nothing like these. Maybe you just want to be better with condom use or start a new birth control that better suits your lifestyle. Maybe you want to have less sex or become sexually active for the first time in a while. Whatever you want to do, write it down and take some baby steps. Your goals are unique to you. They’re valid. You deserve to have the sex you want, and you’re worth it. Happy New Year!

By: Sammi
Follow on Twitter @Squeaky_Springs

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Redefining Sex - From Foreplay to Coreplay

Muscular handsome man and young sensual woman with sexy ass lies on a bed

We're all used to the idea of foreplay. There's making out, which might turn into dry humping. Clothes come partially off, and mouths and fingers travel across skin, perhaps pausing to stimulate genitals.
Oral sex, hand jobs, and fingering, these are the ingredients we know as “foreplay.”

Because when you relegate activities such as oral or manual sex to the category of “foreplay,” you view them as less important. They become obligations before the “main event.” You may rush through them with slipshod effort or skip them altogether.

And this wouldn't be a huge deal if everyone got what they needed or wanted from penetrative sex alone, or if they could jump right into penetration comfortable.

But that's rarely the case.

This is especially true for women. Research has found that many women require clitoral stimulation to orgasm, and others prefer clitoral stimulation along with penetration/vaginal stimulation. Most women focus on their clits when masturbating, too. While I wouldn't want to make the mistake of describing the purpose of sex as orgasm – intimacy, release, and pleasure can be achieved even without getting off – there's no reason why women should have to “suffer through” sex without an orgasm if they wish to have one.

For many women, what has traditionally been called “foreplay” is really essential to a positive sexual experience. Some men may also prefer those activities to penetration alone. Many people across the gender spectrum may find that they require the additional time provided by foreplay activities to become relaxed, which is crucial to becoming aroused. And without proper arousal, sexual activity may not feel as good – and may even hurt – and is less likely to provide your desired results.

What's the solution to this problem, then? We need to redefine sex. Sex isn't just anal or vaginal penetration. After all, if that were the case, you could argue that many same-sex couples have never had sex, and this is clearly not true. Perhaps the reason why so many people misunderstand how lesbians have sex is that we have so rigidly defined the act in the past.

The language we use colors our worldview. Revising the definition of sex will only help us all have better sex. But if we take a broader view of what counts as sex, what do we do with the word “foreplay?” I've read the suggestion before that we create a new category: coreplay. I think this is a wonderful solution both practically and linguistically.

Calling pleasurable activities that may not involve penetration “coreplay” reminds us how crucial they are to our pleasure and encourages us to provide adequate time and attention to them. By removing the “fore,” we can also reorganize how we have sex. We no longer have to view fingering, for example, as something that must always come before sex. Instead, it can happen at any stage of the sexual experience. But even if coreplay activities are still followed by penetration, giving them due diligence allows for greater arousal, increased pleasure, and a higher likelihood of orgasm.

When you're able to stop looking at some parts of the sexual experience as lesser than others, you can discover how significant those activities can be. Remember when you were a teenager who had not yet have had sex? Making out was intensely stimulating and even orgasmic. But once you crossed that sexual threshold, you were less likely to simply stop making out altogether or rush it in a perfunctory fashion. We often do the same thing for cuddling, viewing it as something that must lead to sex with a partner instead of as a fulfilling activity in itself.

But coreplay activities can be an endgame in themselves. Your session in the sack can feel complete if you “only” engage in coreplay. All partners can be satisfied, and no one has to be left out in the cold.

Redefining sex helps to level the playing field for those partners who might not be best served by the rigid way we currently frame sex, and, yes, those people who are the most disenfranchised are usually women.

Of course, not every sexual encounter will be long enough to explore a variety of activities, but you don't have to have sex a particular way just because that's how you've always done it. Even if you don't buy into the idea of “coreplay,” examining how you have sex and why can shed light on a subject that's so often in the dark.

Most importantly, you might realize that you've been a selfish lover who always expects – and receives – pleasure in the bedroom. Or you might discover that you're on the other side of the coin and have had a lifetime of mediocre sex because you put up with what you believed sex was “supposed” to be without asking to have any of your needs met in the bedroom.

I often discuss how we need to shift the way we view and talk about sex, and this is just one example of doing that. When we peer more closely at our sex lives, we can see areas that need improvement while taking stock of our strengths. So the next time you crawl between the sheets with a partner, take a good, hard look. When you actively include coreplay, you'll know it's a job well done because of how enjoyable sex will be for you and your partners.

By: Adriana Ravenlust
Follow on Twitter @adriana_r

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Eight Reasons to Try Pole Dancing

Pole dancer

What comes to your mind when you think of pole dancing? Television has tried to teach us that spinning around a pole is reserved for dark and seedy strip clubs, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. In fact, pole dancing can be a source of empowerment. Pole dancing is growing in popularity as both a form of dance and as a sport. Some folks train for hours a week to compete in international competitions. Some do it for a living, whether that’s opening their own pole studio or exhibiting their skills onstage. Yet still, some folks simply head to class once or twice a week to learn new skills, get some exercise in, and make friends. There are so many reasons to try pole dancing, and these are just a few of them.

1. So many different styles of dance are associated with pole. Some people focus on a graceful flow, twirling around like a ballerina (even calling themselves pole-erinas). Some focus on acrobatic elements, flipping around and utilizing their strength. Some exhibit complex poses, tangled around the pole somehow defying gravity, and some like to swivel their hips and chanel the sexiness that comes to mind when we think of pole dancing. There’s a style of pole for everyone!

2. Pole dancing is a great way to exercise. If you’ve got fitness goals in mind, whether that’s to move around with some cardio, build strength, or increase flexibility, pole dancing can be tailored to fit that goal for a full-body workout. The recommended amount of exercise to stay healthy is a half hour per day. If you’re not a fan of conventional fitness activities, pole dancing might be a great option for you!

3. Pole studios have classes especially for beginners, and chances are there might be one near you. These nearly always have beginner friendly classes in which you don’t even need to have seen a pole or have any dance background. Additionally, if you’re picturing the entire class to be composed of young, skinny, perfectly toned women, you’ll be surprised. People of all ages, body sizes, and athletic abilities pole-dance, and are great at it, too. Whatever you look like and whatever your skill level, you’ll fit right in.

4. If classes aren’t your thing, or if there aren’t any studios around you, you can teach yourself. You’ll need to purchase your own pole for your home, but these install easily and don’t even require any hardware to ruin your ceilings. Do a quick web search for pole dancing for beginners and you’ll find hundreds of videos geared to those new to pole dancing. Just by using the internet you can teach yourself spins, walks, climbs, and body waves without having to brave a crowded class.

5. You could make new friends. A pole dance studio is a vulnerable environment. People are less clothed than usual (it helps your body stick to the pole), and are trying things that might scare them (even if that is simply being there). Add in folks giving helpful tips, encouraging their peers, and boosting one another’s confidence, and you’ve got an environment perfect for forming great friendships.

6. You can bring friends, too! Pole studios often have options for private group lessons. These are perfect for bachelorette parties or just groups of friends that want to have a fun time learning to pole dance.

7. You could learn some sexy moves for a partner. Pole dancing doesn’t have to be sexy, but if that’s what you want, there’s a class for that! Often called exotic pole, these lessons sometimes include dancing with a chair, lap dancing, or simply learning ways to move your body in a sensual way. Then, you can show them off at home to your partner.

8. Pole dancing helps you build confidence and feel sexy. Boost your confidence in your own body, surprise yourself again and again with what your body is capable of, and feel a sense of accomplishment when you get that skill you never thought you could do. 

Pole dancing is for everyone and anyone. There are so many benefits to the sport, and so many ways one can experience it. Twirling around the pole can build fitness, friendships, creativity, and confidence. While it still carries some stigma, pole dancing has come to recent light as an empowering activity anyone can try, and that anyone could be you!

By: Sammi
Follow on Twitter @Squeaky_Springs

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Sex Toys for Erectile Dysfunction

Woman undressing man


Most people with a penis have had times where said penis will not behave. For some those could be instances of unwanted boners popping up at incredibly inconvenient and awkward times, and for others that could be an erection refusing to attend the party when needed. Sometimes though, the latter occurs so often it becomes a source of stress for the individual. Then, it’s a problem.

Erectile dysfunction is when someone has trouble getting and maintaining an erection firm enough to be used for penetrative sex. Many men experience this, and many factors can contribute to the issue. Studies have shown that folks with erection difficulties also have higher rates of other health issues, such as heart disease, high cholesterol, hypertension, and diabetes. The medications to manage these conditions can also influence erections, as can antidepressants and the mental health disorders behind them, such as depression and anxiety. As with many health concerns, erectile dysfunction is also common in those who smoke tobacco or drink alcohol heavily.

Because erectile difficulties can have so many different causes, general lifestyle changes are the first step in remedying the problem. Maintaining a healthy diet and exercising, quitting smoking, and reducing alcohol and caffeine intake can all help, as can addressing other underlying health issues. Medication is an option as well, and something to be addressed with a doctor. In the meantime, there are a few handy dandy tools that can help. Erections are achieved and kept when blood flows into the penis and stays there, and there are many sex toys that aid in just that.

Cock rings can help maintain an erection by constricting the base of the penis to keep blood from retreating back into the body. They come in many different sizes and materials to ensure you get one with a fit best for you. Some even vibrate for a partner’s pleasure!

Penis pumps work in the opposite way. Instead of trapping blood within the penis, a penis pump creates a sort of vacuum effect in a tube to bring blood to the area. Even folks without erection difficulties use them for extra firmness.

Vibrators also bring blood to the area. Just like they would stimulate the nerves in and around the clitoris, they stimulate the nerves in the penis. As with all toys, it’ll feel wonderful for one person, but completely uninteresting to another. Your best bet is to go with something strong like a wand-style vibrator, and experiment by resting it in different places.

Some tools operate in different ways to help someone work with their erection difficulties. Female condoms, also called “in-condoms”, are a type of condom that is inserted into a vagina or anus instead of rolled over a penis. These handy dandy latex sheaths prevent against both pregnancy and sexally transmitted infections. In-condoms are perfect for when an erection comes and goes as it pleases. With condoms worn on a penis, the condom may need to be changed multiple times if it slips off with erection loss. Additionally, while the base of an on-condom may act as a sort of cock ring for some folks, in others the tightness can in fact cause them to lose their erection. Since in-condoms are placed inside the vagina or anus instead of encasing a penis, with the loss of an erection the person can simply withdraw and wait until it comes back.

Butt plugs can help some folks maintain an erection both by simply providing pleasure, and by putting pressure on the prostate, a small gland responsible for producing semen. Both the rectum and the prostate are packed with thousands of nerve endings that, when stimulated, can be pleasurable for people of any gender. Pleasure, then, brings blood flow to the pelvis and into the penis for an erection boost. Some butt plugs are specially designed to target the prostate and to be worn during sex.

If you’re hankering for some humping , strap-on harnesses come in hollow versions with a space for a non-erect penis to rest comfortably inside the attached dildo. Strap-ons allow folks to enjoy penetrative sex even without an erection, and the thrusting motion can once again bring blood flow to the area. Additionally, by bringing a partner pleasure, their noises or reactions can cause arousal, and then an erection too!

Even if a penis still refuses to cooperate, there are so many ways to give and receive pleasure. You’ve got hands and mouths and toys and so many kinds of sex to experiment with and explore. So many couples have found new ways to experience pleasure by different means rather than the conventional penis-in-vagina penetration. Erection problems are far from the end of your sex life, so have a chat with your doctor, makes some lifestyle changes, and start experimenting!



By: Sammi
Follow on Twitter @Squeaky_Springs