Safer Sex

September 4, 2014
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The good folks from Lelo know a lot about sex toys, and I have had the pleasure of chatting with their some of their team members. One of the things I love about Lelo is how dedicated they are to producing, promoting and encouraging healthy sex toys.

So it is my pleasure to share the following tips, as well as Lelo’s giveaway for World Sexual Health Day!

What Can You Do?   LELO go to extraordinary lengths to make sure that nothing gets in the way of your pleasure, but there are many things you can do to preserve your own sexual health when browsing products across the industry.

  1. Look for certifications, avoid fakes

The pleasure product industry, like every industry, has its fraudsters who copy popular products, produce them cheaply and cut all the corners to make a profit. You can steer clear of these products by checking certification and buying from reputable retailers. Check the box also for the phrase ‘novelty use only’ – it’s basically the same as saying ‘we are not accountable for the safety of this product’.

  1. Never, ever settle for second best

When it comes to issues of intimacy, pleasure and health, you shouldn’t compromise. Don’t buy a cheap pleasure product because it looks like an affordable version of a more trustworthy brand. It’s just not worth the risk.

  1. Keep your toys clean

Love your pleasure products and they’ll love you back. Treat them well, and they’ll treat you well. Wash them before using them, store them properly, check the materials for breaks, and use anti-bacterial wipes.

  1. Sharing is caring, but…

If you’re sharing toys in the heat of the moment, it’s best to cover them with a condom and replace it each time. It’s just good sense, really.

  1. Avoid the jellies!

A little knowledge goes a long way when it comes to using pleasure products. For example, the ‘jelly rubber’ many sex toys have been made of is a material that’s been treated with one of any number of plastic softeners, or ‘phthalates’. Phthalates are potentially harmful, even carcinogenic. It’s that kind of information that will help you make the right buying decision and keep you safe.

  1. Choose silicone…

Silicone is a remarkable material, resistant to bacteria and widely used by the most reputable brands in the pleasure product industry. Smooth, comfortable for use and easy to clean, it’s generally a sign the manufacturer is doing things right. Just avoid the sticky kind of silicone, which can attract dust.

  1. … and pay attention to glass and metals

While these products are excellent for cleaning, make sure any glass products of high-quality and perfectly smooth, while be sure to avoid any metals that may cause allergic reactions.

  1. Read Reviews

Go online and check out what people are saying about the pleasure products you’re interested in. There’s a massive online community of sex toy bloggers and reviewers who can be trusted to give you all the information you could need.

  1. Website Checks

Make sure you check out the website of the brand who produces your sex toys. If they haven’t invested in a website, perhaps they won’t invest in safety either.

  1. Nose-Testing purely for pleasure

And not to forget the pleasure aspect, if you are browsing for products in your local store, try looking like a professional and raising gently to your nose like a wine connoisseur. If the vibrations are strong enough to make you want to sneeze, it’s likely to bring full satisfaction when used elsewhere.

 

For more information and to see how you can get involved, check out the World Sexual Health Day website here.

LELO’S TWITTER EVENT Put Thursday the 4th of September in your social media calendars and join us for LELO Twitter Trivia for a whole day! We’re going to post questions about LELO and World Sexual Health Day –it’s a competition and winners will receive one of the following prizes: Mona 2, Ida or LUNA BEADS. The questions will be tweeted at 10 am EST (US & Canada), 3pm EST (US & Canada) and 8pm EST (US & Canada). Get on Twitter and Check out @Lelo_Official for all of the details!

The lucky winners, one for each product, are going to be announced on Twitter on Friday, the 5th of September at 10 am EST (US & Canada). Just make sure you send us a Direct Message with all your name, address and phone number and your favorite color for your LELO prize.

 


April 11, 2014
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Though education and public discussion about HIV and AIDS has increased, recent research has shown that not all of us are heeding the warnings when it comes to practicing safe sex.

Kirby Institute’s 2013 Annual Surveillance Report on HIV, viral hepatitis and sexually transmittable infections in Australia highlights the fact that the rate of newly diagnosed HIV infections in Australia rose by 10 percent in 12 months. This was the largest increase in 20 years.

The report, which is compiled annually with the assistance of organisations such as the Australasian Society for HIV Medicine and the Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations, revealed two important, and perhaps surprising statistics:

  • A total of 1253 cases of HIV infection was newly diagnosed in Australia in 2012: a 10% increase over the number in 2011. The annual number of new HIV diagnoses has gradually increased over the past 13 years, from 724 diagnoses in 1999.
  • An estimated 25,708 people were living with diagnosed HIV infection in Australia at the end of 2012.

Though some people confused HIV and AIDS and think of them interchangeably, they are not the same thing. HIV is a virus that causes AIDS. A person living with HIV does not necessarily have AIDS, but all people with AIDS are HIV positive.

What is HIV?

Human Immunodeficiency Virus – commonly known as HIV – weakens or breaks down the body’s immune system, and makes the body vulnerable to disease and infection. While some people who infected with HIV experience flu-like symptoms, others may not notice any symptoms for many years.

HIV can be transmitted via blood, semen and vaginal fluid during unprotected vaginal, anal and oral sex, or when sharing needles. HIV positive mothers can transmit the virus to their babies during pregnancy, vaginal delivery and when breast-feeding.

HIV it is not spread like air-borne viruses like the flu, and it can’t be transmitted by hugging, shaking hands, coughing, sneezing, sharing toilets, or using eating utensils or consuming food and beverages handled by someone who has HIV.

What is AIDS?

Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome – commonly known as AIDS – can occur after many years of damage to the immune system caused by HIV. This damage makes the body vulnerable to disease and infection, and during the advanced stages of HIV infection, a person may develop a number of ‘AIDS-defining illnesses’ which can be debilitating and in many cases lead to death.

Protecting Yourself Against HIV

It can take just one unprotected sexual encounter with an infected partner to contract HIV. When used correctly, condoms are the best protection against the transmission of HIV, and the use of water-based lubricant is encouraged to ensure condoms don’t break during sex.

If you think you may have been exposed to HIV, it’s important to seek medical advice as soon as possible. A course of anti-retroviral drugs may prevent HIV infection from becoming established, though these drugs are not 100 percent effective, and must be taken within three days of exposure to the virus.

HIV Testing

A blood test is the only way to diagnose HIV. There are many resources and support networks in Australia for people living with HIV, including the Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations, which offers articles on treatments and living with HIV.

Protect yourself. Read out recent post, How to Protect Yourself Against STIs.


April 9, 2014
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While education about the risks of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) has become more prevalent in schools, the past decade has still seen the rates of STIs increase in Australia and around the globe. It seems we are a globe filled with free loving, condom ignoring, sexy-folk.

STIs can lead to serious health complications when left un-diagnosed and untreated. Though these infections predominantly affect young people, the rate of infection in older age groups is also on the rise.

STIs aren’t picky. They don’t discriminate against age or ethnicity or socioeconomic circumstance. They don’t care if you’ve slept with one person or 100. The only way to protect yourself against them is to practice safer sex.

What is Safer Sex?

Safer sex is the term we use for taking precautions to prevent the spread of STIs, perhaps prevent pregnancy, and it can even encompass concepts such as consent and sexual negotiation.

We no longer use the term “safe sex” because quite frankly, there aren’t any methods that are actually 100% safe – the use of barrier protection is simply minimising your risk.

Use Condoms

I can’t stress this enough. Condoms are the only effective form of protection against STIs – though in the case of certain STIs like genital herpes, even condoms don’t offer full protection.

There is no excuse not to use a condom, and if your partner tries to convince you otherwise, ask yourself if they’re really worth it. Not be afraid to kick them out of bed if they protest about a lack of sensation or that their junk is just too big for them to wear a condom comfortably (because, yeah right). There are condoms specifically designed for larger penises.

They don’t have to be a mood-killer. You can incorporate putting a condom on your partner as part of your sex play. Or you can choose to use a female condom, which you can read all about in our review.

Use your condoms safely – check the expiry date, don’t use them more than once (Yes that’s actually a thing) and certainly don’t use them if they’re ripped, torn, or have holes in them.

Use ACTUAL condoms, cling wrap, rubber, or whatever else you think of wrapping around the penis in question is NOT an acceptable replacement.

Get Routine Checkups

Make STI checkups part of your regular health regime. Often all you’ll need to do is provide a urine sample or have a quick and painless swap taken for testing. You should be having regular cervical screenings, and STI checks are really no different.

If you have questions or concerns, talk to your doctor. If you’re not comfortable talking to your doctor about your sexual health, woman-up and get comfortable with it – helping you take care of your health is their job.

Have Open Communication

If you’re in a mutually monogamous sexual relationship, you may decide that unprotected sex is going to be an option you’re both comfortable with. Before engaging in unprotected sex for the first time, your partner and you should both be tested, to ensure you’re both in the clear before you throw away your rubbers (actually, just pop them in your bedside drawer for safekeeping).

It’s important to have honest and open communication about sex and your relationship when you’re having unprotected sex with a partner. That way, is something does happen and one of you has sex with someone outside of the relationship, you’ll be prepared to talk about it so you can make an informed decision about your sexual health.

A discussion about infidelity may be uncomfortable. It may even result in a breakup. But it’s worth it if that discussion protects you against STIs that may have been picked up in one encounter outside of the relationship.

If one of you has had sex with another partner, get retested to be on the safe side.

You can learn more about different common STIs and their symptoms via our recent post, Do Your Hot Bod a Favor and Get a Checkup.


April 7, 2014
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April is STI Awareness Month; so before May rolls around, book yourself in for a routine STI and sexual health checkup with your doctor. Many sexually transmitted infections and diseases present no symptoms, which is why it’s so important to protect yourself by using condoms.

Chlamydia

Chlamydia is currently one of the most common STIs, and can cause serious and permanent damage to a woman’s reproductive system that can make it difficult or impossible to get pregnant. One of the most dangerous things about chlamydia is that it often has no symptoms, meaning carriers can have the infection for weeks without knowing.

Chlamydia can be transmitted through oral, vaginal or anal sex, and can be passed on even when an infected person shows no symptoms. Untreated chlamydia can spread to the uterus and fallopian tubes, causing pelvic inflammatory disease.

If symptoms do present, they may include an abnormal discharge, a burning sensation when peeing, and occasionally in men, pain and swelling in one or both testicles.

Testing for chlamydia is as simple as providing a urine or swap sample at your doctor. Treatment includes a course of antibiotics, though it’s important to be retested for chlamydia after treatment since reinfection can occur.

The only way to prevent the contraction of chlamydia during sex is to use condoms.

Genital HPV Infection

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections, and is so common that doctors estimate nearly all sexually active women will get it at some point in their lives. HPV can be transmitted through oral, vaginal or anal sex, and can be passed on even when an infected person shows no symptoms.

There are many different types of HPV. In most cases the virus goes away on its own and doesn’t cause any health issues. However, when HPV does not go away, it has the potential to lead to problems like genital warts and cancers of the cervix, vulva, vagina, penis or anus, which can take decades to develop after infection. It has also been linked to cancer in the back of the throat, base of the tongue and tonsils.

Most people with HPV do not know they are infected and never develop symptoms. Some people find out they have HPV if they develop genital warts, and some women may discover they have HPV if the results of a cervical cancer-screening test show abnormal cells. This is why Pap smears are so important for the sexual health of women.

There is now a vaccine to protect against HPV that is available for children aged around 12 years, and ‘catch-up’ vaccines for women aged up to 26 and men aged up to 21.

For women who fall outside the age of vaccination, using condoms can lower your chances of contracting HPV, although it’s important to note that HPV can affect areas that are not covered by condoms, so condoms cannot provide full protection against the virus.

Genital Herpes

Genital herpes is estimated to affect around 1 in every 6 people, and can be transmitted through can be transmitted through oral, vaginal or anal sex. The fluids found in a herpes sore carry the virus, and contact with those fluids can cause infection. It is possible to contract herpes from an infected partner who does not have a visible sore (or who may not even know are infected) because the virus can be released through your skin and spread the infection to your sex partner.

Most people who have herpes have no, or very mild symptoms. Mild symptoms can be mistaken for another skin condition, such as a pimple or ingrown hair. Genital herpes sores usually appear as one or more blisters on or around the genitals, rectum or mouth. Herpes blisters can break and leave painful sores that may take weeks to heal, and may be accompanied by flu-like symptoms like body aches or swollen glands.

More often than not a doctor can diagnose herpes simply by looking at symptoms, although they may also take samples for testing. Though there is no cure for herpes, there are medicines that can prevent or shorten outbreaks, and make it less likely for the virus onto sexual partners.

While condoms can aid in the protection against this infection, outbreaks can also occur in areas that are not covered by a condom, meaning condoms may not fully protect you from getting herpes.

Gonorrhea

Gonorrhea can be transmitted via anal, vaginal, or oral sex with someone who has the infection. Like many other STIs, it often presents no symptoms – and mild symptoms can be mistaken for bladder or vaginal infections. When symptoms do present, they can include an unusual discharge and a burning sensation in both women and men. Additional symptoms can include vaginal bleeding between periods for women, and painful or swollen testicles for men.

Untreated gonorrhea can cause serious and permanent health problems in both women and men, including pelvic inflammatory disease and infertility.

The testing and diagnosis of gonorrhea is relatively simple. Urine can be tested for the infection, although in some cases swabs may be required. Gonorrhea can be cured with the right treatment, although some drug-resistant strains of gonorrhea can be more difficult to treat. If symptoms persist for more than a few days after receiving medical treatment, it’s important to go back to the doctor to be checked again.

To protect yourself against gonorrhea, use condoms correctly every time you have sex.

Syphilis

Syphilis is often referred to by doctors as a great imitator, because it can present a range of possible symptoms – many of which look like symptoms for other infections. The painless syphilis sores that can present themselves after first being infected can be confused with ingrown hairs or other seemingly harmless bumps, which is part of what makes this infection so dangerous.

When not treated, syphilis can cause long-term complications, and the symptoms can be divided into three stages. The disease can be contracted by direct contact with a syphilis sore during vaginal, oral or anal sex.

Because syphilis sores can be hidden in the vagina, anus, under the foreskin of the penis, or in the mouth, it may not be obvious that a sex partner has syphilis.

The diagnosis of syphilis is simple. Most of the time doctors will test blood samples, though sometimes testing the fluid from a syphilis sore may be required. Syphilis can be cured with the right antibiotics.

Condoms are the only way to protect against the contraction of syphilis.

Remember, you are in control of your body. Always protect yourself with condoms when you’re engaging in sex outside of a mutually monogamous sexual relationship, and get regular routine STI checkups and pap smears.

Want to know more about condoms? Check out our recent post, Happy Condom Awareness Month.


April 4, 2014
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When we examine the issues of sexual assault, it’s important to consider consent. What it means to give consent is integral to discussions on sexual assault and healthy sexuality, and far more education on consent is needed to create a positive social change. Everyone has the right to sexuality without violence and coercion, and much contemporary discourse on consent is beginning to focus on enthusiastic consent as a positive step.

What is Sexual Consent?

Consent and open communication should be the basis for every sexual encounter, and means that both partners want to participate in a sexual activity. Consent to one activity does not obligate you to consent to other activities, just as consent on one occasion does not obligate you to consent on other occasions. It’s crucial to understand that consent can be revoked at any time if you do not want to go any further, or if you change your mind.

Project Respect offers this excellent definition on consent:

Consent is a mutual verbal, physical, and emotional agreement that happens without manipulation, threats, or head games. Consent is a whole body experience. It is not just a verbal “yes” or “no” – it involves paying attention to your partner as a person and checking in with physical and emotional cues as well. Consent is also mutual (both people have to agree) and must be continuous. You can stop at any time, you can change your mind, and just because you said yes to one thing doesn’t mean you have consented to anything else.

Enthusiastic Consent

While previously many people have thought about consent as the absence of saying ‘no’, this emphasis is outdated – and, many experts suggest, dangerous. When we define consent in terms of someone’s ability to say no, we set parameters that do not include people who are unable to say no for whatever reason. Their inability to say no is not the same as consent. Which is why many are turning towards the idea of enthusiastic consent – which means getting a positive and definitive YES as opposed to a no – as a more sex-positive, inclusive and healthy definiton.

The idea of enthusiastic consent advocates for enthusiastic agreement to sexual activity, as opposed to passive agreement. Popularised by the book Yes Means Yes! the concept also requires that consent be given to each sexual activity, meaning that saying yes to one thing does not mean consent to another. The idea is to be respectful of your own physical and sexual autonomy, as well as your partner’s. It highlights that an unsure or hesitant yes is not enthusiastic consent, and needs to be considered.

What are your thoughts on enthusiastic consent? Do you think it offers a positive step forward for healthy sexuality?


April 2, 2014
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Everyone responds to sexual assault differently: there is no right or wrong way to respond – the most important thing is to look after yourself.

If you are a victim of a recent sexual assault, it is important to get help as soon as possible, particularly if you are considering reporting the assault to the police. However, you can do something about sexual assault no matter when the assault took place.

There is a significant amount of support, resources and information available to victims of sexual assault, as well as their families and loved ones, who can also be impacted. Listed alphabetically are a selection of some of the resources and support organisations available across Australia.

1800RESPECT

1800RESPECT is a national sexual assault, domestic assault and family violence counselling service, offering a helpline, information and support 24/7. Users can call the telephone counselling line, or connect with a counsellor online. The site also provides information about finding local support and safety planning.

About Date Rape

Established by the NSW Attorney-General’s Department Crime Prevention Division, About Date Rape provides information and resources about date rape to girls who may have been assaulted, their friends and family. This site includes information about date rape, finding help, a guide to what’s okay and consensual and what’s not, real stories, educational resources, and more.

Adults Surviving Child Abuse

Adults Surviving Child Abuse (ASCA) is a national organisation that advocates, builds and delivers supports to facilitate recovery with and for people, families and communities, affected by childhood trauma. Visit the website for information about their services, including a professional support line, education and training workshops, self-help resources and more.

Bravehearts

Bravehearts focuses on the education, empowerment and protection of Australian children by providing healing and support, engendering child sexual assault prevention and protection strategies; advocating for understanding and promoting increased education and research. Their website offers information about counselling, crisis and advocacy, court support, tips for parents, training and workshops, and much more.

Canberra Rape Crisis Centre

Canberra Rape Crisis Centre is a non-government organisation working to eliminate sexual violence against women, young people, children, and men. The website offers information and resources, and services include education and training, confidential counselling, crisis phone support, advocacy and information, referral to relevant agencies, support for family and friends and more.

eheadspace

eheadspace is a confidential, free and secure space where young people 12 – 25 or their family can chat online, email or speak on the phone with a qualified youth mental health professional.

Kids Helpline

Kids Helpline is a free, private and confidential counselling service for Australian children and young people aged between 5 and 25 years.

Lifeline

Lifeline is a national charity providing all Australians experiencing a personal crisis with access to 24-hour crisis support and suicide prevention services.

NSW Rape Crisis Centre

NSW Rape Crisis Centre provides the 24/7 telephone and online crisis counselling service for anyone in Australia who has experienced or is at risk of sexual assault, family or domestic violence and their non offending supporters. Counselling services for women who were sexually assaulted in childhood are also available from Women’s Health Centres across NSW.

Law Access

Law Access, NSW Department of Justice and Attorney General, offers a wide range of information and resources for victims of sexual assault and their loved ones. Some of their resources include:

Queensland Government Department of Health

Queensland Government Department of Health offers a wide selection of resources for victims of sexual assault and their loved ones, including:

ReachOut.com Australia

ReachOut.com is an online resource dealing with an array of youth issues, and offers a range of resources on sexual assault and sexual health, including:

Sexual Assault Resource Centre

Provided by the Government of Western Australia Department of Health, the Sexual Assault Resource Centre (SARC) offers information about their emergency and counselling services for recent and past victims and youth.

Victim Support Service

Victim Support Service (VSS) provides free and confidential help to adult victims of crime, witnesses, their family, and friends across South Australia. The website offers a range of resources, as well as telephone support.

If you are in immediate danger of sexual assault or feel threatened or unsafe, please call emergency services on 000.


March 5, 2014
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If you enjoy watching erotica or pornography online, you’re not alone. The consumption of porn has exploded thanks to its availability on the web – and even more so now that anyone can have a sneaky wank practically anywhere with porn access via smartphone. The question is; how many of us are thinking about where our porn is coming from, and if it’s being produced in an ethical way?

If you want to be an ethical porn consumer – meaning you try only to watch porn that has been ethically produced, and consume it in an ethical way – check out our top three tips below.

Choose Feminist or Woman Friendly Porn

There are many producers who focus on real pleasure, consenting artists, and woman friendly erotic film. It’s gleaned the title of “feminist porn” because there is no exploitation, and the films are produced to not only be hot as hell, but less degrading for the actors in them. Choose a producer who fits this bill!

Pay for Your Pleasure

Pay for the porn you watch. ‘Tube’ sites that feature bootlegged and pirated porn, effectively stolen from other sites, are hurting the industry. When you watch these clips, the people who act in them are essentially getting you off for free. Many of these performers are only in the adult industry to make a living, so when you watch their movies for free; you’re basically taking money out of their pockets.

Support Safer Sex

Though it may not be easy, try to watch porn where actors are wearing condoms. The vast majority of produces don’t insist on condoms, though many enforce HIV and STI testing monthly, but there are some production companies out there who do demand safer sex, such as California-based Wicked Pictures.

Look for Production Credits

If you’re worried about the treatment of adult stars when the cameras are turned off, watch videos where it’s clear who is producing it, and where the company name is clearly identifiable and researchable on the web. Those companies who treat their actors well and work in an ethical manner are proud of their efforts to do so, and are more likely to have their brand name front and center. If porn has no production credits, there may be a reason for it.

Know of an ethical pornography producer worth a mention here? Let us know in the comments below.

 

Bright Desires

Photo credit: Nobilior


February 22, 2014
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February is National Condom Month in the USA. The awareness initiative originally started on campus at the University of California, but has grown into a national month-long event, focusing on educating teens, young adults – and even mature adults – about the risks associated with unprotected sex, and the benefits of using condoms.

When used correctly, condoms are considered 98% effective at preventing pregnancy, and are the only contraceptive method that provides STI protection. They’re also inexpensive, easy to access, and highly effective, so we wanted to dedicate this post to everyone’s best foil-packaged little friend.

rubber, johnny, jimmy hat, scumbag, raincoat, French letter, ferret sock, spunk sack, gent tent, gym sock, batter catcher, cock cloak, ham sock, rubber ghost, hoodie

Condom Facts

Condoms have been around for thousands of years. In fact, the earliest known depiction of a man using a condom is a 12-thousand year old cave wall painting in France.

Condoms have come a long way. In the early 1800s they were made from vulcanized rubber, were designed to be washed a reused, and had to be fitted by a doctor. Today they come in a range of brands, sizes, textures and colors.

Latex condoms form an impermeable barrier to sperm and STI pathogens.

Condoms provide different levels of risk reduction for different STIs, but condoms are the most effective means of preventing STIs spread through bodily fluids, such as chlamydia, gonorrhea and HIV.

Condoms can reduce the risk of contracting STIs spread via skin-to-skin contact, such as herpes, but only if the sores are covered by the condom.

Condom use has been shown to reduce the risk of HPV (human papillomavirus) related health issues such as genital warts, cervical dysplasia and cervical cancer.

In 2003, the Guilin Latex Company made the world’s largest condom – 260 feet tall and 330 feet around.

Condom Dos

  • Keep your condoms in a cool, dry place to prevent them from deteriorating
  • Check the expiration date on your condoms before you use them. Expired condoms can become dry, which can cause them to split or break more easily.
  • Open your condom packets carefully, and never use your teeth to rip open the foil, as this can tear the condom.
  • Use water-based lubricants with condoms, since oil-based lubes can cause latex condoms to break.

Want to read about female condoms? Check out The Female Condom: A Review for info and tips on use.


February 16, 2014
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Why is the potent mix of pleasure and pain that can be found in illicit sex so hot? The break up sex. Sex with the train wreck, brilliant, broody, artist types. The addictive sex with the person you are in love with but who won’t commit to you. Or the full-blown affair with the married man.

Mother Nature is a bit of a trickster when it comes to sexual desire, love and relationships. She uses desire to drive us to make babies, preferably with a diversity of partners for maximum genetic diversity, but at the same time wants strongly bonded couples to both contribute to the task of raising a child. She wants to have her cake and eat it too. Desire is rooted in novelty, mystery, danger and spontaneity. While love needs dependability, openness, and responsibility to grow and build a strong relationship.

That your nurturing and sex appeal will banish his demons and turn him into the kind of man you would want to introduce to your parents. Because you were there during the hard times your bond will be unbreakable, forged in the fires of adversity.

Perhaps you’re not looking for a relationship, why not go ahead and enjoy the illicit sex? Well here’s the bit where Mother Nature has the last laugh; sharing orgasms with someone gives our brain a strong oxytocin rush. Oxytocin is the bonding hormone, leading to icky lovey dovey feelings for our sex partners, even for those completely unsuited to a loving stable relationship.

Maybe you know the warning signs and you can fish your heart out of a situation and put your panties back on before you’re in too deep. But many of us fall into the, ‘Rescuer Fantasy’. We have been sold the idea by society that women need to ‘tame’ a man. It’s almost a point of pride, who hasn’t heard the clichéd line of; ‘Oh he used to party and date half the town, but when he met me that all turned around’. It is far too easy to succumb to the seductive idea that you may be the most amazing women he has ever met.

That your nurturing and sex appeal will banish his demons and turn him into the kind of man you would want to introduce to your parents. Because you were there during the hard times your bond will be unbreakable, forged in the fires of adversity. Of course the reality is you are probably only bonding yourself and that any changes in him are superficial because they have not come from within him.

So sooner or later you will get hurt, but by now your ‘rescuee’ is on to a good thing and you are likely to receive the, ‘I will never agains’. These big declarations are far too easy to believe because of your oxytocin addiction. A wave of forgiveness, hope and love may come over you with the last of the anger dissipating with the hot make-up-sex orgasms. But since the impulse for change is external not internal the cycle is likely to start all over again.

Its time women saved our nurturing, forgiveness and heartache for our babies (metaphorical or actual). And stop wasting it on full grown adults who should be responsible for themselves. By understanding how desire works we can have hot sex using the desire drivers of novelty, surprise, distance and manageable risk (think rollercoaster rides rather than unprotected sex) with people that respect our boundaries and emotional needs.

I am breaking up with the hurts-so-good sex and saying hello to clear boundaries, hello honesty, and hello oh-so-good sex. Imagine a world full of women who were doing the same, think of all the things we would be achieving with that extra energy, happiness and pleasure.

 

Photo credit: © mallivan – Fotolia.com


January 15, 2014
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What are some of the key things you consider when choosing a new sex toy? Color? Shape? Size? Price? Vibration settings? Kink factor? Potential for partner-play?

What about the materials? Do you ever check the labels or listed materials to see what your vibrator is actually made of? Here’s some food for thought…

Would you shove a bunch of toxins up your cooter? Nope.

Would you pleasure yourself with something spongy you thought could be harboring bacteria? Um, hells no.

Well, ladies, it’s time to get schooled, because not all sex toys are created equal – and some of them are made from materials that could be downright dangerous.

A Few Words on Phthalates

Before we get down to brass tacks, let’s take a moment to examine phthalates – the component causing most of the controversy around the safeness of sex toys.

Phthalates are “plasticizers” or softeners added to plastics to make sex toys materials more flexible, transparent and durable. Studies have shown that phthalates may pose potential health risks, and consequently, phthalates have been phased out of many products in the USA and UK, particularly in products such as food packaging and water bottles.

What is Your Sex Toy Really Made Of?

Glass

Glass toys are made from medical-grade tempered glass, are non-porous, hygienic, and can safely be used with any kind of lubricant. If the idea of having glass anywhere near your growler doesn’t appeal, relax. Borosilicate glass is essentially lead-free crystal, and is the kind of hard glass used in Pyrex products. In fact, an inch-thick piece of borosilicate glass will withstand around 30000lbs of pressure and extreme temperatures.

Steel

Steel sex toys are commonly made from chrome alloy and stainless steel, and will last forever when cared for properly. Steel is non-porous and hygienic, and can be used with any kind of lubricant.

Silicone

Sex toys made from 100% silicone are made from medical-grade and hypoallergenic materials that are non-porous, hygienic and long lasting. Silicone is soft and lifelike, but unlike other porous substances such as jelly, it can be sterilized in boiling water, or with a 10% bleach solution.

Remember, if you’re using lube with a silicone sex toy, do not use silicone-based lubricants, which can deteriorate the material.

CyberSkin

CyberSkin offers a realistic texture, and is phthalate and latex free. However, they are porous, meaning they need to be cleaned frequently, they cannot be sterilized, and they can be prone to small tears due to their soft texture. Also known as thermal plastic, it is more durable than latex, but can only be used with water-based lubes, since silicone, petroleum or oil-based lubes will break down the material.

Elastomer

Elastomer is a newer material, and is phthalate-free and safe for people with latex allergies. It is slightly porous, meaning it cannot be sterilized and needs to be cleaned properly between play times.

Silicon Blend

Silicon blend toys are more affordable than 100% silicone toys, but may also contain latex and phthalates. These toys can be porous, meaning they must be washed thoroughly after every use. They cannot be sterilized, so be sure to use a condom with them if sharing with a partner. Use water-based lubes only.

Jelly

Jelly is made of a mixture of PVC and rubber, and is one of the most popular and materials currently on the market thanks to its realistic and soft texture and affordability. The key issue with jelly is that is contains phthalates and is porous, meaning it cannot be sterilized and must be washed thoroughly between uses.

Many sexperts recommend using condoms with jelly toys to reduce the health risks associated with phthalates.

Always check the label and look for materials when purchasing a new sex toy to make an informed decision that’s right for your body. If in doubt about your current toys, use condoms, or throw them away and invest in some shiny new pleasure pieces.

 

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