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Emma Stewart

Pregnancy Sex
Education, Fertility, Pregnancy & Birth, Sex Ed, Your Body

We Need To Talk About Sex During Pregnancy

Sex in the first trimester Is It Safe?

As a sexologist I’m very often asked about the safety of having sex during pregnancy – well here’s the good news – doing the nasty when you’ve got a bun in the oven is not only hot, it’s perfectly safe.  If you feel well and sexy – it’s a jolly good idea to have a roll in the hay.

Penetrative sex and orgasm during the first trimester are not linked to miscarriage or vaginal infections. Indeed, in a low risk, uncomplicated pregnancy getting juicy will actually reduce the risk of miscarriage and premature birth, by decreasing stress and enhancing emotional well being.

Often you and your partner(s) will worry that the baby will be harmed whilst you bump and grind – but don’t worry your unborn babe is well cushioned by the amniotic sac and the strong uterine muscles.  A penis (even one of porn star proportions – you lucky lady you!) or toy  will not penetrate deep enough to get past the muscles of the cervix, which is sealed up with a thick, mucous plug to keep out any nasties.

Changes to Your Mojo

However, it is important to be aware that during pregnancy there may be wide variations in you and your partner(s) sexual arousal, desire and response. For some pregnant women desire and intimacy may be affected in the first trimester by body image concerns, nausea, fatigue, urgency to urinate, anxiety and hormonal fluctuations.  For others these hormonal changes and lack of concerns about contraception can make them randier than a jack rabbit in a barrel full of jellied eels.

Follen Swanny and Tender Tits

There can be physiological changes that occur during pregnancy that may have you begging for more or closing the bedroom door. For instance, during pregnancy sex can cause genital engorgement (the classic Two Ronnies’ follen swanny), where you may experience heightened sensations that have you screaming YES!YES!YES! at the slightest touch of your sensitive clitoris or screaming NO!NO!NO! if anyone so much as breaths on it.  Not only can your clitoris become more sensitive, but so can your  breasts and nipples – and you partner(s) may tread a fine (and dangerous) line between  pleasure and pain.

Horny Hormones

Bonding, sexual pleasure and orgasm will also release hormones (prostaglandins and oxytocins) that can cause abdominal tightenings or hardenings of the uterus, which although perfectly normal can be a cause of concern for some. However, this is a perfectly normal response and these hormones can be both good for you and your baby – you’ll all be feeling the luuurvve.

Communicate, Communicate and Communicate

However, it’s very important  to listen to your body  – communicate and be open and honest with your partner(s) at this time. It may be that you control penetration and depth/vigour of thrusting or try new positions that are more comfortable, such as lying sideways, being positioned on the edge of the bed with your partner between your legs, spooning, sitting on their lap or being on top. Non-penetrative sex or ‘outercourse‘ may be more suitable or pleasurable at this time (foreplay, oral sex and masturbation). And don’t forget there are so many other ways to be intimate – ‘togetherness’ and mutual reassurance can be maintained through time spent together, cuddling, massage, a relaxing bath or shower, a shared walk, meal or movie night together.

You partner(s) va-va voom may also not be firing up for them during pregnancy if they are fearful of hurting you or the baby, worried about your health or that of the unborn’s, apprehensive about parenthood and its financial burdens or even self-conscious about getting down and dirty in the presence of the bump.  It’s just as important at this time for them to communicate their needs, desires and wants about intimacy.

Bans on Bonking

Obviously, there are times when doing the two-backed beast may not be recommended. Here are a few:

  • If your partner(s) has an active genital herpes lesion
  • If you have a low lying placenta or the placenta is partially/fully covering the cervix (placenta previa)
  • If you have a cervical dysfunction , weakness or it is opening prematurely
  • If you have a history of premature/pre-term labour
  • If you are experiencing unexplained vaginal bleeding
  • If you are experiencing moderate/ severe abdominal cramping
  • If you have a history of miscarriage and having sex would cause you distress or worry
  • If you are carrying multiple babies and have been advised against sex by your caregiver
  • If your waters (amniotic fluid) are leaking or have broken

 

Safer Sex – And Some Thoughts on Anal and Oral

Even when pregnant there are times when condoms/dental dams should still be used:

  • If your partner(s) have an STI (especially herpes)
  • If you are not in a mutually monogamous relationship
  • If you have a new partner and do not know their STI status
  • If you have a vaginal infection (e.g. thrush)Care should also be taken when engaging in oral sex in that there should be no blowing in the vagina during pregnancy (but seriously who does that?! – no judgement, but you may want to perfect your techniques).

There should also be an awareness of the attending risks that come with anal sex – just like at any other time a penis/toy/fingers should not be placed into the anus and then into the vagina as this may cause a vaginal infection. Also during pregnancy some women are prone to developing haemorrhoids, which can be painful, bleed or rupture during anal penetration- so you may want to abstain from engaging in ‘up the bum’ fun during this time.

 

 

Image credit: Mitrofan

Trampoline worthy pelvic floor
Featured, Fertility, Pregnancy & Birth, Orgasms, Your Body

Kick It With The Kegels: Better Orgasms With A Toned Up Pelvic Floor

So you’ve been scratching your head for months now, wondering just what the @#7*! is this ‘core’ that your hot, bouncy Pilates instructor has been enthusing about …so buckle up kids and let’s find out a little bit more about the pelvic floor! Your pelvic floor (PF) is the group of muscles that supports your spine, bladder and bowel and, for women, it also holds in some important lady bits, like the uterus (womb). That’s right; both men and women have a big, fat PF. Awesome!

But, what’s even more awesome about your PF, is that if you spend time maintaining and developing that area, not only is it important to your body alignment , ‘structural integrity’ (captain) and ability to hold your wee,  but it can also lead to some mind blowing orgasms! Now we’re talking.

A good PF can boost sexual sensations, improve men’s erectile function (help you get it up and keep it up) and give you greater orgasmic control, potential and strength.  Wow!

So, now I have your attention, what’s the key to a PF as taut and supple as that trampoline that post-natal mums eye off so nervously??

It’s simple. Get your Kegels on and boost that booty!

Kick It With The Kegels

You’ve probably heard of Kegels or pelvic floor exercises, but are unsure about how to do them.  Here’s a simple how-to:

1)      Find your PF muscles.

This is easy and you should only need to do it the once. Go for a wee and stop your pee mid- flow.  Ta-da! You’ve just used your PF muscles.

(Don’t make a habit of using your PF muscles to stop your wee though, as this can weaken you PF and even cause infections)

2)      Now squeeze. And hold. Then reeelease.

Squeeze those PF muscles you’ve just identified, hold them and then release. Make sure you release all the way. Oh and breeeeatthhheeee.

3)      Repeat.

If you’re still unsure go and see a physiotherapist and they will help you to identify and exercise those pesky PF’s in no time at all.

There are also all sorts of devices that can help out too.

Boost Your Booty

If you’re going to work on the pelvic floor you are also going to have to work on your butt! And who doesn’t love a pert behind?  Strong glutes (butt muscles) will stretch the PF from a dilapidated hammock to a springy-sproingy trampoline of luuurrrveee.

Here’s how:

1)      Squat.

The squat is just about the most natural way to plump those pillows. Just check out any toddler and watch them get down to it, voila, there you have it – the most prefect squat position. No need for any fancy pants gym equipment or weights.  And as an added sexy bonus, squatting opens up the hips and groin too – awesome for that weekend Karma Sutra ‘sesh’ of spine-tingling, pretzel-like sex positions you’ve got planned!

2)      Stair climbing.

Skip the lift and take the stairs..and boost your bedroom bliss!

3)      Walk.

Walk tall and walk proud, you’re working your way towards that stronger, harder butt and orgasm.

 

Need more specific help? Check out our article “How To Activate Your Pelvic Floor Properly” 

When Sex Hurts
Featured, Fertility, Pregnancy & Birth, Your Body

Does Sex Hurt? When You Should Consult A Doctor

Fire In Your Loins

Hopefully when we talk about the fire in our loins we are referring to the heat of our sexual fervour. But for some the flames of desire are being dampened by a burning that has nothing to do with smouldering passions.

The fire in your loins can become something very different to the heat of sexual passion.

Vaginal pain (Colpalgia) or vulval pain (Vulvodynia) can lead to some unpleasant bedroom experiences, such as the “Jesus, hell fire, where do you think you are going with that ?!!” type of  painful penetrative intercourse (Dyspareunia).  The pain can be caused by penile/finger/toy entry into the opening of the vagina or ‘deep’ thrusting during intercourse. It can be an aching, burning, stinging or throbbing sensation.

Suffering In Silence

 Unfortunately it’s very difficult to estimate the prevalence of dyspareunia within the general population because most women that experience it do not report it; they literally grin and bare it (a.k.a.  The ‘lay back and think of England’ approach) or simply abstain from any of ‘that sort of thing’. But what we do know is that for the 10-20% of women that do experience pain in the vajayjay, it can have a devastating impact upon their relationships and quality of life. Nobody likes it when our beaver is bothered.

Why Your Foo-Foo May No Longer Be Your Friend

There is usually an underlying medical condition for vulval or vaginal pain and it may even be associated with psychological issues (depression, issues with sexual identity or previous trauma). However, just to be clear I’m going to flagrantly capitalise – POONANI PAIN IS NOT ALL IN YOUR HEAD!!!!

There are many reasons that your foo-foo may not be feeling too jiggy:

  • Insufficient lube

When the love juices aren’t flowing, or haven’t had enough time to get going, then pain can be created during intercourse.

Vaginal dryness can also be caused by certain medications, such as anti-depressants, anti-histamines, high blood pressure medications, sedatives and some birth control pills.

Vaginal atrophy (when your vaginal walls thin and become inflamed because of low oestrogen in your body) is another cause of your chuff experiencing desert like aridity. This can occur during menopause or when breastfeeding. Also unlike its name suggests,  vaginal atrophy does not mean the old girl has packed her bags and is leaving for good, there is still light at the end for this tunnel.

  • Vaginitis (inflammation of the vagina), which is caused by an irritation or infection. The common symptoms of Vaginitis are vaginal discharge, itching, redness, swelling and pain.

Your lady bits are sensitive little beasts and they may become inflamed or react to antibiotics or other medications, scented ‘hygiene’ or menstrual products, tight clothing, condoms, spermicides, lubricants or even semen. Yep, she’s that fussy – and why shouldn’t she be??

Anyone that encourages you to douche your little flower with natural flora and fauna napalming, pH unbalancing chemicals and perfumes is, well, a douche.  Treat your beast with care.

Infections such as vaginal candidiasis (a yeast infection, commonly called ‘thrush’), Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) and trichomoniasis (‘Trich’) can also be the cause of vaginitis.

  • Hormonal changes

As mentioned before our poonanis are pretty delicate flowers – hormonal imbalances or changes (e.g. during puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, postpartum, breastfeeding, menopause – jeez pretty much every life cycle milestone) can lead to sensitivity.

  • Previous trauma or surgery

Nerve damage can occur during various activities where our beaver may have taken a bit of a bashing, such as cycling, horse-riding, aggressive or rough penetrative intercourse or during childbirth.  Genital surgery can also be the cause of chronic or recurrent pain.

A previous history of sexual abuse may have its physical and psychological aftermath for the survivor.  It’s important to recognise that a sexual problem is often more than just examining the physical body part. We are more than a sum of body parts. In order to get to the root of vulval pain we may have to look at the body, its parts and the feelings and emotions connected to them.

  • Abnormal growths or cysts

How Your Honey Pot Can Heal

Sexual pain can impact upon your current relationship or prevent you from engaging in a new one – it can have detrimental effects upon our sense of self, how we feel about our body and sexuality and even our self-esteem and confidence.

In some cases dyspareunia can lead to vaginismus, where the body and subconscious mind anticipates pain and will tighten the pelvic floor or cause muscular spasms to resist intercourse.  So doing something about your poonani pain can be very important, before further issues arise.

We all deserve to have a rich and pleasurable sexual life, so if we choose to engage in penetrative sex, with our partner (s), ourselves or our toys there are treatments that can help manage the pain.

Self-help

  • Engage in plenty of foreplay and outercourse
  • Ensure you are at a high level of personal arousal before engaging in penetrative intercourse
  • Try ladies-on-top positions and guide in any fingers, toys or penises
  • Communicate with your lover(s) about your level of comfort
  • Use plenty of an organic, water-based personal lubricant and moisturiser when engaging in some love play (e.g. Yes!)
  • Rinse the area in cool water, particularly after urination or sex
  • Soak in a bath
  • Apply icepacks wrapped in towels, cool compresses or use heat pads (just not too hot!!)
  • Use unscented tissues and body products
  • Wear organic bamboo or cotton underwear
  • Avoid tight fitting clothes or underwear
  • Avoid pools/tubs or spas with heavily chlorinated water
  • Keep your vulvar clean and dry (i.e. when wiping after the toilet wipe from front to back)
  • Maintain a healthy diet and keep your gut happy with plenty of pre and probiotics

Professional  Poonani Pampering

Seeking help from a range of professionals (gynaecologists, physiotherapists, sexual health professional and sex therapists) can be very beneficial and your twinkle with thank you.

Counselling and sex therapy will incorporate assessment, education, goal setting, and relaxation techniques, identify underlying personal or relationship issues and offer you the necessary tools to resolve these issues. They may give you homework exercises too so that you can hone your skills in the privacy of your own home.

 – Physiotherapists specialised in women’s sexual health can perform a full examination, including musculoskeletal, vulval and pelvic floor examinations. They can offer therapy that is both hands on (e.g. trigger point massage in the pelvic area and transvaginally or using biofeedback) and educational (e.g. teaching you to engage and relax your pelvic muscles).

– Health care professionals (GP’s, gynaecologists, and sexual health practitioners) can rule out any underlying infections or health issues. They can also prescribe medications such as anti-fungals, local anaesthetics, oestrogen creams, antidepressants or nerve blockers. They even may refer you to a surgeon if a more radical approach as a last resort is required.

Alternative health care professionals (acupuncturist, naturopath) can offer treatment or advice that compliments more traditional approaches.

Image credit: © Sergey Nivens – Fotolia.com

Education, Featured, Orgasms, Your Body

The Health Benefits Of A Good Old Wank!

The Birds and The Bees

Birds do it, bees do it, even educated fleas do it – Let’s do it, let’s have a waannnnkkkk!

Masturbation is a perfectly healthy, natural activity – mammals, birds and amphibians have all been observed engaging in a little bit of self-pleasuring…yep, that’s right the monkey really does do some spanking.

And just for your viewing pleasure – here’s some Australian native wildlife getting busy – a koala banging one off…

watch?v=w06tXEzP9G8&index=5&list=PL540322C914A242F8

…and a kangaroo

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jsp_6IRT_uI&list=PL540322C914A242F8

Yay for Skippy!

Masturbation has been observed in deer, monkeys and walruses – even squirrels like to find their nuts. And we ladies and gents are just another mammal.

So Just Who is Wanking?

The Great British public are profuse wankers – with 73% of men and nearly 37% of women reporting having a ham shank in the last four weeks (Gerressu, Mercer, Graham, Wellings and Johnson, 2006). And what’s even cooler – those with higher levels of education, more frequent intercourse and a greater repertoire of sexual activities are more likely to knock one off. And those of the US of A can be attributed with being tossers too, with 38% of women and 61% of men reporting masturbation over the preceding year, which often complemented an active and pleasurable sex life (Das, 2007). Here in Australia 67% of men and 36% of women have engaged in masturbation within the last 12 months.

Ahhh – great nations of those who like to rub one out…it makes the heart fairly glow.

Infantile Masturbation

Even when we are very young we will naturally touch our genitals once we have learnt that by stimulating this area it feels good. And this is normal.

On an aside: it’s interesting to note that infantile masturbation or gratification behaviour – or what some clinicians refer to as gratification disorder (what’s that all about?!)-   and its accompanying grunting, rocking and sweating is sometimes a cause of concern for some parents who might rush their kids off for checks and investigations with the worry that they’re suffering from some form of epilepsy or movement disorder. Which would be kinda quirky if I wasn’t talking about clinical studies that have actually been written…But hey ho, live and learn right?

Kids like to get their rocks off too – and that’s perfectly OK and normal and doesn’t mean that they actually want to hump or get involved in sexual activities. And one for those parents out there who’s noticed Scout likes to play with her foo-foo – Having a positive attitude and communication with little girls (and boys) about masturbation and sexual self-exploration can have long-term beneficial effects upon their view of their sexual self and their subsequent sexual activity in later life (Hogarth & Ingham, 2009). So go easy on the kids and let them know that pleasure is awesome for its very own sake – it will be good for them in the long run.

Oiling the Cogs

Yes of course the post-orgasmic satiation following partnered penis-in-vagina (PIV) intercourse (if you swing that way) can often be physiologically greater than what we may achieve with masturbation (Brody & Kruger, 2006). Yet masturbation can be effective in treating orgasmic dysfunction or premature ejaculation, familiarise ourselves with our bodies and sexual responses and fulfil our sexual needs. Additionally, we are most definitely oiling our cogs: the functionality of the circulatory, neural and muscular systems of the genitalia is maintained by arousal and orgasm (Levin, 2007). Lubing up means better sexual functioning, which in turn will mean a greater ability to feel sexual pleasure or orgasm more easily – sheeeezzzam.

Masturbation: Self-Cultivating and Self-Loving or Learning to Make Your Flower Grow

Flicking the bean also has many cultivating properties – that’s right tickling your fancy has nurturing benefits. Not only does it strengthen our relationship with ourselves when we get to know, love and nurture ourselves – but by hanging out with who we know best we can improve sexual confidence and grow through self-awareness.

Masturbation can strengthen our relationship with others. By getting to know how to tame our own little beast we are learning how to identify, recognise, articulate and experience what brings us pleasure, which is an extremely powerful step in our self-development. By jilling off we can meet our own needs and then by sharing these experiences with others we can deepen our communication skills, openness and sexual honesty. That makes a little game of ‘Ring-a-ring-a roses’, a mind-blowing tool in our relationship and sexual arsenal.

And here’s some other Health Benefits of Masturbation while we’re at it:

  • Eases abdominal cramps during menstruation
  • Improves pre-menstrual symptoms
  • Relieves migraine headaches
  • Suppresses pain
  • Eases the symptoms of restless leg syndrome
  • Relieves feelings of frustration and stress
  • Helps relaxation by interfering with ruminations (going over and over an argument or previous social interaction again and again)
  • Lifts your spirits
  • by releasing mood-boosting hormones

So why aren’t we wanking?

It was really only quite recently in the seventeenth century that masturbation became viewed as a self-polluting vice. Then in the eighteenth and nineteenth century the medical profession got involved with the belief that the good old wank, or onanism, was both injurious and morally degenerative (Lacquer, 2003). It was claimed that masturbation would lead to blindness, insanity and impotence. Times have, thankfully, moved on since then and we now know that no amount of spanking the monkey is going to make your palms hairy…science and research is well behind us on this one ladies – wanking is officially GOOD FOR YOU!

 

Brody, S. & Kruger, T. (2006). The post-orgasmic prolactin increase following intercourse is greater than following masturbation and suggests greater satiety. Biological Psychology, 71, 3, 312-   315.

Das, A. (2007). Masturbation in the United States. Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy, 33, 4, 301-  317.

Gerressu, M., Mercer, C.H., Graham, C.A., Wellings, K. & Johnson, A.M. (2008). Prevalence of  masturbation and associated factors in a British national survey. Archives of Sexual               Behaviour, 37, 266-278.

Hogarth, H. & Ingham, R. (2009). Masturbation among young women and associations with sexual  health: An exploratory study. The Journal of Sex Research, 46, 6, 558-567.

Laquer, T. W. (2003). Solitary sex: A cultural history of masturbation. Brooklyn, N. Y., U.S.A: Zone Books

Levin, R. J. (2007). Sexual activity, health and well-being – the beneficial roles of coitus and masturbation. Sexual and Relationship Therapy, 22,1, 135-148.

Nechay, A., Ross, L.M, Stephenson, J.B.P. & O’Regan (2004). Gratification disorder (‘infantile masturbation’): a review. Archives of Disease in Childhood, 89, 225-226.

Queensland Goverment (2003). Sex in Queensland : A companion report to The Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 2003, Volume 27, Number 2. Queensland : Queensland               Government.

Yang, M. L., Fullwooe, E, Goldstein, J. & Mink, J. W. (2005). Masturbation in infancy and early childhood presenting as a movement disorder: 12 cases and a review of literature.      Paediatrics, 116, 6, 1427-1432.

 

Photo credit:  bibacomua

Education, Featured

Sex Camp Part 3 (aka ménage a trois)

Balls Deep

OK…OK… possibly the most misleading hook ever. I’m not really going to tell you about a threesome at sex camp (maybe for another day). Instead, I’m going to sink – as the saying goes – balls deep into some chakra fucking, sexual awakening and conscious touch – yay!!

From the beginning I was ridiculously torn about going to Soreya James’ ‘A Journey of Sexual Awakening’, as the exquisite Goddess Gabrielle’s ‘Tantric Flogging’ workshop was also happening at the same time – and The Cuntress Gabrielle (as she is so fondly referred) is Dominatrix Divinity personified – and should really never be missed (or she may spank you to within an inch of your pathetic life – and you’ll love it of course). So with not just an eensy-weensy bit of regret, I headed off to give my Inner Goddess a jolly good shake outta bed. Bring on the Kundalini!!

Opening Up Your Heart

I found myself on the floor in a cuddle-puddle of other sex campers breathing and visualising, reprogramming on a ‘cellular level’ with the guidance of Soreya. There was part of me that totally didn’t get what I was doing there…Soreya was intermittently talking in some loud ‘Angelic’ language (which basically sounds like she’s making shit up) – strongly resembling a wailing banshee and throwing me back in time through flashbacks to my childhood spent in Pentecostal churches (Praise the Lord! Hallelujah! And all that throwing yourself on the ground and talking in tongues mumbo jumbo) – and yet I was moved by her earnestness and her story. And then the unfathomable occurred. She’d moved to a visualisation that has been created (or transmitted) to shift our old patterns and programmes, to release our heart of old hurts and my sternum literally – I mean actually and physically – cracked. I. Couldn’t. Make. This. Shit. Up. We then crazy danced ’til we were all dripping with sweat, rosy cheeked, panting and full of endorphins and oxytocins, all on some wild, sexy shamanic ride. I walked away bemused, but feeling so much lighter. Goddamn.

Soulful Surrender

I then wended my way to the gentle arms, voice and soul of Cath Carter, with her ‘Sacred Art of Conscious Touch’ workshop. This workshop included the use of eye gazing to connect us with others. During this session I found myself staring into the gentle, soulful gaze of a beautiful stranger, who allowed me to be vulnerable and so dear to them – even though we’ve never met. I gently walked through the door of their soul and curled up into a safe, secure soul embrace without expectation or judgement. I may have fallen a little in love.

Dance Like No-one’s Watching

And then the grand finale of the evening – Party Higher’s Silent Disco. You could dress up, get down and dance to your heart’s delight – through the evening and into the morning if you’re so inclined (which I was because I’m a dirty stop). The beauty of the Silent Disco is that you can have a party anywhere, anytime and not disturb the neighbours! (Oh if only loud, rambunctious, noisy sex could be this easy!!). Everyone was given a set of wireless headphones, where you had the choice of three music channels at the flick of a switch. Not only could you dance to your own choice of music, you were even able to set your own volume – just perfect for sex campers who like to dance to their own tune.

Education, Featured, Orgasms, Personal Stories

Sex For One

The Year Of The Poonani

Ok, so I know I’m a sex geek and totally dig anything sexological, but I have a big confession to lay down on y’all…I’m not a masturbator. I know you’re all like totally shaking your heads and rolling your eyeballs, muttering “yeah, right”. But unfortunately, I have to fess up, it’s totally true.  So I made a decision I’m going to make this year all about me baby – that’s right me and my poonani are going to get a little more familiar.

Hell fire And Damnation

Growing up I had a heap of siblings and the twin and I were attached at the hip. There literally wasn’t the space or privacy for a bit of a fiddle.  Also, although I have no conscious memories of ever been told to ‘not touch down there’, there seemed to be an unspoken that it was not the done thing. Of course, now I realise silences and non-dialogue can be just as damaging to the developing sexual psyche as outright bans.  If it’s something soooo terrible that it cannot even be voiced , then hell and damnation ain’t got nothing on what will happen to you if you did do it…So people,  if a piece of advice is to ever pass through my lips about kids and stuff, sex and growing up, it’s this – talk about it!!! Your kids’ genitals and sexual development aren’t simply going to shuffle out of the door quietly if you pretend they don’t exist.

Chasing The Boys

So growing up I never got to flick the bean and when my desires and sexual feelings began to kick in, with all those crazy-wild bodily sensations you get as a small person, I didn’t turn to myself. I was no good girl scout. I was not prepared. Instead, I fell into chasing the boys and looking for that sweet relief elsewhere. And god dam did it get me into trouble.

The Art of Masturbation

I now feel true sexual resilience comes from self-sufficiency – being a masturbator makes you master (hardy ha) of your sexual feelings, responses and sexual repertoire. You’ll become proficient in knowing your own being and how to turn yourself on – imagine the endless benefits and possibilities. Being single becomes a positively amazing space of discovery and hanging out with the person that knows you best. I’d like to kick those crappy stereotypes of masturbation and being self-sufficient in your own pleasure to the kerb. It’s not desperate, sad or lonely – it’s a fucking art.

Brave New World

So to get me on my artistic journey I did what I do best, sex geeked out and brought a whole pile of books.  The book that I related to best out of them all was the iconic ‘Sex for One’ by the glorious Betty Dobson, Ph.D.  I read it and wept; wept  for the vulnerable child that I was who placed the responsibility of her sexual pleasure into the unsteady hands of others, wept for the loss of that time of self exploration and wept from the joy of approaching that journey now. As Betty proclaims, “The space between the thought and the action was inhibition”, so I vow to move through that space in a conscious willingness to seek new pleasures.  Like Miranda, we can all step into a Brave New World of self discovery, in spite of and because of all our flawed, juicy marvellousness.

 

Bright Desires

Education, Featured

Sex Camp (Part 2): Stripped To The Bone

 Recognizing The Need To Heal

Now in my first article about sex camp I realize that I might have sold you the ‘fluffy version’ of this delightful little camp. But what I should also let you know is that in any exploration there are going to be some obstacles and personal hurdles to tackle. That’s right – just like a beautiful vulva which is so soft and inviting, everyone knows that these suckers often come with teeth.

Just as no relationship is all beauty and light, during any examination of self and sexuality we may need to prod our soft underbellies and reveal some very messy wounds. Kinda like psychic bedsores – now ain’t that sexy? And these sores are never going to heal until we clean them out, give them a good old dose of stinging, cleansing iodine and let the slow re-knitting of bones and skin progress or even begin. So now that I’ve sprinkled that tasty little simile in like so much fairy dust, let the saga continue…

Healing Those Old Wounds

Personal events had occurred – I’ll not go into too much boring details – but a friend was behaving…well, I’ll go all 1930’s on ya to describe it perfectly…an irrepressible cad.

Obviously I’d placed them on far too high of a pedestal and they were simply not living up to my stratospheric expectations of the sort of fabulous human being  I like to think that I fill my life with, but hey ho.  And as a result, rather than metaphorically flicking my hair and stomping off to enjoy adventures anew,  I began to run through all the old scripts in my head and heart  that we all may have – I’m not enough, I’m unlovable, I’m second best, what’s wrong with me? …blah, blah, blardy blah. I wept big, fat, childish tears and raged.

But then I did do something brave. I smiled – validated my beautiful, hurt inner child and gave her a big smackeroo of a kiss and a lollipop – straightened myself out, reminded myself that I’m beautiful, sassy and sexy and dove head first into the workshops. Time, my dear, to do some processing.

Tigress Tamed

Yes, of course I still carried the pain – my throat was constricted like a tightly strung bow from so many unspoken words, my heart and stomach felt physical pain – but I just needed to take a very deep breath, let out that juddering sigh and get to the root of these triggers and scripts. I needed to reconnect to my sacred feminine essence and release long-held tension.

To feel once more like I was a sexy Goddess of Love. So off I went to ‘Prioritize my Pleasure’ with some Tigress Yoga™ (just for the ladies…grrrrrrr). The gentle, restorative movements and visualizations brought calm and balance once more to my soul. And by the end of that session with the Goddess Kali Foster I was literally purring from head to luxuriant toe.  Meowww.

Just as no relationship is all beauty and light, during any examination of self and sexuality we may need to prod our soft underbellies and reveal some very messy wounds. Kinda like psychic bedsores – now ain’t that sexy?

 Stir The Pot And Transform

Then to stir that pot a little more I followed the yoga session with a Mini AUM Meditation facilitated by Philip Wright and Taranga. In the AUM meditation you learn more about your emotions, release stress and tension and reclaim the joy of being alive. In a safe environment you are guided through a spectrum of human emotional experiences and responses (anger, forgiveness, love, stamina, life energy, chaos, dance, sadness, laughter, sensuality, chanting, silence, respect and sharing).  These are all explored using vocal expression, movement, role play and interaction with others.

It’s exhilarating, exhausting, raw and unfolding.  I felt myself being stripped to my primordial bone and becoming fully conscious of my scripts, their meaning and origins and the reactions that they bring into my life.  I realised that the friend had their story – and I have mine. Deeply and intuitively I came to acknowledge that I can only be in control of my own responses to the actions of others, not change or shift anything in them or their behaviours. The processing and rewriting of my old scripts had begun. My child-Goddess emerged…from beneath the wounds. Yes, a little shaken and very new, but here and ready to grow. Now time to move on.

Photo Credit:

Education, Featured, News

“There was this one time at sex camp…”

Sexual Healing

Celebrating Sexuality (formerly known as Sex Camp) is a unique weekend experience where you can completely immerse yourself in workshops, activities and performances focused on sex and sexuality. Created and born into being by the visionary, Vanessa Florence, this is one of my favourite places to be. In this divine space you can encumber yourself of all life’s shackles – fear of judgement, fear of exposure or vulnerability. Sex Camp is no recalcitrant lover. She will gentle woe you, unfold up and bring out all your juicy, sexy, luscious goodness. By the end of your time there you will be glowing with sexual vim and shining light. Sigh.

 Open To Everyone

Situated in the lush, verdant hills of Victoria, Australia Celebrating Sexuality offers a safe, conscious space to celebrate and participate in the full spectrum of sexuality – from the sacred to the profane – YUM!! And everyone (over 18 years) is welcome to come – be you spiritual Tantric loving, eco-warrior or polyamourous, leather-wearing kinkster with a penchant for sensual rope work. The fluid spectrum of sexual mores, preferences and gender-orientations are all represented and celebrated here.

Safe Boundaries and Joyful Consent

But before you gleefully pack up your rucksack – be aware. Celebrating Sexuality is not about fucking in tents (although I’m sure there are plenty of shenanigans that are going on behind the tent flaps) – instead it’s fucking in-tense. You’re not there to just pick up and get your rocks off (although that’s OK too, if all participating persons wilfully and joyfully consent and you’re not humping with abandon in front of all and sundry on the grassed areas) – this is your time and space to discuss, explore and experience you and your sexuality. That’s right –  this place is all about you….

 Helping Hands

And in order to be able to do such amazing exploration safely the Celebrating Sexuality crew have developed an air-tight, iron-clad container (hmmm sounds kinda kinky) to allow for comfortable, healthy and safe expression. All attendees must be within camp within a certain time and the gates are shut until its conclusion: no late-comers, no stragglers, and no exceptions. An opening ceremony is performed that reinforces the importance of confidentiality, consent, privacy (no photos, no random FB updating about so and so) and participant autonomy and choice. All participation in workshops is optional and there are emotional support persons (ESP’s), fully qualified counsellors, who are within arms’ reach in every workspace to debrief with.  That’s right – this place is positively vibing with good intention and clear ethics.

 Oh..and did I say the food is awesome too.

 Curious Creatures and Exuberant Experiential Exploration

 So Friday kicked off with a choice of ‘Connections Playshop’, ‘Tantra for the Rest of Us’ and a Cuddle Party. Oooohhhhh so much choice. I chose the ‘Tantra for the Rest of Us’, feeling the need to learn some perky little sex games that encourage communication, fun and interaction. And yes we were all fully dressed. The workshop was presented by the deliciously kinky, dynamic duo- Captain Awesome and his rambunctious co-presenter, Purple ( https://www.facebook.com/TwoKinkyKids).

Captain Awesome positively reeks of juicy naughtiness and sex positivity. As his bio reads, he is,

 “A kinky, tantric, polyamorous slut. Also a sex educator and professional facilitator.”

Cool – educated, but with a slutty, wayward side – I like it. Purple is exuberant, literally over-spilling with glee and cleavage – like an ogle-worthy saucy seaside postcard babe. Together Captain Awesome and Purple comprise Curious Creatures (a.k.a Two Kinky Kids) and run performances, playgroups, sessions and workshops in Melbourne, Australia.

The games we learn during the session were simple, erotic and oh so much fun as we explored communicating our needs and wishes to a partner. We spent time connecting to our bodies and each other, breathing, examining and exploring our needs within the moment. Whether it was a shoulder that needed a massage or a hip that needed a squeeze or the yearning for a gentle hair tug – all were welcomed and addressed.

As for Saturday…well that was a whole different journey!! Find out more in my next Sex Camp instalment 😉

Photo Credit:

Featured, Menstrual Cups, Product Reviews

LadyCup: Reusable Menstrual Cup

OK, I suppose I should preface this article with a disclaimer (or confession…) that I’ve never owned or used a menstrual cup before. So this was my first ‘go’ as it were. That’s right – menstrual cup virgin. I’ve heard all about them, read up on them, had their merits expounded upon by my eco-friendly, chemically conscious, yoni-loving and menstrual celebrating friends, but never quite taken the plunge. So the time was ripe, menstrual cups and I were officially about to get hitched.

So first things first, got to go and buy myself one of those little suckers. So off to the chemists I go and after a fruitless wander around the aisles thought I’d better ask for some help. My request to the woman at the counter was greeted with bemusement, bordering on disgust and repulsion. “A what? A menstrual cup? She looked decidedly uncomfortable. I might as well have asked her for a silver chalice that I was going to collect my sacred drops in and drink in some bizarre, black magic ritual. Fearing that I was about to be ousted by an angry mob of villagers I made a hasty retreat.  The health food store was also without said sanitary ware, so I returned home empty handed. Best go on the tinternet then and find some there I thought merrily to myself, trying desperately to feel I wasn’t being too out there. It’s not kinky? Is it? Pfftt…now why would I worry about my internet searches? So I threw caution to the wind and let fly.

“A what? A menstrual cup? She looked decidedly uncomfortable. I might as well have asked her for a silver chalice that I was going to collect my sacred drops in and drink in some bizarre, black magic ritual

Jesus, mother of God!!? You want how much?? I wasn’t planning on spending between $55 and $65, so off to Ebay I go ( I know, I know, needs to be the real deal, how do you know it’s going to be sanitary? Is it TGA or FDA approved?…). So anyways I find myself the most gorgeous cup. The LadyCup (made in the EU under Swiss management. And anything that’s Swiss must be kosher hey?) Yep, also totally swayed by the adorable drawstring bag with cherries on and the ‘Limited Edition’ ‘Wild Cherry’ red of the cup itself. Me, shallow? Nahhhh. That’s the totally cool thing about these thingy-ma-jigs, menstrual cups come in an astonishing array of capacities, colours, materials, pliability, shapes, textures and sizes.

Ok…the size thing.  I’d noticed that some menstrual cup brands refer to cups being suitable for light flow or medium/heavy flow. However, the LadyCup is either S(mall) or L(arge), with the S(mall) being “suitable for a women who has not given birth to a child” (since I checked we don’t give birth to too much else, other than placentas, but hey ho) or “women up to the age of 25”. So what’s with that? Yes, I’m a woman who is most definitely over 25 years old, yes I’ve given birth vaginally (to a child last time I checked), but do I really want the L(arge) size?? Shudder…fuck I realised, I have come to that stage in my life where I’m to be measured by the girth of my loins…the ‘Does she have a fanny like a bucket?’ stage.  Or maybe I’m reading too much into that very large L…Not withstanding it was all a little too much to bear.

So I girded my loins and praised sweet Jesus that I hadn’t had to go to some store and have the store assistant bellow across the counter at me and to her boss in the adjacent aisle, “Do we have a menstrual cup for this lady here? What size was it dear? Oh yes, that’s right, the mahoosive, you’ll-never-touch-the-sides, its-like-throwing-a-sausage-down-an-alleyway-mate vagina size, the L(arge). Gulp. I clicked on and ordered the L(arge). So maybe a word to the manufacturers/marketers/whoever of LadyCup on the sizing – never, I repeat , never refer to anything that’s going up a va-jayjay as ‘Large’ (unless it’s an impressive dildo). LadyCup have a little rethink about your sizing categories. And no, before you do it, don’t relabel the L(arge) as ‘mature’ or something of that ilk. Right? Right.

So casting aside my little sensitivities, let’s get on with this review huh? The LadyCup comes in two sizes, in an array of colours (transparent, lavender, wild cherry, summer plum, sweet strawberry, turquoise, green, yellow, blue, pink, orange and lilac) and is made of medical silicone. This material is smooth and hygienic and I didn’t notice any harsh chemical smells or residues either, which I thought there might be with it being such a bright colour.

After washing my dirty mitts I sterilised the new cup by boiling it a while, which is kind of weird watching a pan of water with a menstrual cup bobbing away in there. But hygiene’s important right.

It’s super squishy too, so I could easily fold it into a kind of tampon shape for easy insertion and it popped into place beautifully around my cervix. Probably a little too easily for my liking, I was kind of expecting a re-run of my first tampon experience as an adolescent (shudders just a little bit). But I suppose with many menstrual flows under your belt you are going to be a little more adept at putting these things in huh? It went in even smoother when I did as suggested and wet it a little, but I don’t feel you’d necessarily need to go the whole hog and get the lube they also sell.

I found that YouTubing ‘How to Insert a Menstrual Cup’ was helpful too. This is the one I looked at:

I was pleasantly surprised how comfortable it was, I though t it might feel heavy or suction-y, but I actually couldn’t notice it all. Then it came to that part I was a little nervous about, getting the thing out. It states in the literature that you can safely leave the cup in for 12 hours of protection, but being a vigilant three hourly tampon changer, this just didn’t sit too comfy with me. This was where the instructions on the box hadn’t been too helpful (and could possibly do with a little editing LadyCup). It read “When removing LadyCup for the first time, it is and after the pressure is relieved, pull important to remain calm and maintain the inner relaxation of your body”. I guessed the general jist was to chill out and break the suction. So I did that and, hey presto, out it come. I did the first ‘getting it out’ in the shower, as I worried that I would send showers of menses all up the wall like some horrifying horror flick. But I didn’t and it was OK!! Hooray.  Loved seeing that little pool of ecologically collected menses and was pleasantly surprised that there was no offensive smell. Just smelt kind of like breast milk (which is weird, but cool at the same time).

I worried that I would send showers of menses all up the wall like some horrifying horror flick. But I didn’t and it was OK!! Hooray.

Were there any drawbacks in my LadyCup menstrual adventure? Only the one. There were a few leaks on the first couple of days when flow was a little heavier, but I’m going to give the LadyCup another go, give her the benefit of the doubt as it was my first trial run too. She’s now snugly in her little cherry print bed, happily boiled in her sterilised best, waiting for our next sorjourn.  And yes, I am referring to her with a pronoun, we are intimate after all.

Education, Featured, Fertility, Pregnancy & Birth, Orgasms, Your Body

The DIY Guide To Gushing, Squirting and Having Some Fun

Shrug Off Those Shackles

Healthy sexuality begins with an acceptance of self, which can come about when we have an awareness of our body. This knowledge can literally free us, enabling us to enjoy sex more and enhance our relationship – whether with ourselves as we’re ‘going solo, baby’ or with others. With regards to FE, the shackles of cultural taboos and fears of urinary incontinence or over-wetness (really, can you ever, ever be too wet?) must be shrugged off.

It’s Not Pee – I Promise!

Yeah, of course, it often feels like you want to pee super badly – the urethra and bladder are right next to the juicy G spot, but there’s no need to be stopping in the throes of maddening love-making (or get down, dirty, humping sex for one) to be dashing off to the loo. (Unless you’ve got a urinary tract infection (UTI) brewing to spoil the fun, we needn’t worry.)

Getting Your Proficiency Badge

Although not widely accepted in society, FE is a tangible experience for many, maybe even every 4 in 10 women. It’s really no biggie…some do and some don’t. It’s not down to experience, partner(s) proficiency (there is no FE scout’s badge) or ‘superior’ sexual functioning. It’s just that we’re all built differently.

It’s All in The Pipeline

But just in case you do have the necessary pipe work and equipment secreted up your v-jayjay, it’s probably a good idea to find out about this particular type of rigging, before she blows. Most women are unaware of FE before it happens to them and this can lead to adverse psychological effects, brought on by embarrassment and shame. It can freak you and your partner out when your foo-foo begins to flow or go off like a geyser if you’re not expecting it….

Just Have A Fiddle

And no, gleaning info from your mates, social media and porn may not exactly give you the most accurate portrayal of your lady-waters. Even a little self investigation would be soooo much better…that’s right have a fiddle…check out if you have a G spot! Experiment and listen to your body.

Be aware that female ejaculates can be emitted from the urethra and G-spot, but women have also reported it flowing from the clitoris, from their cervix and from the vagina. You may not even be able to pinpoint where it’s coming from. And that’s OK; literally go with the flow.

Whimsical Waters

It’s also a little hard to say exactly what the fluids will look like…tricky little suckers. Often the liquids will be clear, but they can become more yellowy when you are dehydrated – wow! How cool, they even remind you when you need to drink more! But they can be thick and creamy, milky or watery. The amount may also vary from dribbles and leaks to gushes that soak the sheets. They can even vary in their taste, with women describing them as sweet, salty or even bitter. As for the odour they usually are odourless, but may smell musky, ‘vagina-ery’ or even like dilute semen – yup, that’s right – lady’s jizz.

So enough about it already I hear you cry- how can I do it?!!

Well women report being able to initially experience FE from as young as 12 years, but others it’s not until adulthood. It’s usually associated with a build up of pleasure or an orgasm, but this is not always the case. Some women can be pre-orgasmic (not had an orgasm yet) and still experience FE.

It may not even give you that earth-shattering climax you’ve seen that porn star scream out as she squirts gallons of her love juice all over that guy’s head – so be prepared, we all respond differently. You may not orgasm, feel overwhelming pleasure, like it or even think the mess or the refractory period (sort of the lady version of wanting to roll over and fall asleep straight afterwards) it can bring is worth it. But you might also love the intense release, the satisfying flooding sensations or even the deeper, fuller inner orgasm that may accompany this little squirt.

So here are some tips on how:

Push It…Oh push It Real Good

Physically there are things that you can do to facilitate FE, such as stimulate the G-spot or zone, which is usually on the anterior (front) wall of the vagina. This can feel like a smooth bump, ridge or raised protrusion. If it’s stimulated by fingers, penis or a toy it will often swell. Some women will then kinda gently ‘bear down’, in what’s similar to a valsalva manoeuvre (which is sort of like a reverse kegel/pelvic floor exercise) or ‘baby-pushing-motion’.

Let’s Get Juicy

Lots of different sexual activities elicit the response, such as penetrative vaginal/anal intercourse, oral sex, masturbation and the use of sexual aids or toys – even intimate touching, kissing and a luscious bit of neck nibbling or biting has evoked a gush in some women. Being sexually charged, juicy and a little bit wet can help. And an emotional engagement with yourself or your partner(s) can also go a long way for the majority of women – but be aware even that random from the pub can make you soak if you and they tune in and make you and your pleasure the centre of this sexy world.

Go With The Flow

Be comfortable in your own skin, relax and let those inhibitions just slide away. There is no pressure to perform – just experiment and go with what feels right. For some it ‘just happens’, exploding within 30 seconds of stimulation, for others there needs to be a particular rhythm to penetration and then a quick withdrawal to elicit the response. Be prepared to try out a few different things. And of course, for some there will never be a gush, but go with the flow hey, this isn’t a competition – just enjoy the ride!

 

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Image credit:© Patrizia Tilly – Fotolia.com

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