Browsing Category

Your Sex Life

Health, Your Sex Life

Why Do Masochists Crave Pain: The Brain Science Of BDSM

It all comes down to how your brain perceives pain, and what happens as pain is inflictedWhips And Chains Feel Good In My Brain

Have you ever wondered why some people get incredibly turned on by pain? Why  you might be drawn to slightly kinky play like being tied up?  What is this  thing called subspace and the altered state of consciousness that’s spoken of in BDSM circles.

It all comes down to how your brain perceives pain, and what happens as pain is inflicted. This is a quick look into your brain on pain, and why it can feel good.

Disclaimer: This article isn’t meant to be a primer in BDSM and Kink  – it’s an explanation of why pain can feel like pleasure.

The brain perceives the painful sensation in the somatosensory cortex, which tells the brain where the pain is being felt...back, thighs, butt... 

Nociceptors: The Pain Receptor

nociceptor is a pain receptor that responds to pain and sends signals along the spinal cord and to the brain.  Nociceptor comes from the word Nocer which means to injure or to hurt in latin.

These little receptors help keep us safe and tell the brain when the body is injured or hurt.

The brain perceives the painful sensation in the somatosensory cortex, which tells the brain where the pain is being felt…back, thighs, butt…

Then the insula, a little chunk of grey matter in the brain helps control the emotional response to the pain, and in BDSM this is where some of the magic happens

These feel good hormones can literally promote sexual arousal when they flood the brain enough.

Endorphins To The Rescue

The body’s natural response pain is to release some really nice feel good hormones called endorphins; in this case oxytocin (the hormone of love), melatonin (the sleepy hormone)and serotonin (the happy hormone). These feel good hormones can literally promote sexual arousal when they flood the brain enough.  Along with the happy hormones the brain also releases adrenaline in the form of norepinephrin and epinephrin; these hormones trigger the fight or flight response.

So when prick yourself with a pin, your body yellls “Ouch” and you remove the pin as soon as possible. When it comes to BDSM, the pleasure and pain response is just the same.

A gradual build up from light stimuli (a thuddy flogger) to heavier pain (harder spanking, whips and canes)  (safe, sane consensual only please)

Slowly Please…

A gradual build up from light stimuli (a thuddy flogger) to heavier pain (harder spanking, whips and canes)  (safe, sane consensual only please) will flood the brain with feel good hormones, and that light, sleepy, aroused, drifty sky-high feeling known as subspace takes over and whomever is receiving the pain can actually perceive it as pleasure. A LOT of pleasure.

The fight or flight response is often short lived, and once it passes, it produces another rush and flood of endorphins, further creating an altered state of consciousness. Basically, it feels really good.

 

 

Health, Your Sex Life

In Defence Of The Condom

When used correctly, condoms are 98% effective. You need to be able to put it on without damaging it, or creating risk of the condom popping (yeah, that can happen) or tearing.

The poor old condoms cop a bad rap (sorry, not sorry) as far as contraception goes. Notorious for being sex interrupters, sensation dullers, and having a nasty habit of breaking, not fitting, or basically being an epic pain in the ass… It’s no wonder that folks avoid using them.

The thing is – most of the negative stuff that condoms are lambasted for is totally avoidable.

For something as simple as a latex sheath that goes over a penis, there’s a lot that can go wrong with the humble condom. Even in my own personal experience, I’ve had condom breakages and malfunctions due to “user error”

So let’s start with the important stuff, how can we best ensure that condoms do what they’re meant to do; that is, prevent bodily fluid contact, the spread of STIs and well, unwanted pregnancy.

When used correctly, condoms are 98% effective. You need to be able to put it on without damaging it, or creating risk of the condom popping (yeah, that can happen) or tearing.

Check The Date And Use The Right Size

Effective use means using the right size condom for the penis it’s going on. Making sure it’s IN DATE!! (Can’t believe how many people don’t check this) and applying it properly.

Don’t store your condoms in hot cars. Hot conditions destroy condoms. And destroyed condoms don’t work. A couple of drops of lube on the inside of the condom is a game changer as far as sensation is concerned

Use Lube

Lube is basically essential for effective condom use, and can improve sensation, and prevent breakage; however it’s not that simple. Latex condoms and oil based lube do NOT go together. If you’re using a latex love glove, make sure your lube is water based.

A couple of drops of lube on the inside of the condom is a game changer as far as sensation is concerned. Or so I’m told, I don’t have a penis, and really I can only speak from the other side of the discussion so to speak. And frankly, I am a lube advocate. #allthelube  

Put it on properly

Applying the little sucker takes practise, and frankly it’s a bit hard to learn how to put a condom onto a cucumber or banana – because as phallic as they are, they’re nothing like a real penis. If you have your own penis, practise practise practise. If you don’t have access to your own penis, it doesn’t hurt to ask your partner nicely 😉

Pinch the top, squeeze air out and leave space for the cum to end up in the condom. I’ve seen folks somehow manage to create a little air balloon at the end of their condom, only to have it “pop” at an awkward sexy moment, negating any safety or contraceptive benefits of the damned thing. There isn’t much less sexy than a burst, broken, condom; let me assure you.

Roll the condom down the whole length of the penis. This is NOT a time to use your teeth. Structural integrity is key here!

I’m informed by several penis possessing folks that mentioning teeth and dicks in the same sentence doesn’t really need a warning, but you never know who hasn’t been told, or what others are into.

Lube and the right size can solve most sensation issues. But let’s be honest, they ARE a barrier between skin contact, so there are going to be sensation differences.

Take it off properly

It should go without saying that the contents of the condom, once you’re finished with whatever sexy act you’re engaging in, is the exact stuff that you don’t want coming into contact with your partner.

Make sure your penis is completely out of your partners body. And move to a position where you’re not going to splash your fluids all over them.

Tie it up and dispose of your condom in the bin. Toilets aren’t a condom disposal receptacle. They get stuck. They clog drains. It isn’t sexy. Also, think of the sea turtles…

Condom Q&A

Do Condoms Expire?

Yes, absolutely every condom is printed with an expiration date on it’s packaging. You should NEVER use an expired condom.

Do Condoms Prevent STIs?

Condoms help  greatly reduce the risk of contracting STIs the only true way avoid contracting an STI is abstinence.

Do condoms have sizes?

Yep, and choosing the correct size for you means you can use the condom correctly, more comfortably, and with more pleasure.

Do Condoms Cause Thrush?

They can…Anything that upsets the delicate genital chemistry of the vulva can cause irritation and vaginitis including thrush.. A more common cause of irritation can be the lubricant that condoms are often packaged with. Sometimes, you might experience an allergic reaction to your partner’s semen, or even latex. The good news is that vaginitis is usually easily treated. And you should see your health care provider for advice.

If you're embarrassed to buy them in supermarkets etc (And you totally shouldn't be, rock on with your safer sex awesomeness) you can order condoms online.

Other things you probably should know

There are lots of brands and varieties of condoms. Try a bunch and work out what works for you and your body. Try the flavours, try the sensations, try the sizes!

Some people are allergic to latex. Latex allergies and sexy time are not cute, and you should definitely communicate.

If you’re embarrassed to buy them in supermarkets etc (And you totally shouldn’t be, rock on with your safer sex awesomeness) you can order condoms online.

No, you should absolutely NOT use two condoms at the same time. More is not more in this particular scenario.

And as a final thought, condoms create a barrier and need to be changed between each sex act. So if you’re switching from oral to vaginal or anal, a new condom is needed, even if you haven’t cum.

Your Sex Life

Are Millennials The Hookup Generation?

Are We Actually The Hookup Generation?

The age of Tinder, and the casual hookup has given Millennials and iGens the reputation of being all about the bone.

But according to this study it seems that my generation is doing anything but the horizontal samba with frequent and multiple partners.

What’s driving this sexual dry spell?

Why Is It Happening All Over The World?

Around the world iGens, particularly women are just NOT  having sex. To the point where it’s reached crisis point in countries like Japan.

The aging population and declining birth rate in Japan has literally had the government intervene in the sex lives of it’s younger generation. To encourage them to not only shag, but also make babies.

The Swedes are taking one for team orgasm and are organising studies into declining sexual satisfaction. And even America is encouraging university students to go on dates. Well, SOME of America that is.. <side eye at the deep south>

Are We Smarter? Is It Sexual Freedom?

Does emotional connection play into quality sex?

According to some who know far more than me, great sex can happen in hookups but sustainable, frequent, soul satisfying banging happens over time as the emotional connection grows.

Perhaps our liberated sexual freedom actually tindered our sexual burn  out (see what I did there).

Love and emotional connection *can* keep the fire burning, but certainly aren’t necessary for it.

Are We Lacking in Education?

There are progressive countries leaping forwards  with sex positive education, and teaching their youngsters about safer sex, gender diversity, and pleasure and consent. Then there’s well, everyone else.

The country I reside in is divided as to whether or not we should be speaking to children about their genitals, and horrified at the concept of genderless bathroom stalls.

And yet, we also have ridiculously high rates of STIs.

Maybe the nihilism and dark humour we’ve all adopted has affected our sex drives to the point where we just literally cannot even anymore.

Is it education or is it that we’re all dipping our bits in the petri-dish of social shagging with abandon? If you ask me, it’s both.

Survey a bunch of 30 something women, and it’s alarming the myths, mis-truths, and old wives tales that still perpetuate our sexual knowledge. Survey a bunch of 30 something men, and it’s even more alarming.

Can We Blame The Baby Boomers?

I’m a Gen Y, and everything that is wrong with the world ever, is clearly the fault of the boomers. We revel in a destroyed economy, watch as the planet shrivels, and our politicians argue about money instead of effecting real change, and get blamed for wanting, craving, just needing a piece of gorramed avocado toast.

Is it the Boomers to blame?

Let’s run with maybe.

Let’s run with the collective depression of a generation left to clean up the mess of our predecessors in a way unprecedented throughout history. This shit is huge.

Maybe the nihilism and dark humour we’ve all adopted has affected our sex drives to the point where we just literally cannot even anymore.

 

kink
Your Sex Life

Here’s What To Do If You’re Worried Your Kink Isn’t Normal

So you have an interesting kink…

I went to dinner with a date just recently, and we ordered gelato for desert. I ordered vanilla, he ordered some delicious concoction with brownies, coffee, and hazelnuts… His gelato choices are vastly different to mine, but they’re still gelato. They’re still valid, and they’re very, very much normal. He’s not weird for his differing tastes, and I’m not boring for mine.

Are Your Sexual Thoughts Any Different?

A recent study published in the Journal of Sexual Health found that BDSM and kink are a huge part of mainstream life, with over 46.8% of people surveyed having participated in some type of BDSM act.

Here, we encourage an open minded approach to the things that turn us on and make us hot. Sexual fantasies? Oh my can they make us hot.

And that’s what a sexual fantasy is; a thought that leaves us aroused, turned on, sexually heightened, or feeling very, very lusty. Some of our fantasies might leave us feeling naughty, shameful, or embarrassed… Some of our fantasies might tie into our traumas and hurts.

Am I Normal?

Whips and chains, leather and pain? Or darkly devious, and delightfully unbridled? Soft and silky? Furry and fluffy? Fantasies make our sexuality interesting..

So when your fantasy borders into the dark, the extreme, the tentacle infused, slimy, slippery non-consensual, hard core realm of imagination, is it still normal?

Pfft, yep!

We all have delicious thoughts that we like to entertain to get ourselves off. Some of us have kinks that involve bondage, some of us like to imagine being taken by aliens, some of us like to fantasise about being caught having sex in public places the list goes on, and on, and on..

They’re Fantasies

They’re fantasies.  Creative kinky thoughts that get us off, turn us on, and maybe leave us lusty, and tantalised. They make our sex lives exciting, they make us individual, they help us delve into the more interesting and intriguing parts of our sexuality. Humans are wonderfully creative creatures by nature.

Whips and chains, leather and pain? Or darkly devious, and delightfully unbridled? Soft and silky? Furry and fluffy? Fantasies make our sexuality interesting…

The Human Brain is a Marvelous Thing

Fantasies are delightful little brain trips that we may or may not indulge in real life.

The wonderful thing about the human brain is that it’s endlessly creative. Fantasies are delightful little brain trips that we may or may not indulge in real life. (Safe, sane, consensual indulgence only, please!!)

We can add fantastical elements to our sex play. Costume, toys, bondage, role play, and other more specialised kinky elements can bring parts of our fantasy to life.

Quick questions, quick answers:

Q. Am I weird?

A. Possibly. But that’s not a bad thing. Our individuality is something to be celebrated, not denied.

Q. Are my feelings deviant or wrong?

A. Nope. Fantasies on their own are just thoughts at arouse you. Just thoughts. Explore your fantasies with costumes, consenting partners, toys, role play, and kinky play – and if you’re always practising safe, sane, consensual sex – we say celebrate your fantasies.

Q. But they’re really out there thoughts… I mean REALLY out there.

A. It’s pretty normal to have far fetched fantasies – rape scenes, pain, non-human, and other fetishes are still just fantasies, but if your thoughts are really, really concerning you, speak to a professional therapist.

 

Your Sex Life

Can Chocolate Improve Sex? The Answer May Suprise You

Wouldn’t it be nice…

Just wouldn’t it be delightful if there were a delicious, magic, fix all for sex… Something that so many of us enjoy and crave, and love. Chocolate does contain a number of chemicals that produce mood lifting endorphins namely phenylethylamine, the chemical associated with falling in love, and serotonin, the feel good hormone.

But can chocolate actually improve sex?

Does Chocolate improve sex?

Well we think the answer is duh, chocolate improves everything. But in a study published in the Journal of Sexual Health, it was found that there was a correlation between women who ate chocolate and their sexual satisfaction in younger women. (Salonia et al, 2006)

So so I need to eat more chocolate for better orgasms?

Sadly, the study also found that when the statistics were adjusted for age, there was no difference between the group who ate chocolate and the group who didn’t. Infact, the older the woman was, the less likely chocolate would have any effect at all on her sexual satisfaction compared to women who don’t eat chocolate.

Damn, so Chocolate doesn’t actually improve sex?

Well, the science says that it may, a little, if you’re a younger woman, and even then the science is correlated at best. Sadly, it seems that chocolate isn’t the panacea that we were all hoping it would be. That doesn’t mean that we can’t pretend and enjoy a square or two….

 

 

References:

ORIGINAL RESEARCH—WOMEN’S SEXUAL HEALTH: Chocolate and Women’s Sexual Health: An Intriguing Correlation Salonia, Andrea et al. The Journal of Sexual Medicine, Volume 3, Issue 3, 476 – 482. Retrieved from: https://www.jsm.jsexmed.org/article/S1743-6095(15)31344-8/fulltext

 

 

Your Sex Life

Can Exercise Give You Better Orgasms?

We all know that we should be getting regular exercise for our health. But did you know that exercise is great for your sex life? A recent study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine found that regular vigorous exercise really helped put the boom boom back in the bedroom.

Cardi-no to Cardi-oh-oh-oh!

The study found that increased cardiovascular exercise, in men and women improved perceived sexual dysfunction. That is, it made desire, arousal, orgasms, and the recovery from sex better.( Fergus KB, et al, 2019)

So that means that problems like low libido, decreased sexual pleasure, and difficulty becoming aroused are actually improved by cardio exercise.

That’s Running, Dancing,  Skating, and having fun, right?!

Absolutely! Cardiovascular exercise is exercise that requires your body to to pump increased levels of oxygen around it. Any activity that increases your heart rate up, gets you out of breath and a bit hot and sweaty is perfect.

  • Brisk walking
  • Running
  • Dancing
  • Skating
  • Playing sports
  • Swimming

The list goes on…

So How Much Do I Need?

The Australian Physical activity guidelines state that:

  • “Doing any physical activity is better than doing none. If you currently do no physical activity, start by doing some, and gradually build up to the recommended amount.
  • Be active on most, preferably all, days every week.
  • Accumulate 150 to 300 minutes (2 ½ to 5 hours) of moderate intensity physical activity or 75 to 150 minutes (1 ¼ to 2 ½ hours) of vigorous intensity physical activity, or an equivalent combination of both moderate and vigorous activities, each week.
  • Do muscle strengthening activities on at least 2 days each week.” (Australian Government Department of Health, 2019)

So basically, 30 minutes of huffy puffy activity 5 times a week can improve your sex life!

 

 

References:

Australian Government Deparment of Health, 2019 Australia’s Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines and the Australian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines. Retrieved from https://www1.health.gov.au

Journal of Sexual Health, 2019. Exercise Improves Self-Reported Sexual Function Among Physically Active Adults.  Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31155388