Remember those days when you first met your spouse and everything felt like springtime? Those initial months were full of all the best firsts—first dates, first smooches, first adventures, and of course, the first time you introduced him or her to the other “loves of your life”—your besties. In an ideal world, your pals like your partner just as much as you do, and vice versa. But when they don’t? It can wreak havoc not on the friendships, but rather, on your marriage, according to a new study.
For the study, researchers followed 355 heterosexual couples to determine the impact of friendships on marriage after 16 years. None of the couples was interracial, to rule out race as a potential source of tension). What the researchers found was fascinating: In white couples where the husbands liked their wife’s friends, 70 percent of couples were still together by the end of the study. However, in white couples where the husbands didn’t like their partner’s pals, only 50 percent remained together. For black couples, liking the friends didn’t seem to impact the relationship.
You don’t need us to tell you that oral sex is super-fun, satisfying and well, sexy as hell. But what might surprise you is how unfulfilling a sex life without oral activities could really be. Overall, for your mental, physical and sexual health, making sure to set aside foreplay time to pleasure each other orally will maintain your connection and prosperity, individually and as a couple. No matter your limitations, most couples can find a way to make oral sex a leading component of their sexual routine and repertoire.
“Oral sex can improve a person’s or couple’s sex life. For women, oral sex before intercourse allows the vaginal muscles to become looser and can increase natural lubrication. This is great for women experiencing vaginal tightness to prevent discomfort or injury during intercourse. Men experiencing erectile dysfunction can benefit from oral sex as well,” sex and relationship therapist, Courtney Geter, LMFT, CST explains.
“Behinds the pleasure, oral sex can help increase blood flow to the penis helping a man obtain a stronger erection. Oral sex could also help with delayed ejaculation by retraining the brain to enjoy sexual stimulation from a variety of methods. If a man is able to obtain an erection after ejaculation, it may also help extend the intercourse as well…”
When you hear “we had a fight,” what comes to mind? How about an image of two red-faced people with fists clenched and angry expressions? Does “fighting” bring to mind the image of physical violence? What about an image of two toddlers trying to play with the same toy and then crying over it? Yes, these are examples of fighting…Would you ever think an image of people in disagreement over a decision and trying to prove their own points, or two people getting angry over how the dishwasher is loaded or the toothpaste tube is squeezed? Are the former examples fighting or arguments?
Many times I have had clients report their “worst fight ever,” and then proceed to describe an example of an argument. I sit there listening trying to notice unhealthy behaviors or interactions (i.e. hitting, name calling, manipulation, etc) that warrant on going for therapy to improve communication and managing feelings. When the story is over and these red flags are never mentioned, I ask the client, “How is this the worst fight ever?” More times than not, the response is…
People are always curious about my job. I believe this is because of the stigma associated with sex, and I become a safe place to talk about sex. However, for me and the BFF who has lived with me for over a decade (we really need a reality show), this is all normal, everyday living! We forget that many others out there are not used to the open conversation about any and every sex topic.
I decided to document and share these experiences with the world wide web. These blogs come from experience and are true life. These blogs are written to bring humor into your day and maybe you’ll gain a little knowledge as well. I hope you enjoy them as much as I/we enjoy living them.
For those who don’t know the BFF, I’ll through my spill that I do with everyone:
Yes, the BFF is a man.
No, the BFF and I are not in a relationship.
Yes, the BFF and I live together…for almost a decade…yes, we have separate rooms (My cat is still contemplating a take over of his room into her personal kitty parlor)
No, the BFF and I do not have sex.
Yes, it’s amazing we have not killed each other.
I recall a time when we lived in Philly, and the BFF had company over. I marched out of my room where I was working on a one of many papers for grad school. I promptly ask some question/opinion about a sex related topic such as fetishes or HIV. BFF and I engage in a enthralling conversation while his poor company is sitting there like, “Are these people really talking about this like I talk about my trips to Wal-Mart?” Yes, yes, we do. Then said company jumped into the conversation too.
Recently, I was finishing a blog review for a sex toy. BFF was sitting in his normal spot in our dining room. In the same room, I was standing while typing away. Who knows where the cat was though probably creating her plan for BFF room take over. Anyway, I realized I needed said toy to ensure accuracy of my review. I marched to my room, located toy, and marched back to my computer. Now ready to type, I turn said toy on, and I’m taking it through it’s 10 speed motions. Said toy is vibrating away while moving back and forth. BFF looks up from his work, continues to look without expression, and then says, “This is what my life has come to” as he watches me examine a sex toy in our dining room as if there is nothing unusual about this practice. I respond, “Yes, this is what it has come to. See? It could be a lot worse!”
“Hashtag Living with a Sex Therapist” to be continued…
The on going battle between the sexes is masturbation…the new “leaving the seat up or down” fight. Many clients schedule appointments over “sex addiction” and then reveal one partner’s desire for self-pleasure and the other partner’s dissatisfaction with this behavior.
Well, ladies and gents, I’m here to help relieve the anxiety and fighting. First, masturbation is a healthy and normal behavior for both men and women. It is unclear at exactly what age masturbation begins though reports show male babies touching their genitals in the womb and all babies showing interest with “what’s down there” while infants and toddlers. Although our genitals main function is for reproduction, stimulation of the genital or genital areas (including the anus) can create a soothing or calming sensation. Some cultures rub babies genitals in order to calm them while other cultures rub a baby’s butt to calm them. Therefore, we learn from an early age that “what’s down there” feels good. However, as we grow and show more interest in our genitals, we are often scolded and begin to associate our genitals with shame or stigma.
At what age does one begin to masturbate? There is no clear answer since very few studies report on infancy and early childhood sexual development and behaviors. However, The National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior (NSSHB) studied males and females from ages 14-70+ regarding a range of sexual behaviors including solo masturbation and
masturbation with a partner. In this study, 62% of males ages 14-15 reported masturbating. Male masturbation rate increased until age 40 when the rate began to decrease again…though not by much compared to females. The study also revealed that 40% of females ages 14-15 reported masturbating with slight increases until age 30-39 when the female masturbation rate begins to decrease. This study also shows that males are more likely to masturbate with a partner than females and the percentages are much lower than solo masturbation.
Why Masturbation becomes the Enemy
Many societies create negative connotations around masturbation. We learn it is a “dirty” activity for “horny boys.” Girls receive messages that masturbation or touching their genitals is “not lady like,” and sexual play is for marriage or only with a partner. Therefore, our brains are embedded with messages that men can masturbate until they have a partner, and women have no need for masturbation or sexual pleasure without a partner. Once two people couple up, there is this expectation that the male will completely cease masturbation, only masturbate seldom, or masturbate when his partner is not available. Many women will also internalize a sense of worthlessness if her partner masturbates instead of seeks her out for sex. However, masturbation and intercourse are two different activities just like fried chicken is different from sushi. I enjoy both fried chicken and sushi and would hate if a new partner told me I couldn’t eat either or both anymore.
Jokes aside, it is acceptable for women to feel disappointment if her mate pleasures himself and she was hoping for playtime with him. This is not masturbation’s fault though a lack of communication about each other’s needs. Going back to my food analogy, remember that your partner engaged in activities (including masturbation) prior to your relationship just like you both probably ate fried chicken and sushi before the relationship. Instead of asking your partner to completely eliminate an enjoyable activity, let’s look at how masturbation can benefit your health and relationship.
Benefits of Masturbation
1. Stress relief: One of the biggest benefits of masturbation is alleviating stress through the release of endorphins or the “happy” chemical.” This applies to both men and women.
2. Self exploration: Masturbation also always men and women to explore their bodies and learn new erogenous zones. Erogenous zones are areas of our body that increase sexual arousal. Since all bodies are not alike, what stimulates one person may not even affect another person. Therefore, I encourage clients to use masturbation as a time to learn about their own bodies in order to teach your partner. Just like women are encouraged to perform at home breast exams, masturbation can also help you find possible medical concerns such as a new lump or tender spot.
3. Improve erectile dysfunction (ED): Like many other body parts, the penis can atrophy if not used. Many men seek therapy reporting difficulty obtaining or maintaining erection. More times than not, they report lack of sexual intercourse and minimal masturbation. Once we discuss the function of the penis, I encourage increasing masturbation and men report a significant difference in ability to obtain and maintain erection. Masturbation also helps with premature ejaculation. The longer a man goes without sex, the quicker he may ejaculate due to the renewal of stimulation and pleasure with arousal. He may also feel a
loss of control with less frequent orgasms whether with masturbation or intercourse. Although this could be a one-time instance, anxiety could arise exacerbating further sexual encounters. Therefore, masturbation allows a man to maintain a sense of control and prolong ejaculation.
4. Less boring sex with partner: Masturbation is a form of sexual behavior and activity. Although many people associate it as an “alone time” activity, partner masturbation can be extremely fun and erotic for some individuals or couples. Partner masturbation could be oral sex on your partner or stimulating yourself with your partner present. Couples can also introduce sex toys for added fun and to help prolong your playtime session together. Sex toys can do the work while you rest and get ready for the next round. Many clients complain about either their sex life entering a rut or not being aroused before intercourse. Partner masturbation not only spices things up, but can help prepare both partners for intercourse (if you so choose to add this into your masturbation session). Orgasms are beneficial for women as it can relax the vaginal muscles to prevent tightness upon entry. Masturbation can also help the penis become fully erect by helping pull blood into the penis.
Interested in adding masturbation into your sexual play script? Click the the toys below to get the party started!
If you listen to the Let’s Talk Sex Podcast then you know my respect for Tantus, one of the adult toy companies I support. I support this company for a number of reasons including the company began from the inspiration of a woman and it offers high quality and body safe toys. Although I support companies where men have created wonderful toys for women, a man just doesn’t know what it’s like to have an object all up in your female space. A lot of times, there is focus on a man’s pleasure and enjoyment inside the woman. Well, it seems to me that Tantus turned that around and focused on how a woman can receive pleasure and enjoyment with a variety of penile options for play.
Different Strokes for Different Folks
Tantus offers a toy for everyone’s desire, needs, wants, and experimentation. If you like it slim, they have it. If you like it long, they have it. If you like it thick, they got that too. If you like uncut, yep, that one too. Tantus also offers a variety of colors. From purple, pink, and blue and even REALISTIC in three different skin tones. Speaking of those skin tones, these toys (as well as few non realistic options) even FEEL like the real thing minus actual blood flow and body heat (though I wouldn’t be surprised if a adding a warming component was in the works!).
Your Next Boy Toy
I had the opportunity to test out the original realistic toy, Alan (Did I forget to mention they even have realistic names too?). Alan is part of the O2 Density line or the line created to provide the most realistic feel of an adult toy. This line is made of the high quality, body safe silicone as the rest of the product line. I describe Alan as a 4 in 1 toy. Alan can be used as a regular dildo or he becomes a vibrator with the easy insertion of a bullet. Did I mention the bullet is included with purchase?? Alan is also harness compatible for partner play. Don’t have a partner and want to enjoy solo play without doing all the work? Alan is suction cup compatible, which is also included with purchase! Did I mention Alan is also waterproof so that suction cup goes a long way? Yes, you get your bang for your buck with Alan!
In terms of size, I describe Alan as slightly above average for the American male. The average size penis of the American male is around 6 inches. Alan comes in at 6.5 inches long with a 1.54 diameter. I’d say Alan is not too slim though not too thick and offers a nice, secure fit. Ladies, if you are currently experiencing vaginal tightness or any vaginismus, I recommend a smaller diameter toy until you can work up to Alan’s pleasure.
Interested in checking Alan out? You can find him on the Shop page of my website or click here. All purchases through the shop page support the production of the Let’s Talk Sex Podcast where you can here me talk about more product reviews.
As a sex therapist, I’m always asked about sex positions. I also provide feedback for clients who may be engaging in positions not appropriate for comfort and well being of one or both partners. In this post we will explore positions and their benefits. For those readers who are visual learners, Carvaka Sex Toys created an infograph to better visual these and many more positions.
The G What?!?!
One position, and a very popular position for some couples, is the “G Whiz.” This position will be described using a heterosexual couple, though this can be tried by a female couple with a strap on. The female partner lies on a platform that is hip height to her male partner. The male is standing facing her while positioning her legs over his shoulders. Named for the G-Spot, this position allows for maximum g-spot stimulation increasing chance of female, internal orgasm. Men particularly like this position as they can get a deeper feel and thrust. The “
G Whiz” also gives men more control over thrusting and therefore is not recommended for women who need to control the speed and depth of thrusting. Dr. Shelley DiCecco, PT, PhD, CLT-LANA with The Sports Rehabilitation Center based in Atlanta – and a very special guest on my “Let’s Talk Sex” podcast – advises women and men, especially those with pelvic or hip concerns, to avoid having legs over their partner’s shoulders. Dr. Shelley shares that this position increases “the rotation on the pelvis bones, the iliums, and increases the curve/pressure on the low back.” She also states the “G Whiz” increases the shearing or rotational stress on the iliums which can cause or increase pain. A person with low back or disc problems may have increased pain in the back and down into the legs, the Sciatica, with both legs and/or one leg over a partner’s shoulder.” Dr. Shelley also states the “G Whiz” can “increase the pain experienced internally by the female partner…” Dr. Shelley and I both recommend that if you or your partner experience any pain during sex, an evaluation from a physical therapist or other doctor is needed to rule out any medical conditions. For those who particularly enjoy the “G Whiz”, don’t give it up yet! Try legs around your partner’s waist as this gives a similar feel for the male though is better for women’s pelvis, hips, and back.
Here Kitty Kitty…
If you are looking for a position where the woman has more control with more pleasure,
check out the CAT (Coital Alignment Technique).According to Men’s Health and the Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy, the CAT increases female orgasm by 56%! The position is similar to traditional missionary position, though the man positions his chest near the woman’s shoulder instead of face to face as with missionary. This position can also work for both a heterosexual couple or female couple with a strap on. First, both partners position themselves into a standard missionary with woman lying on her back and the man on top. If two women try this position, the partner with the strap-on is on top. Now, the man or top partner will move his/her body slightly to one side so you are no longer face-to-face and your partner’s chest is aligned with your shoulder. The thrusting motion is the other factor for this position to increase female pleasure. Instead of thrusting in and out, the male/top partner will thrust up and down. Imagine thrusting from floor to ceiling instead of headboard to footboard. This allows for more stimulation of the clit with the up and down movement. Due to the change in body alignment and thrusting movement, I recommend trying this position slowly, at first, to prevent injury.
Would You Like a Cherry on Top?
Another position to increase female pleasure and control is the Banana Split, also called the Scissors or Sideways Straddle. I like the name Banana Split best! This position can be performed with a heterosexual or female couple using a strap on. Other than sounding
delicious, this position allows the female or top partner more control over speed and depth. According to Dr. Shelley, “Women with pelvic pain can experience pain with initial penetration, pain with deep penetration, and/or pain for one or more hours post intercourse. The pain can be in one or more of the following areas: the vagina or genital area, in the low back, in the buttocks, at the sacroiliac joint, or she may also experience a pressure symptom across the abdomen… By controlling speed and depth, the woman can minimize the pain experienced during intercourse.” The Banana Split also allows for more grinding action and the use of the male or top partner’s thigh to stimulate the clit. To get into this position,the maleor top partner lies on his or her back with feet flat on the bed or other supportive surface. The female or bottom partner positions herself facing away from her partner’s face while straddling her partner’s thigh with one leg between his legs and the other leg on the outside. If the male or bottom partner is an “ass man or woman,” this position allows for a great rear view!
This Isn’t Child’s Play…
Finally, if you and your partner are adventurous and in good physical shape, check out the Wheelbarrow. This position is just like the game we played in elementary school except our clothes are now off! The male partner enters from the rear while holding the female’s legs, and the female uses upper body and core strength to stabilize. This position allows the male more thrusting control so communication about comfort level is encouraged between partners. If watching yourself is enjoyable, the male also has a better view of himself entering his partner. When trying this position for the first time, I encourage a practice round with clothes on to prevent injury. As this position needs a strong upper body and core strength for the female partner, please consult with a medical provider.
To find out more about these and other positions as well as Dr. Shelley’s advice, take a listen to the Let’s Talk Sex podcast episodes 5 and 14! If you are in the Atlanta area and experiencing painful intercourse, click here to schedule with Dr. Shelley or her associates. Interested in learning more about Strap On play? Check out this great infograph from our friends over the pond at CarVaka Sex Toys.
Endurance is the ability to exert oneself over a long period of time without fatigue, as well as recover from the exertion without injury or trauma. Endurance is important in all areas of life; it also benefits our sexual activity by allowing us to engage in longer, injury free sexual acts or “running out of steam” before we choose to end sexual activity. When we can’t endure a longer sexual session with our partner, we could develop feelings of guilt or shame from thoughts such as “I am not good enough,” “Other people are better than me,” or “I’ll never be able to last longer.”
How Much vs. How Often
Before we talk about “lasting longer in bed,” we first need to understand and feel satisfied with “quality over quantity.” As a sex positive therapist, I help clients reframe negative thoughts to promote positive feelings and self esteem. There are times when a “wham bam thank you ma’am (or sir)” is all we need to get a boost of enery or relaxation. Understanding “do I want to last long?” versus “do I want to get off quickly” h
elps create a positive mindset going into the bedroom. We also need to communicate this to our partner so we’re both in agreement about expectations.
The Green Light to GO and How to Get There!
Secondly, I encourage collaboration with other healthcare providers to ensure individuals are healthy enough to increase any physical activity including sex. Sexual activity falls into the category of exercise including cardio and strength training movements. Therefore, changing current physical activity could create or exacerbate current medical conditions including pulled muscles or heart conditions. Allowing communication between all of your healthcare providers improves your chances of progressing instead of regressing in your goal to increase endurance.
Since sexual activity is physical exercise, we also need to prep our muscles before sex and allow recovery time after sexual activity. In other words, we need to warm up our whole body including the vagina and penis. A sensual massage that will help blood flow in the muscles is a great warm up activity and also builds intimacy between partners. Orgasms and vaginal stimulation also decreases tightness and helps relax muscles before penetration. This is particularly important for women with a history of vaginismus. Finally, make sure you have a great lube on hand! Lack of lubrication can cause pain or injury resulting in possible future vaginal pain or longer periods of healing time between sexual activity sessions. Courtney recommends a variety of lubes including AloeCadabra, which is also safe for toys. Check out the product at www.AloeCadabra.com and enter AFGETER at checkout to save 25% and get free shipping!
Cool down or recovery time is also important for muscle recovery. Your sexual positions will determine the type of stretches used after sex. I recommend talking to your physical therapist or personal trainer to create a routine for you and your partner. This is another great time to build intimacy and communicate with your partner about the sex while. Skipping the warm-up and cool down parts could create injury during sexual activity and delay increasing endurance.
A final tip is rest and sleep. When one is already fatigued from a busy day or lack of sleep, longer endurance may be an unreasonable expectation. Due to busy lives and unexpected events, we can’t predict when we might loose energy. However, we can understand that longer sexual activity may not occur or be a reasonable expectation after a 10-hour work day plus taking care of children though it may be more reasonable after 8 hours of sleep and before getting ready for your day. In regards to rest and recovery for your body, if you go to the gym after work, a long sex session that night may be unreasonable and potentially unhealthy as you’ve already exerted energy and fatigued your muscles. Plan longer sex sessions during times you are physically and emotionally well rested.
Don’t forget to check out AloeCadabra.com for a natural, water-based lube that is safe for silicone toys. When checking out, use code AFGETER to save 25% and receive FREE shipping! Stock up on all flavors to get a bang for your buck!
You know that one time when you think your new, favorite toy is out of juice then suddenly a loud, vibrating noise wakes you from a dead sleep? Yup, my Iroha Tori came to life while sitting on my bedside table. I guess it wasn’t done playing with me just yet!
Thanks to Liberator, I came in possession of a Tori vibrator from Iroha. I’m compelled to
write a review about my experiences with it so far. First, the one thing you will notice
about this little gem is its unique shape. It resembles a bird. In fact, the Tori does not even look like a sexual pleasure device. Instead, it looks more like a unique décor piece! That gives new meaning to coffee table conversation.
True or False?
So, why does it look like a bird? I cannot speak for the designers who make Iroha, though I once heard vibrators and dildos are illegal in some Asian countries. However, here’s the loophole. A product cannot be classified as an adult toy especially if it looks like another object such as an animal or flower. Again, this is all word-of-mouth though it seems congruent with our little bird. In fact, other Iroha designs resemble a seashell or a whale.
The Little Birdy Whispered
Next, you’ll notice the texture and feel of our little bird. Some days, just holding it in my hand puts me in a good mood! The body-safe silicone and smooth edges feel great all over the body. There aren’t any jagged or rough edges to cause injury to the delicate vaginal areas. Iroha makes a variety of toy styles. The “Tori” has two slightly pointed, though smooth ends. I have not experienced trouble with the ends. Although I advise caution when first exploring your body to prevent any injury. In fact, this product is not meant for vaginal insertion, but it can be used end near the vaginal opening for that added extra pleasure.
This toy has various levels of vibration. It goes from a soft buzz to an intense vibration to a pulsating vibe. One can start out slow and soft and move into more intense feel or start out with a bang with the highest intensity. The control buttons are also easy to access during self-play. They are just underneath the Tori. It’s great placement because you don’t lose focus changing the speeds. Alternating between the levels can add to the variety of options during play. This can let women prolong orgasm and experience different lengths and intensity of orgasm.
The body-safe, silicone is also waterproof. Yes, readers, I’ve tested this feature and it IS waterproof! Now, you don’t have any excuse for expanding our sexual horizons either with yourself or partner in the shower. Jump on in there with your mate or schedule “me” time with yourself in the tub.
Slip and Slide
Speaking of silicone, keep in mind the type of lubricant you are using with your toys. A silicone-based lubricant can degrade silicone and make the toy unsafe. Therefore, I recommend a water-based, aloe-based, or other “toy safe” lubricant. One such recommendation is AloeCadabra. They have a huge selection of lubes which feature different smells and tastes. When making your purchase, enter promo code AFGETER for 25% off and free shipping!
Too Hot to Handle
Here are a few pro and cons of the Iroha Tori. The first night I “researched” my little gem, the motor cut off after 15 minutes of play. Apparently, it has a “kill man’s” switch to prevent overheating. GREAT feature to expand the lifespan, though disappointing when you are not done playing! I suggest having another toy, perhaps a different version of the Iroha, on hand as an alternative. This gives you another option while playing with yourself or partner until the motor cools.
By the way, it takes about 15 minutes to cool as I found out in bed that night. Now, I do not know if Iroha intended this feature of the safety cut off. But the added heat adds another element of satisfaction to play as well. With all that said, the Tenga Iroha is a great addition to any woman or couples “toy box.” Although designed as a solo toy for self-pleasure, a partner can also use the story to add stimulation during oral sex. For instance, while a partner is stimulating the clitoris during oral sex, he/she could use the Iroha around the clitoris such has on the mons pubis, vaginal opening, or on the breasts.
Enjoy your new toy and I look forward to my next review!