Toxic Relationships: An Open Letter to the One Who Won’t Let Me Go

Thank you for teaching me how to love myself better and to grow in this world that throws a curveball whenever I least expect it. But now, it’s time for us to part, and I need you to let go so I can continue to grow and become an even more healthy person than I already am.

You are not the overbearing, clingy-type who is following me on social media to see where I am and who I’m with. You are not the possessive type who does not want any other person to enjoy my company and is keeping me locked away from the world…

Continue reading here

 

Originally posted on Metro.us and written by Courtney Geter, LMFT, CST

Waves of Pleasure: Lelo’s INA Wave Reviewed

My first thought when seeing INA Wave was, “Oh my gosh! It’s like getting fingered but without fingernails!” When Lelo provided an opportunity for me to test this product, I jumped on it like a cat pouncing a mouse! I am so glad I agreed, as this toy does not disappoint.

Soft and Smooth Fingers

As with most Lelo products, the first thing you notice about INA Wave is the soft and slick material. The material is body safe silicon for a more enjoyable experience and easier penetration. However, if extra lubricant is needed, avoid silicon-based lubricant as this could damage the silicon material of the product.

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Courtesy Lelo.com

Next, you’ll notice the “two heads” with the smaller one resembling a thumb and the larger and longer one resembling fingers fused together. Lelo.com describes these as the “pleasure points.” The shorter, thumb-like structure stimulates the clitoris while the larger structure provides internal stimulation. I’m going to let this sink in for a moment…yes, ladies and gents, Ina Wave can simultaneously can provide dual stimulation without the awkward adjusting your hand for the best fit or forgetting to rub one spot while trying to focus on the other!

 

Again, let that sink in for a minute before continuing to read…

INA Who…?

Now that you’re all excited to purchase INA, get her charged up, and test her out, here are some tips for a pleasurable first experience. INA Wave offers ten different vibration modes a including steady patterns and pulsating patterns. INA Wave also allows you to control the intensity of the vibration as well. Before jumping into bed or closing your office door at work, check out the “control” panel located on the inside of the handle. The up and down buttons change the vibration pattern while the left and right buttons change the intensity. Also, note that the vibration patterns do not cycle through at the first or tenth pattern. If you start at the bottom and reach the top, you must use the arrows to go back to the bottom. I learned this after about five minutes of laying going “why doesn’t it feel like it’s changing?” Well, it wasn’t changing that’s why!

Instant Orgasm

Whether you’re an orgasm expert or not, Ina Wave will not disappoint! The variety of vibration patterns and intensity levels allow you to explore and experience different types of orgasm from a slow build to an intense explosion. For women learning about orgasm and your erogenous zones, the steady vibration patterns, without the use of the wave motion, are a great place to start! You can begin to explore erogenous zones of the external genitalia (or any other part of your body!) to see what areas are more arousing and lead to orgasm than others. If you’re exploring your body with a partner, they can help by allowing you to focus on yourself while they control the movement and vibrations. These patterns can help bring on a slower climax or orgasm as well as help you gain control of your orgasmic release.

LELO_Serving-Suggestions-Single_03_cerise
C0urtesy Lelo.com

Another orgasm, courtesy of INA Wave, is an intense, explosive orgasm. I suggest inserting Ina on a steady vibration pattern and playing around a little here. Keep in mind that the clitoral pleasure point will be touching the clitoris though the vibration may feel more or less intense depending on the pattern selected. (Keep reading for more about the clitoral pleasure point.) Once inserted, play around with the steady vibration patterns and intensity levels. Once you’re at a climatic point, adjust the patterns to move into the wave motion pattern and BAM! Your body and brain might not be used to such an intense change leading to a more explosive orgasm. This might not happen all the time though it could occur more often with partner play when your partner controls the patterns and speed.

Waving into the G-Spot

Speaking of the wave motion, this technology not only enhances your overall orgasm, but also stimulates the elusive G-spot. One reason I was excited to take Ina Wave for spin was to test out the G-spot. The G-spot is said to be an erogenous zone on the anterior wall of the vagina and near the urethra. However, it is still up for debate on whether this tiny spot exists or not. Therefore, I try to encourage men and women to enjoy ALL aspects of the female body and not become focused on a spot that might or might not exist for some or all women.

GSpot (alluremedicalspa.com)
Courtesy of alluremedicalspa.com

After discussion with one of my favorite women’s sexual health professionals, we determined that it is possible INA Wave could hit the possible G-spot. At one point, the wave motion stimulated a spot where I felt an intense and tightening pressure near my urethra. I felt a sensation as if I needed to pee though my bladder was empty and I did not actually pee. This orgasm was also more intense and stronger though not explosive. I was also able to control the climax better than the former.

Quiet Zone Not Approved

As with all wonderful things that exist, nothing is perfect including INA Wave. If you were hoping to sneak around with Ina for some fun at the library, the parent’s house, or in the mile high club, do so at your own risk! The back and forth motion of the wave technology also comes with a squeaky sound that you need covers to muffle. During play, the sound could be slightly distracting though the vibrations, wave motion, and your arousal will easily distract.

INA_Wave_Movement_Cerise_1000
Courtesy Lelo.com

Another minor concern with INA Wave is the clitoral pleasure point. At times, it put extra pressure on the clitoris and mons pubis. Since the clitoral pleasure point extension has limited flexibility, it took some adjustment to find a comfortable spot. Also keep in mind that the extra pressure with vibration could cause extra stimulation on the clitoris. For some, this may be extra pleasure though for others it could be uncomfortable. I did find that moving INA Wave in and out or up and down allowed for adjustment of the clitoral stimulator. Don’t let this be a deal breaker! If you want the pleasure of the wave motion though can forego the clitoral stimulation, check out Mona Wave! Mona Wave is just like Ina Wave though without the clitoral pleasure point and slightly different vibration patterns.

Ready to add a new friend to your bedroom play? You can purchase Ina Wave here or Mona Wave here.

To Masturbate or Not to Masturbate

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.” Once in my office, the couple reveals one partner’s desire for self-pleasure and the other partner’s dissatisfaction with this behavior.

To Masturbate or Not to Masturbate

To Masturbate or Not to Masturbate
Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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. However, 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 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.  Many times, we begin to associate our genitals with shame or stigma.

You Started…WHEN?

At what age does one begin to masturbate? 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

To Masturbate or Not to Masturbate
Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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. Female masturbation rate begins to decrease after age 39. 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 an 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 an 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

To Masturbate or Not to Masturbate
Image courtesy of imagerymajestic at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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. More Exciting Sex: Masturbation is a form of sexual behavior and activity. Although many people associate it with an “alone time” activity, partner masturbation can be extremely fun and erotic. Partner masturbation could be oral sex on your partner or stimulating yourself with your partner watching. 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. 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 toys below to get the party started!

 

Ora       Fleshlight Go Torque combo

Introducing HRH Duchess of Tantus: A Tantus Review

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Now that you’re done reading about Alan and all his glory, let’s take a look at Duchess. When Tantus asked which toy I wanted to review next, I admit I had an “Oh look! Shiny object!” moment. Although Duchess isn’t shiny, she/he is very pretty coming in one of three colors: blue, purple, or pink.

Royalty Comes in Many Colorsduchess-group_shopify_1024x1024

I bet you missed the part about option of colors as you’re wondering about the “she/he” reference to a vibrating DILDO. Duchess’ description does not indicate gender pronoun preference. Some may automatically think that a phallic shaped object is automatically considered male. Some may think that an object named “Duchess” is automatically female. We may never know if Duchess identifies as male or female, though what I can tell you is Duchess isn’t for the faint of heart! From here on, Duchess will just be known as HRH.

For Royalty, Size Does Matter

Measuring at 6.5 inches long with a diameter shaft of 1.6”, Duchess gains a little girth fullsizerenderaround the head measuring in at 1.8”. If you’re looking for a snugger fit than Alan, the HRH is your toy. Duchess is part of the O2 Dual Density line though of the non-realistic colors hence the blue, purple, pink color options. Duchess is made of 100% silicone with a soft exterior and firm inner core (no little blue pill needed with this one!).

If you’re chomping at the bit to test HRH out, I do
recommend lube to assist with penetration and prevfullsizerender-1ent any tears or sores. (Check out AloeCadabra on th
e Let’s Talk Sex Shop page). Finally, as I advised ladies with Alan, Duchess is a goal toy once vaginal pain or vaginismus is resolved. If you’re looking for skinnier girth or shorter length, Duchess is not advisable either. No worries! It’s a tough job toy reviewing though I’m on a mission to find toys for everyone.

No Chambermaids Needed

Dtantus-bulletuchess also comes with a bullet vibe to add a little extra thrill. HRH is also suction cup compatible though this is not included as it is with Alan. If you’re looking to buy a suction cup, you can find those here. Duchess is also anal safe and harness compatible.  tantus-suction-cup

 

Too tired after play to properly clean your toys? In addition to toy cleaner, Duchess is also dishwasher and boiling compatible! Pop HRH in the dishwasher or boil in a pot of water for easy clean up. Please remember to remove Duchess from the boiling pot before hubby arrives home to prevent an unintended ER trip after he passes out…

 

Find the HRH and other great toys here!

Running Out of Steam in Bed? Tips to Build Endurance in the Bedroom

 

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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 reframID-100112062.jpge 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!

 

ID-10044290.jpgCool 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!

 

Photo 1 Credit: Unsplash.com- Krista Mangulsone
Photo 2 credit: marin at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Photo 3 credit: Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net