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Lube Rules!

In 2016 I offered a free online class about SEX TOYS: The Good, the Baaad and the Slutty.
(You can still get the recording here)Woman Riding Vibrator

As part of all my online education, I always give lots of extra information and resources. As a Wholistic Sexuality teacher and former health care provider, I get asked questions about lubricants all the time. I figured I may as well expand this a bit into a blog post and share it with you.

So, here’s a short primer on the rules of lube and why lube rules!

Lube Rules_Circe Invidiosa-WaterhouseWhy Lube?

Lubricants make everything wetter, slipperier, slick and slidey. Yum!

While vaginas do produce natural lubrication, even if you’re a vagina-owner who produces plenty of natural lubricant, more is better. Also, keep in mind that while vaginal lubrication is a sign of early arousal for some women, most vaginas won’t get super-slippery until the vagina-owner is in high level arousal. Beyond taking the time for a women’s entire erectile tissue network to get totally engorged, this is another good reason to wait until you’re really turned on before putting anything inside!

And, for those times in life when your vagina is dry, such as post-partum, post-menopause, or when you’re on birth control pills, using additional lubricant can make the difference between pain and pleasure.

Using lube is also essential for anal penetration play. The anus produces little natural lubricant and the tissues are fragile.

In addition, if you are using barriers for safer sex play or contraception, lube increases the pleasure quotient significantly. A few drops of lube inside the tip of the condom increases the penis-owners’ sensation (not inside the whole thing though – that would cause it to slip off!) Once the condom is on, slathering the outside will increase the pleasure for the recipient and reduce the chance of breakage—a win-win if I ever heard one! Similarly, some lube on the receiver’s side of a dental dam makes that ‘piece of plastic’ seem to disappear.

Lubricants and Moisturizers

It’s important to know the difference between lubricants and moisturizers. Lubricants make things slide and stay on the surface of your tissues. They’re good for sex, reducing friction and irritation and increasing sensation and pleasure. Moisturizers are absorbed into your tissues, improving tone, elasticity and resilience.

Lube Rules

  1. Oil doesn’t mix with latex. Oil causes latex to deteriorate rapidly leading to the dreaded breakage! (or tiny holes that are huge to sperm and microbes!)
  • There are basically two kinds of oil-based lubricant products: those based on petroleum (Vaseline, petroleum jelly, mineral oil) and those using plant-based oils (coconut oil, sunflower oil, etc.).
  • No oil-based products of either kind can be used with latex products.
    • This includes natural latex products (the vast majority of condoms) as well as polyisoprene (synthetic latex) products.
  1. Water-based lubricants can be used with any products.
  2. Silicone lubes can NOT be used with silicon sex toys. They will cause them to degrade.

Condom Sense

Most condoms are made of latex, which is stretchy, thin and comes in a wide variety of sizes and styles. They’re inexpensive and fine for most people. However, for people who are latex-sensitive (get irritated) or allergic (have serious reactions) or who wish to use plant-based oils like coconut oil, there are some non-latex options.

Types of Non-Latex Condoms that CAN be used with natural oils:

  • Polyurethane
    • Trojan™ Supra Condoms
    • Trojan BareSkin Condoms
  •  Nitrile
    • FC2 Female Condom
  • Lambskin condoms: I generally don’t recommend them as they DO NOT PROTECT AGAINST INFECTIONS!

Types of Non-Latex Condoms that CAN NOT be used with natural oils:

  • Polyisoprene (synthetic latex) These synthetic latex products can have the same issues that natural latex does, that is, oils will degrade them.)
    • LifeStyles® Skyn Condoms
    • Durex Real Feel Condoms

Natural Plant-Based Oils

If you aren’t using latex barriers, you can use any natural plant-based oil as a sexual lubricant. I recommend using organic products. You can find a wide selection at natural food store, sexuality shops and online.

My favorite natural lubricant is good old coconut oil, which acts as both a lubricant and a moisturizer! You just use it straight out of the jar. It smells and tastes delicious. It’s solid when cool and a liquid when warm and it melts deliciously at body temperature. Coconut oil is also good for vaginas as it’s mildly anti-fungal and anti-bacterial (but only against the ‘bad’ bacteria and not the ‘good’ ones that live in a healthy vaginal ecosystem).

Other nice body-friendly and yummy oils include almond oil, jojoba oil, sesame oil and apricot kernel oil.

Make Your Own: Yoni Balm

Yoni is Sanskrit for the ‘entrance to the universe’ or ‘sacred garden of life’. Here’s a recipe for some home-made Yoni Balm using coconut oil as a base.

  • ¼ cup coconut oil (You can also use a mix of coconut, almond, or other plant oils.)
  • 2 tablespoons grated and packed cocoa butter
  • 1-2 vitamin E oil capsules
  • Optional: ½ teaspoon glycerin
  • If you like add non-alcoholic flavoring extracts: vanilla, orange, etc. (No sugar or sweeteners of any kind, though.)

Melt the coconut oil and cocoa butter gently over low heat. While cooling add vitamin E oil (empty 1-2 capsules). Add flavoring and glycerin, if desired. Pour into shallow jars or small containers.

Don’t want to make your own? No worries! One of my favorite herbal companies, Avena Botanicals makes this lovely luscious velvety Yoni Creme.

Water Soluble Lubricants

Water-soluble lubricants are good for latex products and fine with silicone toys. They don’t stain and are easy to wash off. Water-soluble lubes can get sticky and tacky though, so a handy trick to keep them slippery is to use a squirt bottle filled with water and just occasionally use a spritz to rehydrate your lubed body parts.

Unfortunately, most commercial lubricants have a nasty taste and are full of non-body-friendly chemicals. Luckily, there are many natural and organic products on the market now.

My favorite natural water soluble lubes are aloe vera-based. Like coconut oil, aloe acts as both a lubricant and a moisturizer! Among my recommended brands are Good Clean Love (goodcleanlove.com) and Aloe Cadabra (aloecadabra.com). Sliquid (sliquid.com) as a variety of natural lubes, including some with aloe, some without.

Make Your Own: Natural Water-Soluble Lubricant: Flax Seed Goo

May be used internally and externally. It’s soothing, protective, and hypo-allergenic. Plus, when it’s fresh, it has hardly any taste or smell. It’s also water-soluble, thus latex-compatible.

  • One cup flax seeds (whole seeds-not ground)
  • 6 cups water (think juicy sex!)
  • Bring to a boil. Turn down heat. Simmer 6 minutes. Turn off heat. Let sit for 6 minutes. Strain the goo from the seeds. You have now made some sexy slime.Put in large jar in the fridge and put a smaller amount in a small jar or squeeze bottle to have handy for sex. It will keep for up to 2 months in the refrigerator, 2-3 days room temperature. It may be preserved with grapefruit seed extract, calcium ascorbate or a similar vitamin C compound, vitamin E, potassium sorbate, essential oil of lavender, rosemary, sandalwood oil, or tea tree oil.

Silicon Lubes

Silicone lubes are really slippery and long-lasting. They don’t wash off easily, so they’re great for use in the water. Three that I like are Wet (stayswetlonger.com), Pjur (pjurusa.com) & ID (idlube.com).

Samples & Sensitivity

Many companies offer sampler packs so you can try their various products. Also, most sex-education oriented brick-and-mortar stores have lube testers available so you can feel and taste the various products. As with any product, you may be sensitive to some ingredients even if they’re fine for other people. Start off by skin testing on a non-sensitive body part like your inner wrist. Assuming you have no negative reactions after a few hours, then try a small amount on your more delicate bits!

Slather and enjoy!


ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:

Condom Depot for all thing condom including non-latex condoms. Beyond their selection of a wide variety of latex and non-latex condoms, they also have a supremely useful Condom Size Chart so you can get the right size to improve comfort and reduce slippage and breakage.

Condom Size: Another good condom size chart.

Female Condom FAQ

What’s The Best Lubricant? 10 Natural Lubes To Bring HomeJess Kapadia, Huffington Post

What’s the Best Natural Sexual Lubricant? You Might Be SurprisedJill Richardson, AlterNet. (Though I don’t agree with the author about plant-based oils)

The 5 Best All Natural Lubes—Lexi’s Green Guide


This blog is from the More Info & Resources that goes along with a FREE ONLINE CLASS: SEX TOYS: The Good, the Baaaad and the Slutty. (You can get the recording here.)


Do you like the idea of getting empowering, entertaining, erotic education for adults ONLINE? If so, we invite you to check out our Intimate Arts Online live and recorded online classes and courses. Discover a convenient, private and enlightening way to have more pleasure and expand your erotic universe. You’ll be glad you did!

Download your free Orgasmic Abundance ebook and get other free erotic education stuff here!

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Keeping Long-Term Relationships Hot! (Part 2)

Touch Like You’re Madly In Love

julien haler-Body PicHow Touching

In part one, I discussed how the period of time when we’re madly in-love tends to come to an end for most couples. However, we can use the unconscious behaviors and actions that came naturally at the beginning of our relationship to keep the blaze burning over the years.

One key is to consciously choose to engage in the same type of intimate early-in-love behaviors. In my last post, I suggested that you fire it up with some liquid lip love, with luscious wet kisses.

Next on the list: the fine art of touch.

Tender Touching

Touch was your first sense, beginning while you still floated in your mama’s womb feeling held, surrounded and safe. You were already touching your own body before you even emerged.

Touch is so fundamental that without it, babies will wither and die. As grown-ups, we won’t die from touch deprivation, but we won’t be as happy and healthy as we would be if our minimum daily touch needs were met. Yet most of us are starved for this essential tactile nourishment.

For people without intimate partners, it can be challenging to get all the touching you want and need. Even people with partners may be touch deprived if we’ve allowed the frequency and the spectrum of touch to diminish.

Rodin - Eternal Spring resizeArticulate Touch

Touch is a basic form of communication—we all speak this universal tongue. It’s also one of our first languages of love, beginning with mother and infant.

At a subtle level, touch transmits intention, emotion, energy, relaxation or tension, and the rhythms of the body. If someone is touching you in a loving way with the intention of giving you pleasure, it feels very different than if they’re touching you solely for their own enjoyment. Comfort, anxiety, caring, attention and distractedness are all transmitted through physical contact.

While touch is a language everyone shares, many people are tremendously confused about the purpose and value of touch, how to share it appropriately, and how to do it masterfully. Touch is complicated, delicate territory. It’s easy to miscommunicate about it. And it’s not always easy to touch with great skill and finesse.

Whether or not a particular type of touch is pleasurable is completely subjective. For instance, the sensation of being tickled may be something you find dreadful or delightful. Personal preferences notwithstanding, when we fully activate our kinesthetic intelligence, we’re most likely to touch our partner in a way they enjoy.

Remember, though, that no one is born knowing how someone else wants to be touched. Which is why we can’t rely on touch alone. To give exquisite touch, even if we’re totally attuned, it helps to add other modes of communication like sound (“Umm!” “Aah!”), words (“More pressure, please”) and body language.

Play A Touching and Feeling Game!

Play this game in total darkness or use blindfolds. This will remove all the visual stimuli and help you focus solely on the sensations of touch.

Touch each other with full attention and awareness. Use your breath to get centered and stay present. Use sounds of pleasure to amplify the sensations and give feedback..

Alternate your attention: Shift your awareness to the part being touched, then toggle back to the part doing the touching. Imagine that you’re stroking velvet as you slide your fingertips along your partner’s skin. Focus on how lovely it feels on your palm, then toggle your attention back to your partner’s skin. Run your fingers through their hair, alternating your awareness of its texture against your fingers with attention to your partner’s pleasure in having their hair stroked. Try to balance your focus so that you’re really feeling as you touch.

After you’re done, have a chat about what happened, what worked or didn’t and what you learned.

Ask me no more....for at a touch I yield, 1886_Alma-Tadema, Sir Lawrenc
The Four Languages of Touch

There are four languages of positive touch—nurturing, healing, sensual and sexual. To keep a relationship vital and satisfying, I believe we need to share all four types of touch.

Here’s a brief introduction to the spectrum of touch.

Nurturing touch transmits caring and acceptance. It’s the kind of tender touch a loving parent gives their beloved child. It helps us feel loved, valued and worthy of being loved.

The second language of touch is therapeutic touch—any form of contact that heals, eases stress, promotes well-being, repairs bodily damage, restores health or palliates pain.Eros-Psyche Bouguereau

The third language of touch is sensual touch—any form of contact designed to heighten the senses, amplify body awareness and magnify perception. Sensual touch is not explicitly erotic. While it might be a warm-up on the path to arousal and is often an excellent prelude to sexual touch, it’s not designed to be a turn-on in and of itself. Think of it as turning on the senses, not the genitals.

Last but definitely not least, there is sexual touch—any contact that arouses and stimulates. Sexual touch entices your erotic energy to come out and play. It teases, titillates, ignites and (hopefully) satisfies erotic desires.

Remember, new lovers caress, hold, rock, stroke and creatively explore all kinds of different ways to discover and delight with contact. An important strategy to sustain your relationship’s passion is to consciously incorporate all four touch vocabularies into your connections.


Want to know how to fall in love over and over again? Did you miss the first part of this series of posts? No worries — here’s Part One: Kiss Like You Mean It and Part Three: Shine the Love-Light.


Succulent_Sexcraft_Sheri_WinstonDiscover more Touching Succulence!

Sheri recent book, Succulent SexCraft: Your Hands-On Guide to Erotic Play & Practice is for singles and partners of all genders and orientations–for anyone and everyone who wants more pleasure!

Do you dream of having spectacular sex? Can you imagine becoming an erotic virtuoso? Now it’s possible with the help of Sheri Winston’s groundbreaking new book!

Visionary yet practical, Succulent SexCraft offers a detailed road map to supercharging your erotic life and becoming sexually whole and empowered. With its wealth of ideas, practices and games, you’ll be able to access extraordinary pleasure, overcome challenges and learn to play masterfully with your inner ‘sexcraft’ toolkit. It’s your personal guide to developing a healthy, celebratory and ecstatic relationship with your sexuality.


 

Developing Erotic Mastery: Conscious Learning

Conscious Learning

A Tasty Little Excerpt From “Succulent SexCraft: Your Hands-On Guide to Erotic Play & Practice

In many ways, learning to expand your sexual pleasure is like learning to play a musical instrument. It’s about acquiring a set of complex skills, albeit more intimate ones. There’s one important difference, though. If you don’t know how to play the piano, you don’t feel weird, ashamed or somehow broken. Nor do you believe that everyone except you already knows how to play really well. We all understand that playing an instrument requires conscious learning and practice over time. No one is born knowing how to tickle the ivories, yet somehow we’re supposed to know how to have great sex without the benefit of lessons or teachers.

In one way, learning sex is unlike learning to play the piano. With sex, you aren’t only the musician, you’re also the instrument. In this sense, it’s more like learning to dance. Whether it’s the piano or the instrument of yourself that you’re studying, learning is required to become a skilled artist—and anyone who wants to learn, can.

“The more technique you have the less you have to worry about it. The more technique there is the less there is.” — Pablo Picasso

Becoming An Erotic Virtuoso

Don’t expect to become a virtuoso overnight. Mastery takes time, energy, attention and practice. Lots of it. This is true for playing the piano and it’s true for sex, too. It’s been estimated that becoming expert at anything takes at least 10,000 hours. Luckily, since we’re talking about sex here, you’ve probably already put in quite a few hours! In addition, you have some very deep, hardwired sexual circuits that make developing your erotic proficiency much easier than mastering Mozart. This is one area of your life where you can make pretty quick progress on your learning journey once you have a guide, maps and the desire to excel.

Also bear in mind that while technique is an indispensable means to an end, erotic mastery isn’t solely about technique. Great sex isn’t about performance or ‘doing it right’—it’s a magical improvisational dance. Technique provides a foundation of embodied learning that you then use to play freely and imaginatively—it’s the underlying skill set that allows you to be fully in the moment and open to the flow. So learn your moves, practice your techniques, train your mind and body to excel—then forget all that and let passion and energy be your guide.

Read more

Connection: The Prime Directive of Sex

The following is a collection of excerpts from Succulent SexCraft: Your Hands-On Guide to Erotic Play and Practice.

The Prime Directive: Sex Is About Connection

Title Graphic_Connection_Titian_The Three Ages of Man-detailAt root, sex isn’t about what you do erotically with another person. It’s not about getting off or getting it on, scoring or hooking up. It’s about connecting, first with yourself, possibly with others and ultimately with life.

Your sexuality is first and foremost about your connection to yourself, your whole self.

More than anything, your sexuality is about your relationship with yourself. By ‘self’ I mean all of you: your body, mind, heart and spirit; your past, present and future; your genetics and your environment—everything that makes you uniquely and completely you.

Your sexuality is about who you are, not about who you do (or don’t) have sex with. Your sexual activities don’t define your sexual identity—they emanate from and are expressions of it. Your sexuality is an inherent, inseparable and essential aspect of the complex person that is you.

You can break up with other people. They can die or go away. You can’t leave or be left by yourself, though. Wherever you go, there you are. You are your primary partner, the only one who has been and always will be with you.

What this means is that if you want to have better sex, start with yourself. If you want to have better relationships with other people, start with yourself. If you want more love, connection and pleasure in your life, the place to start is, you guessed it, with yourself.

There’s a straightforward reason for this: Your foundational relationship to yourself is the basis of all your other relationships (not just the sexual ones). All your other connections are shaped by your relationship with yourself.

Your Sexuality Is About Your Connection to Others

Naturally that includes the people you have sex with—partner sex is fundamentally about connection. And it’s also about your connection to everyone and everything, including all life on this planet.

Because your sexuality is an integral aspect of who you are, Eros shows up in all your interactions and relationships, including the many that aren’t sexual. All your other relationships are influenced by your core connection with yourself, just as you have been shaped by all that surrounds you. You’re at the center of a great web of connection. This includes your relationships with partners, families, communities, culture and ultimately the whole wide world. Whatever you do, however you’re connected, your sexuality is part of it.

Sex is Both Natural and Learned

The story that ‘sex comes naturally’ is only partly true. While much of our sexuality is derived from our natural animal templates, an astounding amount of human sexuality is learned. You learn sex, including not just what goes where, but more significantly, your erotic capacities, responses and pathways to pleasure. You are an intricately interwoven combination of hardware and software.

Your hardware is your genetics, the factory-installed equipment that is the unique result of millions of years of evolution. It’s your inborn instincts and aptitudes. You can’t change your hardware, but you can learn to understand and work with it. And learn how to make it work for you.

Unlike your hardware, your software is the programmable, learned part of who you are. You’ve been absorbing things like a sponge your whole life, starting with your prenatal environment and continuing through your birth journey up to this very day. You’ve been shaped by your experience and environment.

Much of our sexuality comes from the software side of the divide. You learned to view sex as sinful, sacred or something in between. You learned your concept of foreplay, your beliefs about who is and isn’t appropriate to have sex with, and much more. Some of this education has been conscious. Much has been unconscious.

Your ability to learn is innate, while what and how much you learn depends on your social and cultural circumstances. For instance, you were born with the inherent ability to learn language, but your proficiency with your native tongue or how many languages you speak depends on your environment. Another example: Every baby loves music and responds to rhythm—but whether or not you play an instrument depends on what you learned to do with your intrinsic musical aptitude. Essentially, you learn sex the same way you learn to play a musical instrument, dance or become fluent with a foreign language.

We all come equipped with a starter kit of basic capacities such as an inherent sense of rhythm, a body that loves to move, and a brain primed with the ability to learn words and grammar. Our natural aptitudes provide the foundation for learning essential skills. We then build up our skill sets by layering on increasingly complex competencies. While much of our learning is unconscious, it’s through conscious learning that we achieve proficiency and ultimately mastery.

You Need Accurate Maps

To fulfill your sexual potential, it helps to have structure, support and guidance–and, more specifically, accurate and effective maps and models. Anything short of that is like trying to find a special spot in the woods without a map (or with one that’s just plain wrong).

It’s not easy to learn complex skills on your own—it helps to have a guide. A teacher can share their knowledge base of accumulated information, wisdom and techniques, offer logical sequences for learning, organize information, provide structure and clarify confusion. A mentor can encourage you on your journey, and also share useful, accurate maps that show you the easy routes and warn you against pitfalls.

Good guides are especially necessary when the maps you’ve been using are inaccurate or outdated. Bad maps get you lost! Unfortunately, this is what we get from our mainstream culture, which seems to specialize in offering flawed maps about relationships and sexuality.

To make matters worse, many people don’t realize they’ve been working with faulty maps and instead believe there’s something wrong with them. Bad maps about sex, bodies, desire and relationships often leave people feeling broken or like failures.

For all their value, though, it’s essential to remember that the map is not the territory. It’s a representation of reality, not the actual thing. That’s why you can have many maps of the same thing, with each one emphasizing a different perspective. A street map, a population map and a topographical one can be simultaneously true yet all look different and be useful in different ways. That doesn’t make one right and the other wrong—they just offer multiple lenses so you can get a bigger and more multifaceted picture.

The important thing to ask about a map or model is if it’s useful and true. Does it confirm or invalidate your experience? Does it get you lost or help you get where you want to go? If you want to find a special swimming hole you’ve heard about, you’re much likelier to get there if you’ve got an accurate trail map that has a big ‘X’ marking the sweet spot.

Of course, you’ll only know if it’s correct if you actually take that walk in the woods and find out for yourself if that idyllic place exists.

Maps are a supremely useful tool for getting where you want to go. Without them, you’re just fumbling in the dark.


 

Play With Yourself (But Don’t Masturbate)

Image for FB1In our culture, masturbation still gets a bad rap. While we may no longer believe it causes degeneracy and disease or causes people to go blind (although I do know a lot of folks who wear glasses!), we still don’t celebrate solo sex for the wonderful, self-loving, healthy and pleasurable practice it is.

We don’t even have a good name for it. I rarely use the word masturbation, preferring to call it solo sex, sexual self-love, playing with yourself, or self-pleasuring. I never cared for the m-word and now that I know the derivation of the word, I like it even less. The Latin roots of the word mean ‘to pollute with your hand.’ That’s certainly not what I’m doing with my hand when it’s busy down below! Nor am I committing ‘self-abuse.’ When you’re self-pleasuring, you’re doing lots of things—giving yourself sexual loving, learning how to expand your responses, practicing skills, exploring your fantasies, enhancing your mental and physical well-being, improving your vitality, having a good time, receiving pleasure and relaxing. That sounds like a recipe for health and happiness to me! so I encourage you to play with yourself, but never to “masturbate.”

Our dominant culture still encourages guilt, if not of the mortal sin variety, then of the mildly shameful or “You’re being self-indulgent and wasting time” kind. I find this ironic since we get many of the same benefits from sexual pleasure (whether solo or partnered) that we derive from exercise and meditation. We feel virtuous when we work out or meditate, while taking the same amount of time to have some juicy solo sex is considered frivolous and decadent or worse. When will our puritan culture get over it and accept that solo sex isn’t a dissolute fall into wanton lust, but an ascent into self-love that celebrates your desire, hones your abilities and ultimately honors yourself? While the sex you have with yourself certainly isn’t all there is to your relationship with yourself, it’s an essential component.

Are you practicing sexual self-love? If your answer is “I don’t do that,” I strongly encourage you to start now. If you’re thinking, “but that’s not real sex, it doesn’t count,” it’s time for a new story. Think of your solo sex as an affirmation of your juiciness and an essential practice on your path to becoming sexually masterful.

For those of you who do have ‘do-dates’ with yourself, I have a question for you: how’s it going? While you can’t really have bad sex with yourself, you can certainly have mediocre experiences. If you’re disconnected from yourself or just going through the motions, your solo sex will refl ect that. Do you only give yourself quickies? Just having frantic fast-food snacks? Are you a poor lover to yourself?

I hope not.

How would your dream lover treat you? In what ways would he or she delight you? When you practice solo sex, that’s how I invite you to treat yourself.


Succulent_Sexcraft_Sheri_Winston

This post is an excerpt from my recent book, Succulent SexCraft: Your Hands-On Guide to Erotic Play and Practice.

Learn to become masterful with your own erotic energy, delight your partners and have more bliss!

Ecstasy awaits you so why wait?

Vaginal Vs. Clitoral Orgasm

Vaginal Vs. Clitoral Orgasm

It’s one hundred and ten years since Freud stirred up controversy with his theory that vaginal orgasms were the ‘mature’ way to come and that immature clitoral orgasms were for little girls and adolescents. It’s hard to believe that we’re still talking about it now—and that we’re still in a very muddled dispute. But we are.

Vaginal Vs Clitoral Orgasm: In the News! Again.

Since it’s about this century-old debate, I probably shouldn’t be too surprised to see the extensive press coverage that’s attended the publication of a scientific review of anatomy literature. The article in question is Anatomy of Sex: Revision of the New Anatomical Terms Used for the Clitoris and the Female Orgasm, by sexologists Vincenzo Puppo and Giulla Puppo, published in the forthcoming issue of Clinical Anatomy.

In today’s blog, I’ll focus on the vaginal vs. clitoral orgasm argument. The media frenzy is almost orgasmic (although not in a good way) as outlets variously applaud and decry the Puppos’ conclusion that “vaginal orgasm does not exist.” Unsurprisingly, women who don’t experience orgasm from intercourse seem to be on board with these scientists, while women who do experience orgasms from intercourse are shaking their heads and mocking the distance between science and real life (and real bedrooms).

Lizzie Crocker is in the no-vaginal orgasm camp. In her Daily Beast article, The Truth About Female Orgasm, she writes, “Thanks to the two Puppos and their clarifying study, women can finally stop … differentiating between types of orgasms that don’t exist. So … stop taunting us with claims of your intense, superior vaginal orgasms. It doesn’t exist and it never happened.”

I do understand where’s she’s coming from. From her words and tone, I conclude that she’s one of the women who don’t have orgasms from intercourse. I’m sorry if she feels ‘taunted’ by those who do. No one should suffer from orgasmic one-upmanship.

So, for Lizzie (presumably) and all the other women who feel orgasmically shamed, let me hasten to reassure them and impart a few important pieces of information that are missing from these heated discussions.

Let me start by making an important distinction. Most of the participants in this debate are equating ‘vaginal orgasm’ with an orgasm that results from penis-in-vagina intercourse without any added clitoral stimulation. These are not the same thing!

hand-461261_1920The Vaginal Vs. Clitoral Issue

To elaborate: Let’s start with the vaginal vs clitoral issue. The terms ‘clitoral orgasm’ and ‘vaginal orgasm’ are really only referring to where the woman feels the orgasm most intensely. Most people can experience orgasms that have different focal points. While most orgasms are genitally focused, it’s also possible to have ones that feel focused elsewhere, such as ‘heart-gasms’ or orgasms that are so expanded that they feel like the whole body is coming. Even within the genital region, orgasms can feel more centered in one part or another, accounting for orgasms that feel more clitoral, vaginal, uterine or anal (or in men, penile, prostate or anally-focused). The Puppos seem to think that “the few women who report ‘vaginal orgasms’” are deluded by the sexologists and the media. As if women don’t know their own bodies well enough to feel where their orgasm feels centered! If you are in tune with your own body, you’ll be able to distinguish which parts of you are pulsing and palpitating. There is a wide (and normal) range of embodied orgasmic experiences.

Why do we tend to feel orgasms in different areas of the genitals? In part, this has to do with which of the major sexual nerve pathways get more stimulated. More stimulation of the external structures tends to create orgasms that feel more clitoral. More internal stimulation tends to lead to a more internal (i.e., vaginal, uterine or anal) orgasmic experience. Stimulate all the nerve pathways and you get ‘blended’ orgasms that tend to feel especially intense.

andre_lambert_footjob-1917Now to address the separate but related issue about the various types of stimulation that can induce women to have orgasms. The Puppos basically say is impossible for women to achieve orgasms through penis-in-vagina intercourse without any additional direct clitoral stimulation. They say, “In all women, orgasm is always possible if … during vaginal/anal intercourse the clitoris is simply stimulated with a finger.” Rebecca Adams, writing “The G-Spot And ‘Vaginal Orgasm’ Are Myths, According To New Clinical Review” in The Huffington Post, seems to agree, quoting the Puppos: “Every woman has the capacity to orgasm if her clitoris is stimulated.”

There’s nothing wrong with clitorally-stimulated orgasms. If that’s the only kind of orgasms you have, you’re not broken nor are your orgasms ‘immature.’ Any way that you come from any type of stimulation is just fine and dandy! If you aren’t orgasmic in response to penetration, you’re not alone—over half of women don’t have orgasms with intercourse or without direct clitoral stimulation. It’s totally common and completely normal.

295535The most important thing I’d like everyone to know is that women can learn to become orgasmic from a wide variety of stimuli (including with intercourse). Got it? People can learn to become aroused and have all kinds of orgasms from many different types of actions and activities.

While direct genital stimulation is usually an important component of sexual arousal, people can get turned on and orgasmic from stimulation of other body parts or without any direct physical stimulation at all. Extra-genital arousal and orgasms are most likely to happen when sensitive erogenous zones are pleasured such as your nipple, the back of your neck or your mouth (kissing!)

The Puppos state, “Orgasms with a finger in the vagina are possible in all women, but the partner must also move the hand in a circle to stimulate all the female erectile organs.” This would certainly create a limited repertoire for attaining orgasms! In fact, we now have documentation via the MRI studies of hands-off female orgasm done by Komisaruk, Whipple, et al at their lab at Rutgers University that some women are capable of having orgasms by ‘thinking off’ with no clitoral, vaginal or genital stimulation whatsoever.

One thing the Puppos do have right is that women have a number of erectile structures. Unfortunately, they don’t acknowledge them all nor do they seem to understand how they work together. Understanding these erectile structures is one of the keys to increasing the incidence, intensity and frequency of female orgasm. It’s great for the vulva owners to know this, and their partners too.

The Female Erectile Network: A Revolutionary Map of Buried Pleasure

As I noted in So Is there Or Is There Not A G-Spot?, women have what I call the Female Erectile Network, or FEN*. It’s a set of separate but interconnected structures made of erectile tissue—the very same tissue that enables penises to go from small and soft to big and hard. Women have just as much erectile tissue as men, it’s just arranged differently. Some of these pleasure parts are well known while others are almost unheard of (even by scientists, medical practitioners and sexologists).

Starting with the familiar, the FEN includes the super-sensitive ‘jewel in the crown’ —the head of the clitoris. (That’s what most people are referring to when they say ‘clitoris.’) It’s a unique and remarkable structure and merits lots of attention. The clitoral head is the main and usually easiest orgasmic trigger for most women. It is not, however, the only path to female sexual pleasure. The female erectile network also includes the two other parts of the clitoris: the shaft (under the hood) and the 3-4 inch-long paired legs. In addition to the clitoral structures, the FEN includes the paired vestibular bulbs that bracket the vaginal opening, plus two additional structures—the urethral and perineal sponges. The urethral sponge is a cylinder of erectile tissue that surrounds the tube of the urethra. The perineal sponge rests under the vaginal floor, in the wall between the vaginal and anal canals. All of these structures are composed of engorgeable erectile tissue.

gerda-wegener-satyrOne key to making intercourse highly pleasurable and much more likely to be orgasmic for the woman is to make sure that the whole circuit of erectile tissue is fully engorged prior to penetration. Other keys include making sure that the woman is in deep, high-level arousal prior to penetration; using our additional inner ‘sexcraft tools’ (such as breathing, sound, movement, awareness and imagination, to name just a few†) to increase stimulation; having one or more orgasms prior to intercourse; and, during intercourse, using more pelvis-connected movements such as rocking or grinding rather than a penis thrusting in-and-out motion.

 

Orgasmic Learning: The Real Sex Ed

For women, orgasm skills are learnable. Some women haven’t yet learned how to have any kind of orgasm. There’s nothing wrong with you if that’s your situation—there are just skills you haven’t learned yet. Step one is discovering your easiest path to orgasm, which usually involves self-pleasuring and clitoral stimulation. Once women develop orgasmic proficiency, they can go on to learn orgasmic mastery, where you develop many paths through arousal, expand the ways you can get off and discover the wide realm of orgasmic possibilities.

Most women who have penis-in-vagina intercourse-only orgasms have learned how to get there. For those women who haven’t had penis-penetration-induced climaxes, you can develop the skills that will allow you that experience.

If you want to. You don’t have to. It’s an orgasmic option.

carlos-schwabe-spleen-and-idealThere is no right way to have orgasms. There is no better way. Nor is there a Freudian ‘mature’ way to come. But there are different orgasmic experiences. Clitorally or vaginally-stimulated ones, anally stimulated ones, orgasms in your dreams, hands-on ones, hands-off orgasms, whole-body ones. Orgasms from humping a pillow, from penetration of your vagina, your anus, your mouth or your mind. It’s all learnable! You can learn to expand your orgasmic range.

Celebrate All Orgasms

Please don’t let any reporters, scientists, partners (or anyone, for that matter!) tell you that your experiences aren’t real, that you’re not normal, or that the way you get off is wrong. If people with paraplegia can learn to have orgasms by having their mouth or fingers stimulated (and they can and have), then let’s stop limiting and shaming anyone’s experience and learn to celebrate orgasms in any way, shape or body part that helps us have them.

Having great sex is a learning journey. One part of that journey is learning to have orgasms. And, if you choose, learning how to use your many parts and multiple skills to have stupendous ones.


Want to Know More?

For more details about the different structures, take a look at this post: The Missing Female Pleasure Parts

For more information on what’s been misunderstood and neglected, here’s another post: Lost Sexy Bits. (It includes a quickie home play assignment.)

For a few orgasmic pointers, I invite you to download a free Orgasmic Abundance e-book.


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Some Notes on Erotic Mastery

Becoming An Erotic Virtuoso

Angie Chung, Hand Shapes: Hill & Valley

Angie Chung, Hand Shapes: Hill & Valley

Don’t expect to become a virtuoso overnight. Mastery takes time, energy, attention and practice. Lots of it. This is true for playing the piano and it’s true for sex, too. It’s been estimated that becoming expert at anything takes at least 10,000 hours. Luckily, since we’re talking about sex here, you’ve probably already put in quite a few hours!

In addition, you have some very deep, hardwired sexual circuits that make developing your erotic proficiency much easier than mastering Mozart. This is one area of your life where you can make pretty quick progress on your learning journey once you have a guide, maps and the desire to excel.

Also bear in mind that while technique is an indispensable means to an end, erotic mastery isn’t solely about technique. Great sex isn’t about performance or ‘doing it right’—it’s a magical improvisational dance. Technique provides a foundation of embodied learning that you then use to play freely and imaginatively—it’s the underlying skill set that allows you to be fully in the moment and open to the flow. So learn your moves, practice your techniques, train your mind and body to excel—then forget all that and let passion and energy be your guide.

“The more technique you have the less you have to worry about it. The more technique there is the less there is.” — Pablo Picasso


Succulent_Sexcraft_Sheri_WinstonI hope you enjoyed this little taste of my new book, Succulent SexCraft: Your Hands-On Guide to Erotic Play & Practice. It’s the place to go to develop exquisite erotic skills like becoming extraordinarily orgasmic, mastering erotic trance states and so much more!

 

OLC_Succulent_SexCraft_Website header_ProductAre you ready to have me personally help you learn to play your own instrument with skill and passion?

You can do it in the comfort and privacy of your own home with Intimate Arts Online Education!

Join us for a 4-week deep dive into Succulent SexCraft: Supercharge Your OWN Pleasure for a lifetime of MORE!

Amplified arousal, easy orgasms, expanded orgasms and access to your own ecstasy awaits you!


The Six P’s of Touch

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photo CC by SA Nelumba

You can become a touch savant by playing with the six p’s — presence, purpose, patience, precision, pattern and progression. When you do so, you get to the ultimate p -— Pleasure!

Presence

It is in the imperceptible space between that which touches and that which is touched that one body can be felt, no matter how closely, to be different from another.

When you are fully present and in the moment with your touch, it will be exquisite. paying relaxed, soft-focused attention is a great way to let your kinesthetic intelligence emerge. If you’re touching your partner’s thigh, be present to the thigh. Don’t think about where you’re hoping to get to after that. delight in the delicious now.

Use your own sexcraft skills to stay present. if you find yourself in a thinking or distracted place, slow down or better yet, get still. Get centered back into your own experience using breath, awareness, intention (or whatever your favorite centering tools are.) Then shift your awareness back to your partner.

Purpose

Touch transmits intention. If someone is rubbing your back as a prelude to getting into your pants, you’ll know it. If someone is intending to give you pleasure, their touch will transmit that, too.

I encourage you to create conscious intentions when you connect erotically with yourself and others. Focus on connection, pleasure and co-creating a great improvisational journey, not on getting or achieving.

Patience

When I’m asked for one single bit of advice about how to have better sex, my answer is this -— take your time. Quickies can be fun snacks, but extraordinary sex usually occurs when you slow down to enjoy the feast.
While I certainly recommend taking time to have leisurely encounters, I mean something else as well. Don’t be in a hurry to get from point A to point B. Dogs (or should i say, core-yang people), this means not diving directly into your pussycat’s nether regions. If you want to do some muff munching, consider starting at her toes, taking time with every digit, then traveling oh-so-slowly up her leg until she’s desperate to have you dive into her glorious genitalia. Slow is good -— it creates anticipation and builds arousal. The more patient you are, the hungrier your kitty will be and the more you’ll be rewarded when you feed her (or feed on her).

Precision

By precision, I mean touch that’s discerning, accurate and exquisitely focused. it’s one of the keys to touching masterfully instead of just “okay-fully.”

It requires you to toggle your attention and awareness fluidly back and forth between yourself and your partner. as we get more turned on, it’s easy to lose our focus and get wild and sloppy with our movements. as things up-regulate and your brain heads down toward the basement, do your best to pay extra attention to the importance of precision!

It also requires presence —- you can’t be precise without being present.

Pattern

If you touch someone in the same way over and over again, it can get monotonous or irritating. if you deviate non-stop, it can feel incoherent and chaotic and keep the recipient from going into trance. There’s a middle ground between chaotic and boring. Masterful touch is like music -— it creates patterns with its combination of rhythm, repetition, harmony and syncopation. Repeating a move creates space for appreciation and feeds anticipation. It creates a pleasing expectation -— a sort of touch security, as it were —- and escalates entrancement.

Syncopation offers an accent note. It delivers the element of surprise, and it does so without taking the recipient out of the zone. Use motion and stillness, just as music works with sound and silence. Remember: stillness is a ‘move’ just like motion is a move. Play with a beat, melody and cadence. Use repetition, surprise, rhythm, syncopation, tempos and motifs to create your very own symphony of touch.

You can also play with touch as if it were visual art. Pretend you’re finger-painting, sculpting, outlining or shading. Here, too, use designs, motifs, recurring themes, and gradually changing patterns. Doodle with their body! There’s a larger takeaway here: touch is an art form—and mastery equals artistry.

Progression

Pattern and progression are closely related. in fact, progression is how you get from pattern a to pattern B, or from location a to location B, without having it feel rushed, jumpy or chaotic. Let your touch have internal consistency, a sort of touch logic. Don’t jump around randomly from one place on the body to another. Play with progressing coherently from place to place, or from one layer to another. Shift fluently between languages. Transition gradually between tempos or from broad strokes to detailed ones.

Generally, use smooth, gradual transitions (except when you want to delight with the surprise of an accent note). For instance, going from deeply therapeutic shoulder massage directly to genital stimulation might be disconcerting. However, if you move from deep kneading of the big back muscles down to the buttocks, shift to a lighter sensual rhythmic stroke down the thigh, followed with a teasing, feathery flit up the inner thigh, a quick brush past the crotch, to almost touching the genitals, and finally to landing there with a deliberate firm hand — well, that can be utterly delicious.

During all of this, of course, you’ll want to practice another of the ‘p’s —- patience. There’s an art to finding the balance between taking your time and being too slow. Here, look for the receiver to give cues. as long as they’re loving it, linger there. When they’re not responding positively, it may be time to move on to something else.

Receivers, there’s a message in this for you: Be actively responsive. Not only will this amplify your pleasure, you’ll be letting your giver know how you love to be touched. And that’s a positive pleasure circuit!


This is the Prime Directive of Sex

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The following is an excerpt from Succulent SexCraft: Your Hands-On Guide to Erotic Play and Practice.

THE PRIME DIRECTIVE: SEX IS ABOUT CONNECTION

1. Your sexuality is first and foremost about your connection to your self. Your whole self.
2. Your sexuality is also about your connection to others. Naturally that includes the people you have sex with—partner sex is fundamentally about connection. And it’s also about your connection to everyone and everything, including all life on this planet.
3. Sex is both natural and learned. While an important part of our sexuality is based on our inborn animal templates, an astounding amount of human sexuality is learned.
4. To fulfill your sexual potential, it helps to have structure, support and guidance — and, more specifically, accurate and effective maps and models. Anything short of that is like trying to find a special spot in the woods without a map (or with one that’s just plain wrong).


Connections your sexuality is connected to everyone and everything. Here are aspects of the web of life that surrounds and supports you, and that co-created you:

YOU

• Hardware: nature, evolution, genetics
• Software: learning, environment, culture
• mind, body, heart and spirit
• energy and matter

EVERYTHING ELSE

Families

• your family of origin (the place where nature and nurture overlap and sometimes collide)
• your families of choice (the people you choose to create family with)
• your families of creation (your kids, if you have them)

Partners

• including any people with whom you are or have been intimate, sexual, and/or romantic
• current partners
• past partners
• fantasy partners
• potential partners

Communities

• friends, acquaintances, and all other communities and connections
• where you live
• political institutions, spiritual, religious and other institutions
• other institutions
• the media
• your work
• all living beings
• the world
• the ALL… The mysteries (leaving room for all of the energies and influences that we don’t know or understand)

An Easy Way to Play with Your Pleasure: A Sexual Breathing Practice

My book, Succulent SexCraft: Your Hands-On Guide to Erotic Play and Practice is jam-packed with games, exercises and practices. Here’s a teasing, tempting taste! I find this practice super-useful in a wide variety of sexy situations.

anne-anderson-wind-blowsSexual Breathing Practice

Your brain is one of your most powerful arousal engines. You engage it through your awareness, focus and imagination. Joining it with your breath is a winning combination!

In this simple Sexual Breathing Practice you imagine breathing through your bottom (genitals, anus and perineum) at the same time that you pump your pelvic floor muscles (PFMs) and, of course, breathe. You can coordinate the pattern in whatever way is easiest for you. Try doing it the way I suggest and if that doesn’t work for you, do the reverse.

Here Goes

Take a deep breath in and pull up on your PFMs. Exhale and release them. Continue the pattern of coordinating breath and pelvic floor muscles. Begin to imagine that your breath is actually being sucked in through your bottom as you inhale and is being released from your bottom on the exhale. Imagine that you feel the air flowing into your genitals as you pull it in on your inspiration and flowing out as you exhale and release. Feel the sensations of the air rolling in and out.

Find the rate that is easiest for you. Practice and play with it until it feels natural and effortless.

Relaxing Rhythm

You can use this practice with a slow rhythm to relax. Make it nice and easy, using a pace that’s a bit slower then your normal rate. Get that leisurely rhythm going and bask in the calming practice.

Ramp It Up: Slowly Get Faster

Play with using this practice during erotic play. See what happens when you start slow and slowly increase the speed until you’re really rocking it. Take your time going from slow to rapid. The more time you take to shift gears, the better.

Fast and Furious

Try breathing at a rapid rate to turn up your turn-on. Make sure to keep each breath deep as you go fast. Use your energetic breath as a way to fire up your erotic energy.

Breathing Plus

Use a combination of various breath rates and rhythms, along with pulsing of your pelvic floor muscles and engage your imagination. Imagine that you’re using your upper and lower pumps to pump up your arousal! (You actually are doing exactly that.) Imagine that your mouth and throat are connected to your pelvic floor and genitals. (They actually are!)

Orgasm Additions

Add conscious breath practices to your next climax and see what happens. Experiment with breathing slow for one orgasm and breathing fast for another. Notice what happens.

Breath is for Solo Or Partnered Pleasure

You can do sexual breathing alone or with a partner. When you do it as a duo, you can synchronize by both doing the same pattern at the same time. Or you can do opposite patterns, with one of you inhaling while the other exhales.

Play and Experiment

Remember, there’s no right way and no way to do it wrong, so go ahead and experiment. Play with breathing through your bottom and pulse your way to more pleasure.

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