Nov 302012
 
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A new — and almost entirely unreported — study about anal sex and pain shows how little we really know about it

That anal sex remains taboo may explain why a study about anodyspareunia – that is, pain during anal penetration – received little attention when it was published in the Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy. The study should have turned heads: It was the first research on anodyspareunia among women; it was conducted by a well-respected scientist (Dr. Aleksander Stulhofer from the University of Zagreb); and it was centered on young women and sex. That’s often the kind of research that attracts media attention (Young women sex! They get pregnant! They give oral sex! You get the picture …). However, anal sex remains such a strong taboo that this otherwise important study barely turned a head.

Except it did turn mine. Here’s why. In an incredibly short period of time, anal sex has become a common part of Americans’ sex lives. As of the 1990s, only about one-quarter to one-third of young women and men in the U.S. had tried anal sex at least once. Less than 20 years later, my research team’s 2009 National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior found that as many as 40-45 percent of women and men in some age groups had tried anal sex. With its rising prevalence, I felt it was important to devote a chapter of my first book, “Because It Feels Good,” to anal health and pleasure — only to find that a magazine editor wouldn’t review it because the topic of anal sex was “not in the best interest of our readership.” Even though nearly half of American women in some age groups have done it! She added, “In the correct circles, I personally will be suggesting the book to those with whom I can share such a resource.”

Hmm. The correct circles. Which ones would those be? The ones where scores and scores of women openly sit around talking about anal sex between glasses of wine?

So taboos persist and anal sex remains hush-hush even though more people are doing it. What changed to make it more common, anyway? It’s not entirely clear – after all, rates of masturbation, vaginal sex, oral sex and other sexual practices don’t seem to have changed too much. However,  it’s commonly thought that the widespread access to porn played a role. Some research has found that anal sex was shown in 56 percent of sex scenes studied even though national data of real people’s sex lives show that fewer than 5 percent of Americans had anal sex during their most recent sexual experience.

Honest, evidence-based answers to questions about anal sex are difficult to come by. You’d think we would know more about a behavior that’s become a common part of Americans’ sex lives – one that, for all its potential pleasures, remains among the riskiest sex acts when it comes to spreading sexually transmissible infections (STI) including HIV. Yet there is strikingly little scientific research on anal sex. The list of what we don’t know about anal sex is far longer than the list of what we do. This makes it difficult for sex educators to feel truly confident in answering people’s very real and important questions.

This is also what made the recent University of Zagreb study so valuable. They surveyed more than 2,000 women ages 18 to 30 about their experiences with anal sex. Building on limited early research about anal pain among men who have sex with men, the researchers asked about women’s experiences with pain. This was critical because, as much as we often talk about anal sex possibly hurting, and lubricant possibly minimizing pain or discomfort during anal sex, there is almost no research on women’s experiences of anal sex. One exception is a study that I conducted with my research team at Indiana University in which we gave six different lubricants to more than 2,400 women and asked them to use them during their masturbation, vaginal sex and/or anal sex activities. Among our interests was whether using a lubricant helped to make sex – including anal sex – more pleasurable, more satisfying and less painful (it did).

The Zagreb team found that about half of women (49 percent) stopped their first experience of anal intercourse because it was too painful to continue – not surprising considering 52 percent of women report not even using lubricant when they first had anal sex! An additional 17 percent of women also experienced pain or discomfort during their first anal sex, but didn’t stop their partner. Only about one-quarter of women said their first experience with anal sex was pleasant.

That said, nearly two-thirds tried anal sex again (hopefully this time with lubricant), continuing on another occasion. Those women who found it positive, pleasurable and pain-free were more likely to try it again. About 9 percent of women who had anal sex at least twice in the past year said that they experienced pain every single time. Based on what I know about women who experience pain during vaginal intercourse, my guess is that chronic pain during anal sex is even more common – perhaps hovering in the 10-15 percent range – once the women who actively avoid it because it always hurts are taken into account.

This 9 percent figure is important. It tells us that a similar proportion of women experience pain consistently during anal sex as experience pain consistently during vaginal penetration. That’s right: Somewhere around 10 percent of women experience pain during vaginal intercourse or even during daily activities like sitting down or riding in the car. The 9 percent number is also close to the 10-14 percent range that’s been identified as the proportion of men who have sex with men who experience pain during anal sex. And though the Zagreb study asked women what sense they made of their pain (most blamed themselves or their sexual practices, suggesting their pain was linked to not feeling fully relaxed, inadequate anal foreplay, or not using sufficient lubricant), the fact is that we still don’t know clinically what’s causing their pain.

It may be that, like the vagina and vulva, the anuses of some women and men respond to touch or penetration in painful ways and for unknown reasons. It may be that some of these women and men have skin disorders, such as lichen sclerosus, which can affect genital skin (including anal skin), increasing the likelihood of discomfort, pain or tearing. Certainly lack of information and education is at the root of some people’s pain, but it’s probably not the primary cause for everyone. Some women and men do everything “right” – they use gobs of lubricant, they start out slowly, relax, communicate well with their partner, avoid desensitizing or numbing gels/creams – and yet it still hurts. Do they have an underlying medical condition that’s contributing to the pain? Wonky nerve receptors that scream in pain rather than perceive penetration as neutral or pleasurable? We don’t know.

In case you’re wondering, we also don’t know much about the long-term effects of anal intercourse. Certainly enough people have been having anal sex over enough generations that if anything were seriously dangerous about anal sex, we would know it by now. But as for questions about how regular anal sex, rough anal sex or insufficiently lubricated anal sex might ultimately affect the likelihood of a woman experiencing rectal prolapse or of a woman or man experiencing various anal or rectal health issues, we don’t know because no one has studied these kinds of things. It’s 2012 and pretty much all we know about anal sex is that lots of people have tried it, there’s a higher degree of risk for STI/HIV transmission (compared to vaginal sex or oral sex), many people have found it painful on occasion, many people also find it pleasurable sometimes, and about one in 10 women and men experience pain during anal sex on a regular basis. Much of the research involving HPV and anal cancer is focused on men who have sex with men – which is needed — even though more women in the U.S. have received anal sex than the number of men who have received anal sex. That’s not to say that anal cancer isn’t important to study among men – it very much is the case – but women get anal cancer, too, and we need to know more about risk and protective factors (related: check out this I Have Butt What? blog by a brave anal cancer survivor named Michelle).

Knowledge gap, anyone?

Even though most people who have had anal sex engage in it only occasionally, anal sex is a fairly common practice. And if people are going to engage in sexual behavior, then they deserve enough information to help make that behavior as safe, pleasurable and satisfying as possible. To do so, science has to catch up and taboos have to dissipate enough so that more people feel comfortable talking about it and sharing their experiences.

Debby-HerbenickDebby Herbenick, PhD, MPH is co-Director of The Center for Sexual Health Promotion at Indiana University’s School of Public Health-Bloomington, a sexual health educator at The Kinsey Institute, and author of five books about sex and love. Her most recent is Sex Made Easy: Your Awkward Questions Answered for Better, Smarter, Amazing Sex (Running Press, 2012).

Check out this TEDx Talk by Debby Herbenick  “Why Your Bed is the Ultimate Treehouse”

Nov 292012
 
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images-2By biggirl4bigfun

We’re standing in front of his garage kissing like we’ve done many times before over the decades. It isn’t always here; we’ve made out in front of hotels, schools and libraries. But it’s familiar—his touch, his taste and I feel him starting to relent—to giving up his fight against our eventual coupling. This is the preliminary stand-off.  We’ve been having these skirmishes since college. Because we aren’t a couple any longer, he thinks it’s ultimately wrong and I believe it’s forever right.

But I’m tired of always having to do the seduction. When we first got together, he went crazy with lust and I would use sex as a reward. I didn’t have to have it, so I could tease him relentlessly. Now I need sex and will do anything to get it from him, even if means dirty fighting like making sure he feels my rigid nipples as I accidently brush against him.

I have a mostly platonic relationship with the man I live with. He gave me permission to sleep with whomever I wanted outside the relationship as long as I never left him. We made this agreement a long time ago. I sense that he would like it to be null and void. But I need my every-so-often reunion sex with my college boyfriend and I don’t want to feel guilty about it.

It’s the fact that my ex fights it every time that makes me so wet.  I make him powerless and I love that. I want to have one of those same tryst next year things and in the moment, pressed up against me, he does too.

We continue to kiss and touch there in the driveway. I can tell he is losing his desire to fight me and his lust is growing as his cock. I’m winning this battle of the flesh. Soon he will give up and let himself surrender to our mutual passion. He always does. The time he spends holding me off though is time we could be spending getting off.

During one of our reunions he tried to be adamant that we would not have sex and yet every night we ended up in bed together. He fucked me thoroughly but would not kiss me on the lips. To not get hurt by his actions, I fantasized that he was the manwhore and I was his Jane. It was his way of paying me back for being so stingy with my body earlier in our relationship and it made him feel (falsely) as if he had any control over our hunger for each other.

His cock is huge, beautiful and always wants me. I need to feel it inside me. I’m happy that most women do not know by looking at him about his cock or he would be too busy to reconnect with his old girlfriend. Not only does he have an amazing penis, he’s a genius at using it. What do they say about people who aren’t obviously hot? They try harder. And he gets even harder as he’s trying.

“We don’t have to have sex,” I lie. But our bodies came to an agreement long before now and there’s no stopping. We’ve got to get somewhere or we are going to be fucking in front of the house.

We miraculously make it into the overstuffed garage fully clothed.  He slams me up against the washer and starts to touch my breasts, my face as his hand creeps down my pants. How can a disgusting garage be so erotic? Pulling out his oversized cock, he demands I suck it. I fall to my knees hoping to avoid a grease spot on the floor and take his almost hard dick into my mouth.

“You are my dirty girl” he growls.  Yes, yes I am. Always.

It’s a good thing I’ve had practice sucking his cock because of its length and girth. Blowing him is not for the novice cock sucker. I can’t even get the whole thing in at once. I start by putting as much of the shaft in my mouth as I can. One of my hands is holding on to the base, the other is flat against his pelvis for balance. I lick the tip of his cock with quick jabs and then start to suck hard. Already in ecstasy he starts to furiously fuck my mouth. My moaning causes vibrations to bounce off his massive erection. He just gets more and more aroused.

I don’t care what happens in the future—this cock is mine and always will be. Normally I don’t enjoy cum but with him, I wish I could be bathed in it. I want him to coat my throat with his cum; I want to be baptized as his.

I remember our first movie date. As we sat in the darkened theatre he traced circles in the palm of my hand. Nothing has ever turned me on as much as that. It was the smallest of actions but so effective. He knows what works with me—a benefit of our on-going

connection.

He’s about to cum but I’m going to need more and I don’t want it to be bent over some old boxes marked “dishware.” We sneak into the house, careful to avoid his sister who is packing up her old bedroom. I feel like a teenager and that just makes it hotter.

He’s fast as he lays me down on the bed with my cunt hanging over the edge. He pushes my panties to the side, pulls out his hard cock and plunges in me. That first thrust is always the best. My pussy seems to mold itself around his shaft. We are the perfect fit.  I’m wet, he’s stiff and it feels amazing. He is going at it fast and hard. His kisses cover my mouth and his hands grab my breasts, pulling at them. His attention is on every part of my body; every piece of flesh and every part of my spirit too.

Although I’m older and heavier, when I’m with him, I feel young. Our sexual chemistry is like a time machine, taking us back to the time where there was no recovery time needed and we could fuck six times a day. We were both beautiful and we are both beautiful now.

I’m just about to climax, when he turns me over and he fucks me doggie style. His hand is placed right where my neck meets my back, steadying himself as he continues to go in and out with that gigantic cock. I feel his sweat dripping on my back.

I start to cum but he gives me no time to recover. He has more to do. I’m flipped back on my back and I whisper “force me.” He understands immediately and pins my hands over my head with one hand, pries my legs apart with his leg, rips at the now dripping panties with his free hand and almost impales me with his huge erection. I nearly lose consciousness, it’s that intense.

We are joined, cunt to cock, hand to hand and heart to heart. In this moment our physical union is enough. As he starts to cum, he shouts my name, admitting his defeat; game, set and snatch.

You are my dirty girl. Yes, always but next time you do the seducing.

FATSLUTBig Girl 4 Big Fun is the author of the blog Tales From a Former Fat Slut .

Nov 292012
 
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images-2By biggirl4bigfun

We’re standing in front of his garage kissing like we’ve done many times before over the decades. It isn’t always here; we’ve made out in front of hotels, schools and libraries. But it’s familiar—his touch, his taste and I feel him starting to relent—to giving up his fight against our eventual coupling. This is the preliminary stand-off.  We’ve been having these skirmishes since college. Because we aren’t a couple any longer, he thinks it’s ultimately wrong and I believe it’s forever right.

But I’m tired of always having to do the seduction. When we first got together, he went crazy with lust and I would use sex as a reward. I didn’t have to have it, so I could tease him relentlessly. Now I need sex and will do anything to get it from him, even if means dirty fighting like making sure he feels my rigid nipples as I accidently brush against him.

I have a mostly platonic relationship with the man I live with. He gave me permission to sleep with whomever I wanted outside the relationship as long as I never left him. We made this agreement a long time ago. I sense that he would like it to be null and void. But I need my every-so-often reunion sex with my college boyfriend and I don’t want to feel guilty about it.

It’s the fact that my ex fights it every time that makes me so wet.  I make him powerless and I love that. I want to have one of those same tryst next year things and in the moment, pressed up against me, he does too.

We continue to kiss and touch there in the driveway. I can tell he is losing his desire to fight me and his lust is growing as his cock. I’m winning this battle of the flesh. Soon he will give up and let himself surrender to our mutual passion. He always does. The time he spends holding me off though is time we could be spending getting off.

During one of our reunions he tried to be adamant that we would not have sex and yet every night we ended up in bed together. He fucked me thoroughly but would not kiss me on the lips. To not get hurt by his actions, I fantasized that he was the manwhore and I was his Jane. It was his way of paying me back for being so stingy with my body earlier in our relationship and it made him feel (falsely) as if he had any control over our hunger for each other.

His cock is huge, beautiful and always wants me. I need to feel it inside me. I’m happy that most women do not know by looking at him about his cock or he would be too busy to reconnect with his old girlfriend. Not only does he have an amazing penis, he’s a genius at using it. What do they say about people who aren’t obviously hot? They try harder. And he gets even harder as he’s trying.

“We don’t have to have sex,” I lie. But our bodies came to an agreement long before now and there’s no stopping. We’ve got to get somewhere or we are going to be fucking in front of the house.

We miraculously make it into the overstuffed garage fully clothed.  He slams me up against the washer and starts to touch my breasts, my face as his hand creeps down my pants. How can a disgusting garage be so erotic? Pulling out his oversized cock, he demands I suck it. I fall to my knees hoping to avoid a grease spot on the floor and take his almost hard dick into my mouth.

“You are my dirty girl” he growls.  Yes, yes I am. Always.

It’s a good thing I’ve had practice sucking his cock because of its length and girth. Blowing him is not for the novice cock sucker. I can’t even get the whole thing in at once. I start by putting as much of the shaft in my mouth as I can. One of my hands is holding on to the base, the other is flat against his pelvis for balance. I lick the tip of his cock with quick jabs and then start to suck hard. Already in ecstasy he starts to furiously fuck my mouth. My moaning causes vibrations to bounce off his massive erection. He just gets more and more aroused.

I don’t care what happens in the future—this cock is mine and always will be. Normally I don’t enjoy cum but with him, I wish I could be bathed in it. I want him to coat my throat with his cum; I want to be baptized as his.

I remember our first movie date. As we sat in the darkened theatre he traced circles in the palm of my hand. Nothing has ever turned me on as much as that. It was the smallest of actions but so effective. He knows what works with me—a benefit of our on-going

connection.

He’s about to cum but I’m going to need more and I don’t want it to be bent over some old boxes marked “dishware.” We sneak into the house, careful to avoid his sister who is packing up her old bedroom. I feel like a teenager and that just makes it hotter.

He’s fast as he lays me down on the bed with my cunt hanging over the edge. He pushes my panties to the side, pulls out his hard cock and plunges in me. That first thrust is always the best. My pussy seems to mold itself around his shaft. We are the perfect fit.  I’m wet, he’s stiff and it feels amazing. He is going at it fast and hard. His kisses cover my mouth and his hands grab my breasts, pulling at them. His attention is on every part of my body; every piece of flesh and every part of my spirit too.

Although I’m older and heavier, when I’m with him, I feel young. Our sexual chemistry is like a time machine, taking us back to the time where there was no recovery time needed and we could fuck six times a day. We were both beautiful and we are both beautiful now.

I’m just about to climax, when he turns me over and he fucks me doggie style. His hand is placed right where my neck meets my back, steadying himself as he continues to go in and out with that gigantic cock. I feel his sweat dripping on my back.

I start to cum but he gives me no time to recover. He has more to do. I’m flipped back on my back and I whisper “force me.” He understands immediately and pins my hands over my head with one hand, pries my legs apart with his leg, rips at the now dripping panties with his free hand and almost impales me with his huge erection. I nearly lose consciousness, it’s that intense.

We are joined, cunt to cock, hand to hand and heart to heart. In this moment our physical union is enough. As he starts to cum, he shouts my name, admitting his defeat; game, set and snatch.

You are my dirty girl. Yes, always but next time you do the seducing.

FATSLUTBig Girl 4 Big Fun is the author of the blog Tales From a Former Fat Slut .

Nov 242012
 
Photo source unknown

By Lady Cheeky

I think it’s the perceived imperfections in people that make them interesting and therefore … to me … more beautiful. If this photo were generated by a traditional adult industrial complex the blemishes on her legs, the folds and texture of her skin, the bra strap indentations, would all be airbrushed out.  But, leaving her photo like this, shows us the inherent sensuality in the human body.  The authenticity of this un-retouched form illuminates the natural sexuality in a vulnerable moment captured for the sake of capturing it. Certainly, beauty is subjective.  I see beauty in a lot of traditionally “beautiful” images as well … but to me, this is a deeper, more satisfying beauty.

Thank goodness for people who post photos like this.  They are the quiet revolutionaries that fight with generosity instead of  aggression or pomposity.  They are the lanterns of authenticity gently beckoning all of our collective ships to find a safe harbor within our own appreciation.

Photo: Unknown

Nov 202012
 

header-bmsI would like to thank Rori from Between My Sheets for listing this blog as #38 in her Top 100 Sex Blogs of 2012! Of course this couldn’t have happened if YOU didn’t vote for me! Sure, I campaigned (LOL) but YOU listened and supported me so thank you to all that voted and read this blog! xoxox LC

You can follow Rori on …
Twitter: @SweetRori
Facebook: BetweenMySheetsPage

Nov 172012
 
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BY 
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON WWW.THEGOODMENPROJECT.COM 11/17/12

 Lori Ann Lothian wants to know if she’s wrong for wanting to be ‘ravished’.

First time I was ravished, I was 23. It was in a university building stairwell. He grabbed my hair in one fist, pressed me against the cool cement wall and kissed me with such ardor it took my breath away and elicited an instant wet-panty response. I married him two years later.

This passionate engagement became the yardstick by which I measured all future suitors. And I admit shamelessly to wanting a man to take charge sexually and to not ask permission to love me aggressively. I even remember telling one timid man, post-husband, “Don’t worry, I won’t break.”

But I recently discovered that these days both genders resist the idea it’s okay for a man to fiercely love a woman. I learned this through the more than 150 public comments and hundreds of private emails sparked by my article A Call to the Sacred Masculine: Ten Daring Invitations from the Divine Feminine (a piece that soared to over 60,000 views and 16,000 Facebook likes).

Obviously the idea of a feminine call to the masculine struck a collective chord. It elicited overwhelmingly positive feedback from men to invitations like show us your heroic heart, slay your demons, care deeply and dare to dream.

But when it comes to the invitation to just take a woman, without apology? Some women clobbered me with the dictionary definition of ravish, which includes the word rape. Some men asked if I wanted them to revert to brutish macho stereotypes. Both men and women asked me if what I wanted was to go backwards to a time when women were chattel, an asset in the possession of mostly abusive, power-drunk men.

Gosh no. I was simply suggesting that men be, well, manly. Or at least this woman’s definition of it.

The unexpected popularity of Fifty Shades of Gray (which makes Harlequin romance look like high literature) speaks—no shouts—to the wimpification of men in the era of the Sensitive New Age Guy (SNAG). In the self-help, spiritual growth driven western world, women have sent men the not-so-subtle message to buck up and become more emotionally available.

Yet something has gotten lost in the translation of this request for vulnerability. Instead, I’ve seen men have become emotionally tentative and sexually tepid. When a man I’m in relationship with seems to be asking for permission to sex me up, rather than making his move and letting me choose a yes or no, it’s as if I’ve been given all the power and control. And, unless I’m a dom, that is simply not a turn on.

It is arguably this very desire to relinquish control that accounts for the 60 million sold copies of Fifty Shades—simply, the storyline gives women the option to surrender, to opt for the fine print clause of letting go. It’s a story of a 21-year-old college virgin (yeah, right) meeting an emotionally tortured billionaire man who at first wants to make her his 12th submissive but in the end falls in mutual kinky love. And yes, he spanks her, ties her up and even flogs her (without the genital clamps or fisting, items virgin girl wisely takes off the contract.)

That a bondage-domination-lite hit the mainstream best seller charts is perhaps likely because the mainstream woman (housewife and working girl) is tired of being in charge.

We women have become super-manly in our pursuit of independence to the point that trashy, badly written smut like Fifty Shades strikes a nerve and hits the best-seller charts. The invitation of this book is clear—it’s the woman saying, “Show me your troubled male psyche so that I feel connected to you and dominate me so that I can let-the fuck go sexually and otherwise.”

The lure of being not only not-in-control, but out of control, is a potent elixir for some women who have been asked to step up and compete with men. We don’t want to battle for supremacy in politics, corporate power structures or even sports teams. In fact, we women would prefer to collaborate.

But the feminist agenda has got us women all tied up in the mental knot of “never depend on a man” and “anything a man can do we can do, better.”

Which brings me to this big question: where are we as a gender-neutral society, where women are asked to be strong and capable and men are expected to be sensitive and emotionally available?

We are probably missing out on the juicy current that the natural polarity between a man and a women (an unadulterated feminine and masculine energy) generates. This is a current that writers like David Deida make into big selling books like The Superior Man. Books that ask men to look at their own chest thumping, warrior-hunter nature and say, yes! Books that tell men to penetrate their woman’s moods and remind women that it’s okay to admit they want to be ravished. Because according to Deida, a truly feminine core (in a man or woman) wants to be taken.

Deida sidesteps the whole ravish versus rape debate with this distinction. “The fundamental difference between rape and ravishment is simple: love.”  In other words, when a man loves a woman, his forceful passionate engagement is not only welcome, it is desired. When I want to be ravished, I am really saying I want to be loved with fierce abandon by the man I also fiercely love.

I loved a man once, for two years. Yet in the end, I left because he was not willing to man-up (he hated that word) and love me with a ferocious current of the warrior-king. Instead, he wanted to be my equal to the point that he also wanted to be my buddy—not my lover, not the one who would just press me against that wall and bind me with his kisses.

In the admittedly cartoonish film 300, Spartan king Leonides has a queen. Gorgo not only has hot sex with her man, she advises him post-coitus on affairs of state. She is also in many ways, as the film progresses, demonstrably as powerful, clever and brave as the king.

I remember seeing this film years ago and thinking, this is really what I want. I want to be a queen to my king. I want a man who loves me with passionate hands-held-over-my head power and yet, who also recognizes me as his partner, his ally and his equal.

Because I am not the lesser half. Or the better half. I am simply the other half.

And as that half, I am also whole. Within me, I carry the current of masculine and feminine. And it’s clearly my feminine essence that wants to play in the playground of Jane and Tarzan. Of Leonidas and Gorgo. Of heck, yes, even of Anastasia and Christian.

I just want to feel like a woman. Even though I am as powerful as a man.

 

Lori Ann Lothian is the editor of elephant journal‘s Love and Relationships and creator of the popular The Awakened Dreamer blog which hit the stands following an overnight Enlightenment Episode that revolutionized her sex life and destroyed any chance at ever being miserable again. Her newest blog creation, Love Stripped Down explores the “Naked Truth about Sex, Romance and Relationships” and the possibility for enlightened love between the sexes. You can also find her on Twitter and Facebook. Lori Ann lives in Vancouver, Canada, where she has learned to transcend the rain and surrender to mega doses of vitamin D.

This article originally appeared in a shorter version in issue 8 of Origin Magazine.
Read more great articles at The Good Men Project

Nov 162012
 

Kathryn Stamoulis, PhD explores the psychological effects of the word slut.

Nov 152012
 

I’m so proud and honored to be part of a rockstar panel of women discussing body image and sexuality. I will be on a panel along with these fine women, Cathy VartuliKelly Shibari, Heidi Anderson, and  N’Jaila Rhee in our session entitled:

Does This Panel Make Me Look Fat?: Body Image and Sexuality.

DESCRIPTION: Size and body image can have profound and sometimes debilitating effects on a person’s sexual self-esteem and self-expression. Internalized shame and feelings of inadequacy are often super-charged by the constant stream of external judgment, a barrage of media and marketing pressure (individuals are exposed to an estimated 300,000 negative images or comments about weight each year), and socially acceptable prejudice against those who don’t conform.  People of size can be left feeling like a different species, and when they speak up, are often silenced by people citing health issues or the latest diet trend. Plus-size youth are subjected to additional peer pressures that include not only size-shaming but also sex-based shaming.

Releasing the internalized shame and improving our body image can go a long way towards changing this pattern. When people accept themselves as they are, and learn to love themselves and their bodies, they can start making a difference in the world. Shame creates stresses which are hard on the body and on relationships with others, and can reduce mental focus and initiative.

In this panel, we’ll examine the effects of internal and external shame, share statistics and discuss approaches and techniques for reclaiming confidence and self-love, as well as dealing with negative pressure from both society and those closest to us.

Some of the speakers for CatalystCon East include: Francisco Ramirez, MPHTristan Taorminojessica drakeLidia AnainCharlie Glickman PhDSabrina MorganTizz WallDee DennisRachel Kramer BusselCarol QueenCunning MinxDr. Ava CadellDr. Hernando ChavesCooper BeckettDucky DoolittleReid Mihalko and so many more!

Please check out the CatalystCon website for more fantastic panels given by the best in sex-education and the sex industry. CatalystCon West in September was an inspiring and electric weekend and Catalyst Con East promises to be just as dynamic and stimulating! Hope to see you there!

Nov 142012
 
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By Lady Cheeky

Originally Posted on Tuesday, November 13 2012 - www.EvolvedWorld.com

In this fast food culture, women’s sexual release is often relegated to the back of the bus.  Nowhere is this more evident than in the female orgasm and how it’s attained.

As a woman who went on a sexual discovery journey I learned a few things on the way about orgasms in general and orgasms for women specifically. For

instance, an orgasm should be thought of  not as the climax of a specific act, but should include the act itself. Candice Holdorf, columnist for The Orgasmic Lifeand elephant journal has a definition of orgasm that really resonated with me. Candice explains:

“… orgasm is pulsing breath of life that births every moment. Orgasm is the chilly tickle on the edge of my skin as my lover draws his tongue from the edge of my ear to the tip of my nipple. It’s the warm flush in my face and genitals when I reveal a taboo desire.  It is the fire of my hunger and the blazing force that opens me to pleasure.”

This definition of orgasm refers to all-encompassing act where a woman can fully take advance of and surrender to all the pleasures that lead up to her climax. But how can we achieve this heightened state?

Give Yourself Permission

I’m not being patronizing. As women we do it all, we are breadwinners, mothers, students, career women and a lot more. We do so much for others on a daily basis that we sometimes forget that it is just as important (if not more so) to nurture ourselves with as much care. When you are in the position to be receiving an orgasm, whether it’s by yourself or with a partner, take a moment to recognize that this is your time. Give yourself permission to accept the love and the pleasure that comes with such an intimate act. Relax into the moment with deep breaths and stilling your mind. Concentrate on how your partner is touching you (or you are touching yourself.) Allow the glorious feelings that come with this directed touch to reverberate within and use it as an opportunity to connect on a deeper level with yourself and/or your partner i.e. your needs, your pleasure zones, your relaxation.  This is a time to connect intimately with your partner and even with yourself.

orgasm_faces

 

Let Your Senses Guide You

Your senses are your best friend in orgasm, they communicate with you by their degree of intensity. Don’t forget about them and let them happen. Pay attention to what they are telling you. Do you get goose bumps when she flicks her tongue on your belly button? Do you get wet when he kisses your neck? Do you flinch with pleasure when you massage your mons? Your body’s various levels of response to certain stimulation is information about how you like to cum and it’s not all physical either. What your partner whispers in your ear can lead to a visceral response as well. Even the music you play or pure silence punctuated with your own breathing and moans could be something that excites you. Whatever it is, make note of it and communicate it with your partner later (or show him by moans and groans while he’s doing it) or if flying solo, make a mental note for yourself for next time.

Set The Stage

Respect the time you’ve set aside for orgasm and make certain you don’t inadvertently set yourself up to fail.  If you’re anxiously awaiting a call from work in an hour, chances are you won’t be able to fully relax into your body and be present. Make sure you honor this time and set the stage for an intimate and sexy rendezvous with yourself and/or your partner. Do candles get you in the mood? Light ‘em up! Does Enya make you feel sultry? Pop her in the iPod. Maybe you feel sexy naked or like to lounge about in just a bra? Perhaps you like to be in the dark or in a freshly made bed? Whatever it is, don’t be stingy. This is YOUR time and you should make it count.

Try Something New And Different

Something I have been interested in exploring lately is Orgasmic Meditation, or “OMing” for short. OMing is a mindfulness practice where the object of focus is the clitoris. Developed by Nicole Daedone, author ofSlow Sex: The Art and Craft of the Female Orgasm, OMing is an exercise done in its entirety with a partner (although it can be practiced on one’s own) and promotes the slow massaging of the clitoris and surrounding vulva. The apparent result is a blissfully languorous indulgence for the woman where all attention is placed on making her feel good, becoming more intimately connected as a couple as well as extending the “sensory peak” that precedes climax. As someone who likes to practice what she preaches, this is my new “taking charge of my own orgasm” goal. Having explored many different ways to achieve a diverse fare of orgasms, I look forward to trying this practice and reporting back my results. Wish me luck!

All in all, the basic message here is to remain open and self-aware. Men and women both deserve to take advantage of all the pleasure human body is capable of. Besides being enjoyable, orgasm is a natural and free way to achieve stress relief, a built-in mood equalizer and just plain fun! Explore your potential and allow yourself the freedom to come … and come … and come!

 

Nov 122012
 
Candida_mainOriginally published by The New York Times (www.nytimes.com) on 11/11/12

Does Pornography Deserve it’s Bad Rap?:

Watching pornography is not inherently harmful to men or women. But I would offer some caveats. There are people who probably shouldn’t view porn, like those with poor body image or those who have been sexually victimized. Depending on your choice in viewing, you can develop unrealistic expectations about sex or what people like or how you’ll be expected to “perform.” And watching with someone requires true consent.

When none of these red flags are up, pornography can certainly have benefits. Counselors sometimes suggest it to help people become comfortable with a particular fantasy they or their partner may have. Pornography can reboot a couple’s sex life. It can give you ideas, or help you get in touch with what turns you on.

Pornography can reboot a couple’s sex life. It can give you ideas, or help you get in touch with what turns you on.

Porn can deliver you there at best, or disgust you at worst. It all depends on what you choose to watch. With the availability of porn online, it’s possible to sample enough porn quickly that you don’t have to find yourself watching wall-to-wall hard-core sex if it’s plot driven erotica that appeals to you. You’re only a victim of bad porn if you let yourself be.

And a word about sex or porn addiction. I don’t believe in it. Unlike a chemical substance, like opiates, you can’t become “addicted” to sex or porn; you can become a compulsive viewer. In this case, it’s not the porn that’s the problem; it’s the compulsive personality. If it weren’t porn being used to act out one’s compulsive nature, it might be food or some other behavior.

As for whether it’s harmful or beneficial to the performers, let’s take women first. There are some who choose to perform because they like sex a lot and they consider it a great way to earn a living. Then there are those who are drawn to porn as a way of acting out subconscious psychological issues – looking for daddy’s love or punishment for being a bad girl. For many, it’s probably a little of each. Even women with the best mental health will face some downsides from this work. Our culture consumes porn at record numbers, but the women who perform are still judged harshly.

I’m not sure the male performers get out completely unscathed either. While they may not be judged as harshly as the women, ultimately they’re viewed as freaks who make their living with their anatomy. John Holmes’s fate is the ultimate cautionary tale.

Perhaps if we weren’t still so consumed with guilt and shame about sex, neither watching nor performing in these films would carry the weight it does. But then, perhaps we wouldn’t be so interested in them, either. If the fruit were not forbidden, would anyone care to take a bite?

Candida Royalle

Twitter: @CandidaRoyalle   Web: www.candidaroyalle.com  Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/candida.royalle?fref=ts

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