Self Care – Masturbation

Masturbator

Self care is often brought up in the world today. Are we taking care of ourselves? Eating properly? Sleeping? Meditating, being mindful, stressing less.

Would it surprise you to hear that Masturbating is another important aspect of our self care! There are many benefits to masturbating that I intend to outline below.

Masturbating and sex releases a range of neuro chemicals into our brains and our bodies, making us happier.

Dopamine is a chemical that is released to give a “feel good” boost.  Dopamine is also great for blood flow, digestion, executive functioning, heart and kidney function, memory and focus, mood and emotions, motor control, pain processing, pancreatic function and insulin regulation, pleasure and reward seeking behavior, sleep, stress response
Endorphins– endorphins are a chemical released that assists with stress relief and combating pain.
Prolactin is a chemical that allows us to feel satisfaction.
Oxytocin-  this amazing chemical helps balance out cortisol which is a stress hormone.
Serotonin – This wonderful chemical also plays a part in leaving you happy, calm and helps to regulate mood.
 
Essentially, by boosting your orgasms and neurochemicals as an effect of masturbation- you boost your mood. That is some very important self care.

Due to the effect that the neuro-chemicals have on us it is no wonder that masturbating and experiencing an orgasm help to reduce stress and frustration. Even without orgasm, drawing attention to your body during masturbation can be known to push any external stressors in your mind out so that you can simply focus on the sensations of your pleasure.
Masturbation can also help with focus. The chemicals released can help create a calm and focused state of being and has been known to improve productivity in real life.Struggling to sleep? Masturbating is a  form of exercise, utilizing muscles, focus and brain power. After an orgasm the parasympathetic nerves begin to relax and calms the body, assisting in restlessness and sleep and some studies have shown that it can improve sleep quality as well.During masturbation our blood pumps fasting, traveling the body and heating us up. Increase in blood flow has been shown to have many benefits for the body and also for our immunity. This doesn’t mean that Masturbating can kick the common cold in the butt, but ongoing masturbation can help positively promote good immune health. Increased blood flow is good for your heart health and taking steps to keeping your heart healthy. good blood flow has also been shown to have an affect on our skin, the more blood pumping, the better the benefits for our skin health.For CIS men; masturbation assists in many ways. Regular masturbation has been shown to have a positive effect on the prostate and in some cases, decrease the likelihood of prostate cancer. Masturbating and orgasm flushes out the internal tubing, keeping the tubes cleaner and in better working order. Masturbating has also shown to assist in building harder erections over time and also prolonging orgasm. To prolong orgasms, experiment with “edging” a technique where you bring yourself close to orgasm before slowing down, or backing off, before edging again. Over time, this edging effect will build the ability to last longer.For Cis women masturbation can assist with preventing urinary tract infections and cervical infections. Because of the wonderful endorphins that are released as well as the overall effect orgasm have on the pelvic floor, masturbation can assist with both preventing and helping reduce period pain and cramping.For everyone, masturbation is great exercise for your pelvic floor.  This is helpful for all kinds of things, it means that your anatomy will keep shape, be stronger and age better as you grow.The last but certainly not least benefit is knowing your own body. Knowing your own pleasure, your turn ons and what you don’t like. This can be used alone or with a partner but it helps you to be more aware of your own body, and really isn’t that what self care is all about?

(Note: Cis refers to people who at birth are categorized as male or female in relation to their anatomy)

Couples Sex Toys

Having worked in an Adult store for some time now, we get asked numerous “interesting questions” on a daily basis. One of the most frequent questions wold possibly be what is out there for couples?

Well let me tell you the possibilities are endless, with a huge range of toys that include the use or remotes, WiFi, downloading an AP to VR. We-vibe has a full range of toys that make use of a remote and the AP, these toys allow the couple to share in the pleasure from anywhere in the world, from vibrators (the Rave and Nova), to smaller couples toys like the sync and chorus (these toys can actually be used during sex as well). The we-Vibe range also include but plugs for both sexes and a wide range of small vibes for use on the clitoris.
Other brands like NU Sensuelle and Frederic’s of Hollywood also make internal eggs as well as panty vibes that can be controlled remotely. The NU range of toys have a great strong vibrating and as apposed to most other brands out there , most of their toys are completely submersible, and this makes for great couples play in the shower or bath.
Some other options are the more expensive but very much worth it Kiiroo range of couples toys. The most populat would be the couples set that includes a g-spot vibrator for her and a masturbator or stroker for him, these toys can be paired using Bluetooth or by downloading the AP, this way the toys are able to control each other (again from anywhere in the world).
Don’t forget about the Fleshlight stroker, this seemingly singles only toy has a great spot in the bedroom for couples, it is great for use during foreplay or even if you guys were thinking about a threesome (but the other party is not really up for it as yet).
To be honest with you, I cant think of a toy or a range of toys that are not suitable for couples play, from the entry level to the more extreme (like sex machines), there is a place for all toys in the couples bedroom.
All toys mentioned above are available online at www.adultsmart.com.au or in store at all 3 OH Zone sites in Kogarah, Caringbah or Penrith.

Honeymoon Cystitis

urinary tract infection

Cystitis is a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) that can last for a few days, with the most common symptoms including the constant urge to urinate and a burning sensation when peeing. There are numerous causes for Cystitis, including falling estrogen levels during menopause, using a birth control diaphragm, and even from changing tampons (if susceptible to UTIs, perhaps look at changing from tampons to menstrual cups).

However Honeymoon Cystitis is caused by sexual intercourse and almost only ever in women. This is for two reasons, firstly that a woman’s urethra is much shorter than a mans, and secondly because of the close proximity of the vaginal opening and anus to the urethral entrance.

Honeymoon Cystitis is typically caused when the bacteria E. Coli is spread to the urethral opening either from the anus or the vagina, from there it moves up into the bladder where the trouble starts. Despite originating from penetrative sex, Honeymoon Cystisis is not a STI. As such, and while safe sex is always recommended, condoms do not prevent Honeymoon Cystisis, and some studies even indicate a higher chance of getting a UTI with the use of condoms (perhaps try a non-latex condom if you have reactions to your current choice of protection).

Symptoms

Some of the typical symptoms of Honeymoon Cystitis are:

  • A strong and persistent desire to pass urine
  • A sensation of burning while passing urine
  • Passing a small quantity of urine frequently
  • Hematuria (presence of blood in your urine)
  • Foamy urine, sometimes with a strong smell
  • Low-grade fever
  • Feeling discomfort in the pelvis or lower abdominal region

While the spread of the E. Coli bacteria is the cause of this UTI, there are two completely different ideas as to what makes someone more susceptible. Some say it is the first time of penetrative sex after a long spell of abstinence. The other end of the spectrum says that it can happen after intensive or frequent penetrative sex.

Prevention

However both sides of this agree on ways to prevent Honeymoon Cystitis:

  • Urinate immediately after intercourse to ensure you eject any bacteria that could have entered the urethra
  • Drink plenty of water every day
  • Always wipe front to back to avoid bacterial spread
  • Using a good water based lubricant, even if there are no issues with vaginal dryness, will help provide a good glide and prevent micro tears, especially around the vulva and vaginal opening.

Treatment

It is recommended to see your GP should you experience any of those above symptoms, as some of these also overlap with symptoms of a few Sexually Transmitted Infections that only a blood test will be able to reveal. If it is Honeymoon Cystitis, your GP will probably suggest the following:

  • Prescribe a short course of antibiotics
  • Maintain fluids
  • Avoid alcohol
  • Avoid more penetrative sex
  • Cranberries (as in the actual fruit) may help with an active ingredient that prevents bacteria from sticking to the bladder wall. However, cranberry juice or capsules may not be potent enough for this to happen. In fact, despite popular belief, cranberry juice adds hippuric acid to urine, and Vitamin C in the form of ascorbic acid, and actually feeds the bacteria that cause UTIs.

 

On a final note, while you can indeed have penetrative sex while suffering Honeymoon Cystitis, as it isn’t an infection that can be passed on to the other partner, you will feel extra discomfort and even exacerbate the problem even further.

 

How to make masturbation even better

masturbating male

Let’s not even try to pretend that we aren’t all sitting at home and masturbating our quarantine loneliness away. Admittedly, this is a great way to pass the time, especially if you’re single and alone at home right now, but what if you could make self-pleasure even better? Here we have collected a few ways on how to increase your pleasure through various means, from getting virtually realistic with VRporn to improving your techniques with online sex courses.

 

Try some new toys

 

When you masturbate, do you keep doing the same movements over and over because you know they work and you never bother to experiment? That’s a common theme, but you never know what you might like until you actually try it! 

 

Sex toys have been a blessing in the modern world, but there are so many to choose from that it can get a little overwhelming so we just stick to that one vibrator we’ve had for the last 10 years and never try anything new. 

 

If that’s the case, you’ve really been missing out! Maybe you’re the type of person who can only orgasm vaginally but never actually used a dildo, or what if you can feel 10x more if you combine anal play with your clitoral vibrator but you’ve never even thought of trying that? So why not browse for some new toys and have a little fun, it won’t hurt to try (unless you want it to, of course!). 

 

Get realistic with VR porn

 

Porn is a great way to get yourself in the mood for masturbation and now during lockdown, visits to porn websites have increased substantially! Now we’re sure you’ve seen it all before, but have you ever tried virtual reality porn

 

Yes, you do need a gadget in order to watch VR porn, but you can get really cheap ones like the Google Cardboard and trust us, it’s really worth the investment! Have you ever been on a virtual reality roller coaster ride? Even though you know you’re not actually moving, you still feel like you are and it really gives you an adrenaline rush because your brain can’t tell the difference. Same with VR porn, it will feel like you’re actually there and with the help of some sex toys, this is as close to real sex as it gets right now and it’s highly interactive. 

 

Explore your sexuality and improve your skills

 

You certainly don’t need a partner to experience sexual pleasure, so don’t hold back! Explore your own sexuality in any way you like, without fear or judgement. If you don’t know what you like and don’t like, then how is your partner supposed to know? Often we just expect the other person to do all the work, but it’s time to take your sexuality into your own hands (literally!). 

 

Not sure where to start? There are lots of amazing sex classes that can help you, whether online or in-person. Many people live a life disconnected from their sex organs. This disconnect results in numbness, which is one of the main reasons why people don’t feel pleasure and don’t feel satisfied with their sex life. The majority of people simply don’t know how to change their situation, and so they end up giving up on their pleasure altogether. By getting some guidance, you can reconnect with yourself as well as discover some new techniques that you may not have considered before. What you discover may also help you in your future relationships too, and not just in solo-play.

 

Change the mood

 

Why not treat yourself? Set aside 1-2 hours of self-pleasure time one evening and become present with yourself. Turn off your phone and just dedicate this time to self-pleasure. If you’ve never done this before, it can really be a game-changer. Dim the lights, light some candles, put on your favourite music and dive deep into slow and sensual pleasure. 

 

Not in a romantic mood? Then take out your black light, throw on some neon colours and do a sexy striptease for yourself in the mirror! Don’t forget to turn your camera on…

 

Or get some rope and tie yourself up to the bed. Why keep all the good stuff for when you’re having sex with your partner when you can do it all on your own too?

 

Involve other people

 

Masturbation doesn’t mean you have to be alone. If you have a partner, try involving them. You may both get a lot of pleasure either from participating in the action or just observing from a distance. 

 

Are you in a long-distance relationship? Try guiding each other over the phone or via video chat. Give them something to look forward to when you next see them!

101 Menstrual Sex For Men!

Menstruation 101

From puberty until menopause, the menstrual cycle is a fact of life for every woman. However, the monthly visit from Aunt Flo needn’t put a dampener on your sex life. In a nutshell, all aspects of a fantastic sexual encounter can be enjoyed all month long.

 

Education

Men typically don’t really understand menstruation, and while their high school sexual education probably had a lot to do with that, there’s also a huge stigma surrounding the menstrual cycle. However this is slowly changing, as the male dominated world begins to listen to others (we’re looking at you Scotland, ready to offer free tampons and pads to women of all ages, we salute you!)

Talk to your partner about having sex while on your period. Let them know that you don’t think it needs to interrupt your sex life, and that while bleeding once a month may seem completely odd to a man, it is in fact a natural, and essential, part of life. Demystify it for them. In saying that, if either one of you are uneasy with sexual encounters during that time, the usual rules of consent apply, and no pressure should be applied.

 

Preparation

As with any sexual activity, menstrual sex should be clean and hygienic. Take a shower first, both of you, and really, you could even start things off together in the shower. If showering together, maybe give her a minute or so before or after you join to look after her intimates.

Lay a towel down on your bed. It’s far easier to clean than having to change the sheets. Strongly suggest against white towels here.

 

Intimacy

Above any of the below options the easiest, and possibly nicest, is simply to be intimate together. Kisses, cuddling, hand grips of wanton lust, even dry humping through clothes, are all amazing choices to kick things off with, or even be the all and everything. Sex doesn’t necessitate penetration, nor should it be the end all and be all of sexual activity.

 

Handiwork

Hands can touch, tickle and stroke every inch of a body. Gentle strokes along a back, a heavy hand gripping hips, not to forget breasts and their wondrous punctuation, nipples. And of course, the clitoris. Educate yourself by checking out the biology of a woman’s sexual organs, and you’ll find that the clitoris (the external part) is miles from her vaginal opening. Keep your focus here, she’ll probably prefer it anyway.

 

Oral Sex

Cunnilingus is always on the table. Even at ‘that time of the month’. As mentioned above, the clitoris is a perfectly safe distance from any possible flow. You could even relish her labia majora, her outer lips, or should you both feel comfortable enough, even her inner lips, the labia minora.

Listen to her directions, if you can hear through her thighs pressed against your ears. Devour her, savour her, let her know you’re man enough to handle a little potential blood. Worship all that a woman is and let her know how amazing and gorgeous she is to you, with nothing but your tongue.

 

Penetrative Sex

A period most definitely doesn’t mean that penetrative sex is off the table. It just takes a little preparation. Both of you shower beforehand, lay down a towel, and enjoy the extra lubrication nature has provided this week.

If the bleeding really is a concern for either of you, there are heaps of ways around this. The most common one is to keep sex within the constrains of a shower. Shower sex is great as the clean up is far easier, regardless of the time of month, and that rushing water is such an aphrodesiac.

However if having sex in the shower, make sure you use silicone based lube, as it’s far more resistant to washing away. Look to fantastic brands like Super Slyde or Pjur Original.  Somehow, despite all that water, shower sex can really dry a vagina out, so lube is always a great idea.

To avoid being one of the nearly quarter million Americans admitted to emergency every year from falling in the shower, maybe invest in some Sex In The Shower suction cup handles and footrests. Nothing will kill the mood quicker than a concussion. Trust me.

If you much prefer to lay down in your bed for sex, as mentioned above, a non white towel will be your best friend. On top of this, you could look at wearing a sponge. Working women live by them so they can work all month long, and given the texture of a sponge, most people would never suspect that one is being worn.

Condoms should always be used to prevent the spread of STIs, especially since a menstruating woman is more susceptible to STIs, but if the man is wearing one simply to not get blood on his penis, it offers no protection from the blood that absolutely will gather on his scrotum.

It should also be noted that period sex should not be used as contraception. Sperm can live for up to five days inside of the uterus, and should you have light periods or have intercourse towards the end of your cycle, it is still possible to fall pregnant.

 

Solo Play

As mentioned above, the clitoris and labia are all fair game during menstruation. Using an insertable sex toy also follows along previous guides. If looking for self love in the shower, look no further than a completely waterproof and submersible toy like the Fun Factory Stronic G. Although if you’re going to use a good quality silicone lube, look towards a 100% silicone toy by Evolved or Adam & Eve, as their toys are silicone lube friendly.

In the bedroom, you can always roll a condom over your favourite insertable toy to ease cleaning. Although using an antibacterial toy cleaner will do the trick just as well, something you should be using before and after every toy use regardless of the timing.

 

Menstruation need not be the killer of a sex life. Be safe, be hygenic, and with a little preparation, you can enjoy a healthy sex life all month long.

5 Facts About Pole Dancing in 2020!

Pole Dancer

With recent promotional through the Superbowl Halftime show, pole dancing has been thrust into regular homes on a greater scale than ever before. The pole dancing world itself has moved through some significant changes over the last 30+ years, with the last 10 ensuring heavy expansion and recognition across various mediums. Once only the professional club dancer would be found throwing themselves around a static, 50mm steel pole, but such days are almost a distant memory as anyone over the age of 16 can find themselves being taught how to make pretty shapes on a metal pole, and without having to hike to the city’s club district.

Poles generally range from 38 to 50mm in diameter, come in a variety of materials (chrome, stainless steel, brass, silicone and powder coating), and are generally adjustable from static to spin. Yep, that’s right! Sorry to bust your bubble, but club poles these days are self-spinning. New pole technology means some poles can change with a quick flick of a switch from static to spin – perfect for changing styles mid-performance, and there are LED poles (like seen in the JLo performance).

 

Now, unfortunately, in the pole community there still lies a great divide between recreational/hobbyists and professional club dancers, with some feeling it necessary to adamantly distinguish themselves from the other. This has almost always been the case with anything vaguely related to the adult industry, but it is certainly an underlying issue in some polers’ minds. Sadly, it has caused an unnecessary rift and furthered isolation for professional dancers. Having said that though, there are still plenty out there however that have long since blurred the line; taking their professional stripping career to the recreational market and successfully setting up their own studio, competition career, and/or clothing company for it. While it seems important to a few to define their poling as pole fitness, you will find the pole community is a vast and varied pool of people, with all genders, ages, abilities and backgrounds blended together eager to nail the next move, and further develop their strength and flexibility.

 

  • AGE IS NOT A FACTOR – There’s no age restrictions on recreational pole, although most studios will only allow people over the age of 16 to enter adult classes, and clubs are bound by the law with 18+ being the absolute earliest you can start training/working.
    I, personally, have taught a wide variety of ages in pole – literally from 16 up, and I have known dancers of all ages and backgrounds, although most have moved into teaching, professional competing (yes, there are international comps), or have retired in their 30’s only to return later in life. Pole can be a little addictive in its skill, strength, and confidence building. When you find a studio or club that you like, the other dancers are like a second family and the relationships developed there can withstand a large passage of time.
  • STRENGTH IS EARNED – Most don’t start recreational, or even club poling, strong. Yes, in the club scene there is a general aesthetic standard that needs to be met, in recreational pole there is absolutely no pre-requisite to begin (only to move up levels). So if you are feeling like you possess noodle-arms and certainly do not have the capabilities to pole dance, don’t stop before you start! All polers started somewhere and MOST will have started where you are at now. (When I first started poling, I had thigh strength for days, but my arms were glorified sticks). Strength is gained progressively over time, the more classes you attend as a student, or more shifts you work as a professional, the more strength you will develop allowing for easier progression into more advanced moves, or greater stamina, or even easier transitions between moves when lacing together a beautiful combo.
    Professional poles have very high weight/force ratings. The thinner ones will flex more, as will grid mounted poles, but ultimately professional poles are designed to withstand multiple users, over extended time periods doing insane flips, spins and tricks.
  • SKIN – We have all seen pole dancers prance around in their almost-nothings (or in the case of some clubs, just nothings) and most have assumed this to be only stripper related. I mean, more skin more money right?! To physically grip the pole you have to use skin-to-pole contact. The friction generated stops you from sliding off, and assists the muscles clamping on to the pole to grip appropriately. In a studio environment, most start off with minimal skin showing – nerves and all that, but as you progress through levels, the move the coverings will lessen and soon wearing a bikini when performing will not even draw a second blink. If you are just starting out, turning up in bike shorts and singlet top is perfectly fine, but keep in mind your instructor might have their ass out (this is the case in my classes).I should take this moment to mention grip aides. If you are new to pole you likely have minimal grip strength in your hands. When starting out, it is commonplace to utilise grip aids (such as liquid chalk, etc.) to aide in preventing sweat interfering with skin contact, or until your hand/finger strength is strong enough to overcome any slip. In a club scene, this is not even an option, so please keep that in mind (Botox can be an option for excessive sweating and there are exercises out there for the development of hand/finger strength). There are plenty of brands and types of grip aides, it is super important to know that they are not all the same and some may not be allowed at certain studios for how they might damage the pole surface.
  • IT’S NOT A COMPETITION – Unless you are dancing in a club for client attention, or competing in one of the thousands of competitions happening worldwide, pole dancing isn’t designed as a competitive sport. It is human nature to get competitive to some degree, but you can get more from recreational pole dancing if you check the ego at the door, and get real comfortable with your body and your progress.
  • THE POSSIBILITIES ARE ENDLESS – Pole dancing is no longer restrictive to only exotic styles. That definitely does not mean you can’t learn exotic styles or routines in a studio environment, studios often host courses/workshops for chair dances, stripteases and varied exotic styles (including Burlesque – a pet favourite). Professional ballerinas have made the move to pole dancing, adding highly posed elegant elements, extreme flexibility/strength and offering other options for pole dancing styles. There are Russian gymnasts (both male and female) that train in pole, and have created their own takes on a vast variety of styles. There’s famous burlesque performers and Pinup models that incorporate pole into shows, and many aerial artists that have made the move from trapeze, circus performances and the like to expand their skill set, into pole dancing. You can pole dance for fitness or for fun… to learn something you never thought you could do, or to spice up your sex life. It might be the beginning of a long and prosperous career or something you just do to relax, or be social.

Autumn is a consultant at the Oh Zone Stores.