WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT KEGEL EXERCISES

kegel benefits

WHAT ARE KEGEL EXERCISES USEFUL FOR?  

Kegel exercises aim to strengthen the pelvic floor, which provides support for the uterus, small intestine, bladder, and rectum. The pelvic floor is made up of a layer of muscles and tissues, starting from the pubic bone and extending to the tailbone (coccyx). Kegel exercises are effective for both males and females.

STARTING KEGEL EXERCISES

Kegel exercises can be done pretty much anywhere and everywhere without anyone knowing which makes it doable for everyone. To begin with kegel exercises you must first learn how to isolate the pelvic floor muscles. These are the same muscles you isolate when you are trying not to urinate. practice flexing those muscles and once you have become confident with using the correct muscles you can practice isolations. Tighten the area for 5 seconds and release for 5 seconds. repeat at least 5 times.
Once you are confident with your exercises, start by doing 2-3 sets of 5 tightenings and releases. Once you have mastered it without any difficulty start bumping up the exercises to however many you are confident with.

KEGEL BALL PREP

Before you insert your kegel balls you want to make sure they’re nice and clean to prevent any bacteria from entering. Wash your kegels with a toy cleaner or warm water and an antibacterial wash. Make sure you grab a lube before inserting, a water-soluble will work better in this situation.

INSERTING KEGEL BALLS 

Either lay down or stand in a comfortable position, many women find laying down much easier but the option is yours. Slowly insert the first ball into the vagina. it is recommended that beginners use kegel balls attached to each other with a string of some sort. Continue to insert the second ball into the vagina making sure to leave the last bit of string outside the vagina for removal of the balls once you’re finished with your exercises. Now that your kegel balls are in place and comfortable you can tighten your pelvic floor muscles and go about your regular activities. Kegel balls can usually remain in place for 6 hours.

HOW TO REMOVE KEGEL BALLS

The easiest way to remove kegel balls is basically the same procedure as insertion but in reverse. Get back into your most comfortable position ( either standing or laying) apply some more lube to the vaginal opening and start to pull the balls out slowly using the string attached. Make sure to wash and dry your kegel balls before and after every use.
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There Is Nothing Wrong With Me!

I think it’s time for people to start feeling confident enough to start opening up more about there sexual needs, fantasies and experiences. The more people that talk about it the more relaxed and comfortable everyone out there will start to feel. This story is about my history with not knowing what or how to go about getting help in the sex department.

I’m a women that has struggled over the years to try to pleasure myself successfully. With many fails and having no clue were to even begin, it started to put me off even trying to figure it out. Started to feel like a jig saw puzzle with so many pieces missing. I always felt something was wrong with me, my body must not be working right, maybe I was born weird and not normal or even started to feel a little scared or embarrassed about doing it in general like I was judging myself for wanting that pleasure.

I tired to open up to my friends group when we used to discuss things about there sex lives. They all seemed to know exactly how to satisfy themselves and it used to make me worry even more that something was definitely wrong with me. That I was programmed totally different. Don’t get me wrong I always had the feeling a lot of my friends weren’t being honest about there experiences and trying to hide the fact they couldn’t satisfy themselves either, probably with feeling the way I always did and not having the courage to be truthful about it.

My parents have always brought me up to be open and honest about everything but when it comes to sex you always try to give them some respect on this subject and not get into too much detail as you feel it’s not something they feel comfortable talking about with there child. Not feeling I could talk to many people about this subject and then be truthfully honest I started to google up information and do a bit of research.

Online only explains to you in a reboot basic way which never helped me personally and it’s not like you get much feed back on if your doing it correct. By pure luck I discovered the oh zone shops and went in for a stroll. Looking at reviews the shop and staff were highly recommended and I thought to myself what’s the harm in trying it out. Like a bit of a nerve reck I took a wee visit down to shop. I explained my situation to a staff member and straight away they were taking me to what section they could recommend for me.

The staff advice was so helpful and they made me feel so relaxed and at ease from start to finish which was great to calm the nerves. Never once did I feel judged or ashamed of what I was asking about or struggling to do for that matter. They steered me down the right path of different toys that would suit my needs and also what was going to be in my price range. It’s very intimidating and confusing when you first walk in as the selection they have there is so large – and being a novice I did not even know where to start. In saying that it’s amazing to have so much choice and variety. The shop definitely provides for every need and if something is not in stock in the store they are so helpful in trying to order items in for you.

The best lessons I was taught was that every person is different and most do struggle to find there right spots straight away but it’s all about practicing and getting to know your own body, experiment around and listen to what my body is saying it likes. Well that first night I went home with my goodies and put all there intel to the test. After about 10 minutes off fiddling around and trying to relax I finally started to feel something different (a feeling I had never experienced before). Let’s just say “OH MY GOD” is the best words to describe it.

Finally that amazing, intense feeling that everyone goes on about, I had just got to feel it for the first time. The only way I can explain it is just pure bliss, satisfaction and release. It’s like my body had just exploded with excited, stitches and butterflies. I had finally felt my first orgasm and it was bloody worth the wait. It was exactly how I was told it would feel when I eventually got the right spot. Safe to say I practiced more and more that night. It felt like such an accomplishment, I didn’t know I could have ever felt so empowered in my own body and had managed to make myself feel like that all on my own. You don’t realize how much pressure you put on yourself because you feel like you have been failing so bad before. Sometimes you just need a little help to guide you down the right path and I thank the staff at oh zone for doing that with me.

I have now become a regular customer and still each time  I visit there so happy and pleasant to help me on what to try next. Never once do they push me into something that doesn’t feel right for me. Some wise words I was told by one of the staff members and these words fit perfectly right now.

“It’s not what you know, it’s who you know”

and that shop consultants definitely know there stuff and I have got to know most of them!

After shopping in this store now for a couple of years I have been given an amazing opportunity to working in one of their stores. It’s now my time to advise and teach other people that are in the situation I used to be in. My advice is stick with the lovely oh zone team who are always going to steer you in the right direction. They will always make sure your going home with a smile and a very enjoyable night!

Pop in and see me at the adult lifestyle centers if you have had a similar problem to mine.  Trust me – there is nothing wrong with you!

 

Abbey!

Sponges Can Be A Girl’s Best Friend!

You are out on a first date, things are going well when suddenly a sharp pain can be felt in your lower abdomen. Thinking to yourself, did I eat too much dairy? You make a quick visit to the restroom and discover that it wasn’t the chocolate mousse which is causing you pain, but your monthly cycle arriving two days early!

 

Panic sets in whilst rummaging through your clutch as all that can be found is a pad. There goes any hope for returning home with your date to have passionate sex. If only there was a product that would allow me to have as much sex as I wanted any day of the month!

 

Well the wait is over as Joy Division have made a product which does exactly that!  The Original Soft Tampon is a pink heart-shaped sponge, which when inserted will allow the wearer to enjoy swimming, intense exercise and intercourse, even on their heaviest flow days.

 

The sponge is a hygienic and safe alternative to pads and tampons. As they are chemical free, there is no need to worry about nasty side effects like toxic shock syndrome which can occur from wearing regular tampons.

 

The application and removal are made simple with an easy grip finger loop and the inclusion of an aqua glide lube sachet with every sponge. Many sex workers who continue to work during their monthly cycle use traditional sea sponges. These can be uncomfortable because of the large size of sea sponges and they are extremely difficult to remove without the finger loop. (Nothing is worse than getting a sponge stuck and having to ask another worker for help removing it!)

 

Another advantage is that there is no string, therefore it is completely invisible to the prying eye. It is also undetectable during lovemaking, with the Soft-Tampon adapting perfectly to the female anatomy.

 

Joy Division makes all of their Original Soft-Tampons in Germany, where they have been dermatologically and clinically tested to ensure they are of the highest quality.  The environmentally safe sponge is a must have for anyone who doesn’t want to deal with the hassle of bulky pads and chemical filled tampons, with the added joy of being able to have intercourse any time and all the time! Joy Division has really thought of it all!

 

Some women may be unsure if they will be able to fit the entire sponge inside as they come in their fully expanded size, unlike a tampon which expands when exposed to moisture. For those looking for something more petite, the Original Soft Tampon is also available in a Mini size! Great for keeping in your purse or toiletries bag.

 

For those of you who are reading this and didn’t know that a sponge could be a better alternative to mainstream sanitary products, I hope I have opened your eyes to the wonders of the sponge. And for some of you that have tried a traditional sea sponge before, I ask you to come and experience the Joy Division Original Soft-Sponge as everyone deserves that little taste of luxury, even if it’s only for one week of the month!

 

The Joy Division Original Soft-Sponge is available for purchase at your local Oh Zone Adult Lifestyle Centre.

The Ugly Duckling Syndrome!!

What is ugly duckling syndrome?

I think this is best described in Shallow Hal the film. I’ve pulled this quote from the film, to sum up, what this condition entails.

“Ugly Duckling Syndrome, she probably didn’t get pretty until high school, thus the personality had to develop out of necessity… sometimes they’re ugly so long, when they finally turn pretty, they don’t even realize it! The ugly self-image is so well engraved, that’s a real find!” – Maurico, Shallow Hal, 2001.

For the life of me, I can’t take a compliment. Why? Because I have ugly duckling syndrome and it affects my ability to find love. My mother has always told me how beautiful I am but of course, I think she is biased. Retrospectively speaking, even now writing this article, I can’t think of one of my male friends who hasn’t complimented me on my physical appearance. Some have hit on me and some of them I slept with in my youth clearly seeking the validation of being desirable. I have had strangers approach me at bars and tell me I am attractive, some of them are married men. I get random social media adds from men across the seven seas asking for nudes. Yet, I still struggle to accept compliments about my looks.

I once laid in bed with a woman, I told her that she was beautiful; she cuddled into me and said, “No, you’re beautiful but you know you’re beautiful.” This baffled me that this beautiful woman wanted to share her bed with me and thought my beauty outweighed hers. I couldn’t believe it. I left my shirt on during sex and even after when she cuddled into me, she placed her hands on my stomach, back or thighs, I’d push her away – literally. I was in complete awe of this beautiful creature who thought I was attractive enough to spend the night and I was so worried about her thinking about my body fat that I ended up making her the little spoon, so her hands wouldn’t be on my body. A study conducted in 2016 found that appearance anxiety (ANN) found that women experience this kind of thought process at a much higher rate than men. For women, AAN correlated negatively with global self-esteem and positively with shyness, social avoidance and distress, and public self-consciousness. Furthermore, the study found that individuals who had ANN had a long history of making ill remarks regarding their appearance often linking back to feeling like an ugly child. (Dion, K. L., Dion, K. K., & Keelan, J. P. (1990).

 

I recently did some modelling for my friend who is an aspiring photographer and he often tells me that I am beautiful. I will deflect this compliment every single time and tell him it’s the Photoshop, lighting or professional hair and make-up. I can hear myself deflecting the compliment, a defensive mechanism that so ingrained in me it’s become my default behaviour.  This isn’t just limited to my looks if I did well in my class – I know I could have achieved a higher mark. If I cooked an amazing dish I could have added something else to it to make it a better dish. This hypercritical behaviour is what I do to keep myself down, a negative cycle of low self-esteem. While I can appreciate when I look in the mirror that the reflection looking back at me isn’t ugly, I would never say she is beautiful and that is really sad for me to admit.

This self-hatred stems from being the fat child, the ugly child, the weird child. These things manifested into my teens and early adulthood, being the fat, weird and ugly one meant I had to learn to be funny to make friends. I had to learn to be kind to maintain relationships with these people. Learning not to depend on my looks or body meant I had to rely on my wit, humour and human compassion. As an adult woman, I can say that I am such a good friend, I’d drop anything I was doing for someone who needed my help. I selflessly put others before myself, sometimes to my own detriment. I am the most empathetic person I know, I know I am caring and compassionate. Sometimes I wish I had a clone of me so I could be friends with me. I know that clone would never let me talk about myself the way I do. It’s funny that I never let my friends talk about themselves negatively but I say the most horrific things about myself.

On a positive note, having ugly duckling syndrome has made me an avid reader, which landed me into university where I acquired my bachelor’s degree. Having ugly duckling syndrome has made me a great conversationalist, able to hold witty and funny conversations with just about anyone, a skill I treasure. Having ugly duckling syndrome has made compassionate beyond belief, kind almost to a fault. Having ugly duckling syndrome has made me humble, and while it is frustrating for you to give me a compliment and me to dismiss it. You have to remember I’ve had a lifetime of people say things to hurt me and I am not sure if you’re going to hurt me too. I’ve had people abuse my kindness and try to dampen the light inside. I push you away and reject your compliments because I think the world is a dark place, I think you don’t mean it, I think you’re making fun of me. I reject your compliments because, after more than half a lifetime of being the ugly person, I am just perplexed as to how you think I am beautiful.

Beauty

You might see a swan when you look at someone but for that someone with ugly duckling syndrome, they look in that mirror and still see that ugly duckling. They see that fat, ugly weird person and they don’t know why you think they are beautiful. So, be kind with your ugly ducklings, they are trying to see the swan that you see.

The Labiaplasty Epidemic

With so much comparison & judgement of female bodies, it is no wonder that the root of our femininity could not be saved. Women’s vulvas & vaginas have become another part of the body to scrutinize, to the point where young women are undergoing irreversible procedures to change the way they look.

 

For the last couple of years, I have heard mentioned the growing trend in young women of labiaplasty, a cosmetic procedure in which the labia minora (inner lips of the vulva) are surgically reduced. Beyond my initial reaction of sadness & rage, I had an immense curiosity to understand why young women would do such a thing to their bodies. After some research online, I am left with a heavy heart at the reality of women striving for a false idea of “perfection.”

 

My research led me to find the documentary “A Perfect Vagina,” an exploration on the growing trend of labiaplasty in Britain. Women from all walks of life are interviewed on how they feel about their genitals & the lengths they are willing to go to in order to change them. We see a young 21yo women having her labia cut as if it was a piece of meat, men saying they wouldn’t want to be with a woman if she had “an ugly fanny” and women who have lived a lifetime with chronic shame around what their genitals look like.  

 

One of the main sources of women’s shame around their labia’s is the media. Pornography gives a one-sided view of what a woman’s vulva looks like; pink, minimal and short labia minora, completely hairless & symmetrical. Even medical text books mislead women into thinking this is what every vulva looks like. Nowhere do women see images of anything other than a “neat & tidy” vulva meaning if they possess anything other than this, they take on the belief that they are abnormal.

 

Australian censorship laws around female genitalia also support the scrutiny women have on their bodies, with images showing more than single folded labia minora to under 18 year olds illegal. This means that young women grow up only ever been exposed to a certain kind of vulva even if they read anatomy or sex education text books-they are almost wired to believe that vulvas of different shapes, colours and sizes are wrong.

 

Through my research, I found myself on a website of a clinic that offers labiaplasty surgery & came to witness a heap of images of women who had undergone the procedure. Seeing the before & after photos reminded me of a bunch of beautifully unique flowers having their petals ripped off. Each vulva before the procedure had such an incredible uniqueness that was destroyed and made to look the same as the next. It was devastating!

 

I understand that labiaplasty is indicated and sometimes necessary in cases of labia hypertrophy (Enlarged labia). This is because the size of the labia is leading to chronic urinary tract infections & painful intercourse. A study however showed that 30% of procedures were completed for aesthetical purposes alone which is devastating if you consider the post-operative recovery and inability to reverse the procedure. As well as the after effects, young women as young as 16yo making a decision to change their genitalia for aesthetical purposes is not ok considering the changes that occur in one’s psyche as they age. I look at how much I loathed my body at that age and now I love it 10 years later! In my opinion, labiaplasty should be left for these extreme cases where health is affected not purely for aesthetic purposes. 

 

Vaginal surgery

What I found to be the most tragic thing about the labiaplasty trend is the fact that personally I have an “outie” vulva like the one’s many women were changing and would not change it for the world. I love how it looks and feels, so the thought of traumatising it to fit into the category of “perfect” is awful. Through explorations into embodiment, self-love & my sexuality over the last 5 years, I have complete acceptance for my bodies uniqueness. I understand my vulva doesn’t fit into the photo shopped “norm” of vulvas but love it because of its differences (and so does my partner!!).

 

If someone like me can come to love & appreciate her vulva, then there is hope for every woman. I believe there is absolutely no need for women to resort to a medical procedure to change their bodies when there are so many other ways of finding acceptance for their vulvas just as they are.