Condoms for all – Care and storage

condom storage

It is a big and equal responsibility for each of us to do our bit for safe sex these days. Condoms are an easy and relatively safe option for safe sexual practices in this day and age and have been for quite some time.

If using a condom to absolute perfection, a condom can be 98% accurate in protecting against pregnancy and STIs. That’s if you use them to absolute perfection. Catering for human error lets say the margin is more likely 85%. To achieve absolute perfection you need to do the following;

  • Put the condom on the right way (and if you put it on the wrong way – throw it out and start again)

  • Put the condom on before any foreplay

  • If using extra lubricant don’t use any oil based lubricants as it may cause the condoms to break.

  • Pinch the tip before rolling down the shaft

  • Roll all the way to the base

  • Wait until you have removed the shaft from the body to roll the condom carefully off the penis, keeping the semen inside.

  • If possible, tie the condom before throwing it away.

 

As stated above, everyone can carry condoms, in fact it is highly recommended. The best prevention is preparation and you should never expect a date to be packing; bring your own. This is also good advice in case you have any sensitivities or preferences in condoms.

 

But where to keep them?

 

Most of us immediately think of the movies, or the books or even our own experiences of having a trusty condom stashed in a pocket of our wallet for emergencies or on the go – This is in fact a grave error.

 

Condoms should be kept out in cool dry areas and there is nothing cool about the pockets where wallets are kept. Pockets of clothes, right next to the body conduct a lot of heat, add a mobile to the mix and we are cooking. This heat damages the structural integrity of a condom which in itself will leave it vulnerable to breaking.

 

What else is dangerous about wallets and pockets? Keys, sharp things, pens anything and everything that could poke, prod and dent into your wallet and therefore your condom. Seems like a pretty big risk to put on accidentally leaving a potential hole in a condom that you might be using.

 

Also when was the last time you checked the condom in your wallet? One of the biggest oversights with condoms is that they expire. They do last a long time, but you still need to check the use by date. That use by date is also greatly affected by where they are kept, are they kept in the sun? Somewhere hot? Dry? Always check your dates periodically to ensure that you are getting the best use out of your condoms and staying the safest you can be. If you’ve moved house several times and they aren’t stored correctly you might want to rethink that emergency few that you own

 

So where can you keep them?

 

Glasses Case:

A great alternative to your wallet, throw them in your car, your bag, whether it be your reading, your sunglasses any old case will do.

 

A cigarette case:

Go into a smokemart and buy a steel case for cigarettes. This will perfectly hold a couple of condoms, perfect for those emergencies, they’re sleek and slim, so they will fit into your pants or your clutch while keeping those little shields cool enough and making sure that they don’t get poked or damaged en route to wherever the night leads you.

 

A deck of cards:

A particular favourite of mine. Super elusive, ever seen a friend with a deck of cards in their bag that says they play solitaire by themselves or they’re missing a few cards or say they can’t really play group games in their work bag or uni bag? Chances are they may have removed some of the deck so that they can fit a few condoms in their well concealed deck of many things. Under stated and very clever.

 

Container:

Not necessarily the classiest but sometimes the most practical. Tupperware and small plastic containers can be beautiful and fancy little ways to store the odd condom in bags, handbags or cars on the go.

 

At home, keep them boxed in your underwear drawer, in the bathroom, in the bedside drawer but ensure that you check the dates often and don’t use them past the expiration date. And whatever you do, don’t try putting them in the fridge or the freezer for a cooling effect, we have Lubes for that. By putting them in the freezer, you will dry out the condom which again opens you up to the risk of it breaking it.

 

My pick is definitely the Skyn condom range: the non latex range means that anyone can use them without irritation, and without worrying that someone will say I can’t use a condom because I have a latex allergy- Done solved here I have a non latex one I prepared earlier!

 

Another huge pointer is check in with the nominal width of the condom when buying. Brands and varieties differ. The nominal width can make a difference in desensitizing and the feel, finding the right nominal width will have a big impact on how comfortable the experience is for the wearer. But remember-not too loose, you need it to stay on after all.

 

At your Service

Tiffany

Oh Zone Sales Assistant, Sexual health Advocate and Carrier of Condoms.

Deconstructing Sex Drive

sexual desire

What Your Libido Says About Your Health

Most of what we know about sex and sexual health we’ve learned from magazines and the internet. While some platforms are genuine and informative, others often try to push other agendas or sell a product. As such, it might lead to misinformation or misinterpretation.

Sexual compatibility is dependent on the sex drive of both partners

What Does Sex Drive Mean?

One of the most popular sex topics includes sex drive. Most people tend to live off from speculations and shallow online content. The best online dating sites often write blogs to address such issues, so please look them up. Here, we shall look into issues such as libido and age, its effect on our relationships, and when it should be a concern.

There are many factors that influence your libido, including mentally and physically

So, what does sex drive mean? Commonly referred to as libido, sex drive is a person’s desire or enthusiasm for sex or sexual activities. Those who often have sexual activities or urges are referred to as hypersexual. In contrast, those who lack sexual desire are hypo-sexual. More often than not, your sex drive is an indicator of your physical and mental functioning.

But is there an indicator for what sex drive is normal? How much is a lot, and how much is too little? Well, according to experts, the normal range is largely dependent on our partners. For instance, an individual might be hypoactive because they’re no longer attracted to their partners. According to some experts, the libido levels would only be an issue of concern if they affect your partner or yourself. For example, one couple might settle for once a month while another is okay with a weekly arrangement.

What Affects Your Sexual Desire?

First off, it’s crucial to note that libido is not fixated, and it is bound to change in certain circumstances. Most of the time, it’s easier to identify what causes a low sex drive or what affects your ‘normal’ libido. Some of the most common culprits include;

  •         The quality of your relationship/intimacy
  •         Fatigue levels
  •         Medication
  •         Abuse of drugs and alcohol
  •         State of mental health- stress, anxiety, depression
  •         Sexual abuse history
  •         Age
  •         Menopause/ pregnancy
  •         Poor sleeping habits
  •         Medical conditions such as diabetes and hypothyroidism

Is Sex Drive Good for Your Relationship?

Culture is a great influence on the dynamics of sex. It often dictates how early individuals experience sexual activities, openness on the topic, and the number of partners considered normal. 

The range for normal sex drive depends on how comfortable partners are with each other

Understanding how your culture affects your sex drive allows you to find partners more sexually compatible. As such, we can describe a ‘normal’ sex drive as something you’re both comfortable with.

The Impact of Time on Sex Drive

Just like most of our body functions tend to change with age, so will our sex drive. In women, physical changes associated with the aging process or menopause increase their self-consciousness, especially sex. Some women might experience decreasing libido if their bodies produce lower levels of sex hormones.

A drastic drop in libido is an indicator of pressing mental or physical unwellness more often than not. For instance, midlife crisis, big life changes, or emotional trauma tends to affect the sexual function of an individual.

It’s crucial to understand how sex drive changes through the years and how you can remedy the situation. Communication between partners is a great way of dealing with decreasing sex drive. There is often no need to seek professional help.

Conclusion

A decline in sexual interest can result from a web of factors, including biological, personal, psychological, interpersonal, and cultural. If you think it’s a reason for concern, please reach out to a professional. A clinical evaluation helps your doctor point out any underlying issues that might be eating away at your libido. Common treatment procedures include counseling, hormone therapy, and medication.

Do you have any queries or comments about sexual health and desire? Drop us a comment below. We would love to hear from you!

Author’s bio:  

Miranda Davis is a freelance writer in the relation and psychology area. Miranda is interested in such topics as building healthy relationships between people, love/sex compatibility, and how to find the right balance in life in general. She is currently doing specific research on the topic. Miranda loves cooking and long-distance walking.

How Stress impacts our sex life.

more sex less stress

It comes as no surprise that Australians and our world in general are experiencing an increase in stress which as a symptom can lead to many health and wellness issues.

 

Prior to COVID-19 a survey performed by the Australian Psychological Service recorded that approximately 85% of Australians reported to be affected or had felt the effects of Stress.

 

With so much uncertainty in our current world it only makes sense that our stress levels are growing even further. Stress can impact our health in many ways, physically, mentally, it can affect our concentration, our focus, our ability to produce certain neurochemicals and the list goes on.

 

But did you know that it can affect the libido and sex?

 

During COVID-19 it has been recorded through online surveys that several groups of people have noticed in either themselves or their partners that a) they have a decreased libido  or enjoyment of sex or b) have noted an increase.

 

Neurochemicals

Stress releases a hormone known as Cortisol and Epinephrine. Cortisol and epinephrine are best known for their fight and flight response, pumping adrenalin through the body and using up the neurochemicals usually for sex, to fuel this stress response. This will lead to being in a state of “on edge” and not in the good way.

 

Mind Racing

With many things happening in our minds, it can often be hard to remain present and in the moment during sex. Being present during sex assists in reaching orgasm but also with connecting with your partner. While sex has been known to relieve stress and frustration, it may not be the most intimate of experiences for all partners involved. If using sex as a way to diffuse and release frustration or pent up tension, your partner may begin to feel used, or a lack of connection.

 

Stress in men, or the stress-sex connection is common in a something you may have heard as erectile dysfunction. When a man is aroused, nerve impulses send signals that cause the blood vessels to dilate and allow a healthy and steady stream of blood to pump into the penis, causing the organ to become erect and maintain erect throughout interourse. However when the body is stressed, those nerve impulses are disrupted and the signals aren’t communicated as well causing the blood vessels to only partially dilate or sometimes not dilate at all which results in a lack of blood supply. A lack of blood supply sadly will mean either a shorter lasting erection, an erection that cannot be sustained, or a lack of an erection. This can then put pressure on the person known as performance anxiety “last time I was unable to _____” “what if this time is the same” and it becomes a vicious cycle which leads to more stress.

 

Similarly women also suffer the stress sex connection. Without the necessary arousal it will come as no surprise that most women are unable to reach orgasm when in a space of extreme stress. Without the necessary arousal, certain neurotransmitters and signals will not be activated and without those the “pleasure” centres will not be stimulated and there can be no sense of release. Without proper arousal, a cis woman’s vaginal canal will not properly elongate will could also mean that sex could be quite uncomfortable which I’m sure you could only imagine would provide yet another stress source rather than a stress release.

 

SO WHAT CAN YOU DO?

During these high stress times there a few things that you can do if you are in a sex oriented relationship and you have found that your libido is suffering due to stress. (note: I am not strictly referring to whether or not you are married or in a romantic relationship, you may be open, be friends with benefits, release friends- any relationship where your libido is affecting communication or mindset)

 

Talk about it: it seems simple enough, but also super scary but talking about your stress and saying that it’s really affecting you sexually can go a long way to taking some of the pressure off you and getting your partner on the same page. When they are aware that you are feeling stressed and what are some of the triggers that are causing you stress you can work towards maintaining better boundaries and being respectful around those for eg if one of your stressors is work and you explain this to your partner, then in a week when you have a big meeting, your partner may instinctively know that you will be stressed and give you some more space. Understanding and compassion and very important when it comes to dealing with stress and sex and will make a big difference .

 

Focus on other intimacies: This will mean different things for different people. Some partnerships may enjoy touch, so kiss for 20 seconds longer, hug for just that little bit extra. Acts of service may include doing the dishes, or getting them a cup of tea of coffee when they look more stressed than normal. Focusing your compassion in other ways will bring your bond closer in other ways that may ignite that spark in ways that might not start off sexual but don’t necessarily mean they won’t lead there.

 

Self love: a broad broad umbrella term for looking after yourself, make sure that you are getting some form of exercise, eating well, drinking more water and less alcohol, getting enough sunshine and taking time out for yourself. These are all extremely important in regulating stress and bringing yourself back to the present to be able to function well sexually.

 

Try masturbating: it can seem all too easy when we are stressed or depressed to get into habits of not doing things such as not cooking dinner or stopping by that fast food place on the way home. Sometimes it is important to remember that not having sex, or not masturbating can also become a habit. I am not suggesting scheduling in sexy time, just keep it on the radar. You don’t even need to masturbate until you reach orgasm, view it as a self exploration exercise, touch, explore, caress and stimulate to keep in mind that yes, my body is beautiful and hell yes, this feels good to be touched, even if just for a moment.

 

At your Service

Tiffany

Oh Zone Adult Stores Sales assistant, educator and fellow stress head.

How To Have Satisfying Sex

satisfied sex

For many people out there, there’s probably no activity more satisfying than to have sexual intercourse with their significant others or even someone they just met a while ago. In fact, we enjoy sex because our brains had been pre-programmed that way and even produce chemicals that encourage us to have lots of sexual activities, which leads to a more intense desire for carnal pleasures once you get your first taste of it. However, just like with any other activities, there will come a time when sex can no longer give you that initial amount of pleasure that it once gave you. At that point, you might even think that sex is not giving you enough satisfaction anymore, leading you to do it lesser than usual. Hence, in this article, we will be exploring why satisfying sex becomes rarer as well as some of the ways you can do to improve you and your partner’s sex drive.

Why do we tire of sex?

First of all, it is completely normal for your sex drive to tone down and wane as you grow older, which is also true for any biological functions within our body. Aging sucks and could even affect your performance as a male in the form of erectile dysfunction. Women, on the other hand, according to a national survey conducted on Britain, are more prone to losing interest with sex more than twice as likely as their male counterparts. However, there is no clear evidence that it is due to menopause and actually leans more towards emotional reasons.

It is also possible that you are not tired of sex as a whole but bored with your sexual partner instead due to their inability to realise your desires and fantasies which could be attributed to your porn-watching habits, making you display a behavior that is known as the Coolidge Effect. You might have also suffered a traumatic experience that had to do with sexual activities, leading to the activation of a defense mechanism preventing you from feeling the pleasure of having sex. Either which, you need to find the root cause or get help from a professional in order to know what your next actions should be.

How to have satisfying sex?

We have listed general tips that may help in your quest to have a satisfying sex life. However, these are just general ideas and should not be treated as a substitute for professional advice.

1. Aim for equity

As stated in the Equity Theory, relational partners should aim to have a fair distribution of resources. This not only applies to the workplace but to your sex life as well. If your partner starts to feel that you are the only one enjoying your sexual activities, inequity starts to happen and the more your partner feels the said inequity, the more they will lose interest in having sex with you or having sex as a whole. Hence, it is very important to be sensitive to you and your partner’s sexual needs. Once the both of you figure this one out and finally reached compromise, equity will be re-established and sex will become rewarding instead of demanding.

2. Strengthen your relationship

If your relationship with your partner is already shaky, to begin with, it is only natural that both of your desire for sex would be minimized a lot. That’s why both of you need to sit down and have a serious talk about whether you still want your relationship to continue or not. Talk about your grievances with each other and discuss what the two of you need to do in order to overcome them. Once you solidifying your shaky foundations, intimacy in the form of sexual activities will obviously follow.

3. Stop having unrealistic expectations

The fulfillment of expectations greatly correlates with your satisfaction but once it gets out of hand, you’ll end up no longer enjoying the things you used to enjoy, which brings us again to sex. Pornography is quite notorious in unconsciously altering your expectations, making the line between fantasy and reality blurry to a certain extent which often puts a heavy burden to your partner mentally since they might feel inadequate once they could not perform those acts you see in movies and pornographic material. Pornography could also distort your image of yourself when you compare your body parts to those of porn actors, leading to a lesser sex drive. If this is the case, it might be better to call a professional therapist to help you as compared to dealing with it yourself.

4. Just say what you both want

Unfortunately, we have yet to discover a way to directly communicate our thoughts to one another using telepathy. Hence, a direct approach in communication is oftentimes the most effective and that is to just ask your partner, in a way that will not offend them as well as stating what you want without sounding demanding. Once you and your partner reach an understanding of your wants and desires, you could make it into your goal once you start doing the deed. This will lead to an increase in the production of pleasure hormones in your brain since it will feel like it was rewarded, and the more you do what both of you like, the more you will have much more satisfying sex.

Have More Sex for Sounder Sleep

Lack of sleep is very common in Australia with as many as 39.8% of Australian adults battling to get a good night’s rest on a regular basis according to a report commissioned by the Sleep Health Foundation. This means that a whopping 7.4 million people are not sleeping as well as they should. While there are countless ways to try and combat insomnia such as prescription medication, herbal remedies, and white noise machines there is a much easier (and more enjoyable) way to ensure you catch some z’s at night: sex. More than 60% of people have indicated sounder sleep after a frolic between the sheets according to Dr Michele Lastella from the Appleton Institute of Behavioral Science at the Central Queensland University. So is sex really the answer to your sleepless nights? Let’s find out.

Sex releases sleep-inducing chemicals

When you have a mind-blowing orgasm, your body releases large amounts of hormones that envelope you in a multitude of warm & fuzzy feelings. Among these feel-good hormones are oxytocin, vasopressin, and dopamine which can all contribute greatly towards you getting a good night’s rest.  Of these, oxytocin (the cuddle hormone) is of most value to women as it reduces stress which is known to be a great contributor to insomnia. Dopamine, which triggers immense feelings of pleasure, helps you unwind before going to bed while vasopressin is known to be conducive of sleep. Apart from releasing a number of satisfying hormones, sex also surpasses the body’s dopamine secretion which results in reduced stress levels and an increased sense of euphoria.

Everyone sleeps better after a workout

By now we all know that regular exercise is good for us, but did you know that exercising could be the cure to your insomnia? Studies have shown that a stint of exercise of moderate to mild intensity can significantly reduce the amount of time it takes to fall asleep as well as enhance the quality of your sleep. Exercise has also been proven to decrease the seriousness of sleep-disordered breathing as well as lessen the severity of obstructive sleep apnea. While no one is going to prevent you from joining a gym or going for lengthy nightly jogs, you can always just get frisky in bed to reap the same benefits. If anyone dares tell you that sex is not considered to be real exercise, you can point out that sex burns up to 3.6 calories a minute which is more than your average vigorous walk does.

You send the correct signals to your brain

While having sex with the lights on is definitely hot, you can actually benefit by getting kinky in the dark as well. When we find ourselves in a horizontal position in bed our bodies tend to assume that it is time to prepare for sleep. According to bedtester.com, a comfortable mattress is paramount to sleeping through the night. By applying this logic to your entire bedtime routine, having sex on a comfortable mattress will give you the best possible chance at sound sleep as it is bound to leave you feeling completely relaxed, happy, and in need of proper rest afterwards.

If you don’t have a partner, go solo

While having a hot sexual partner to fool around with is ideal, it is important to note that it is the orgasm and not the actual sex that improves your sleep cycle. This basically means that, by masturbating, you can reap the exact same benefits as you would by working up a sweat with your partner. Next time you are battling to fall asleep, instead of popping a couple of sleeping tablets, practice some self-love instead. Masturbating will not only relax you, but the endorphins released during your very pleasurable orgasm will help you fall off to sleep happy and fulfilled.

Prepare for a wonderful chain reaction

While sex can undoubtedly help you sleep better at night, one cannot ignore the fact that more sleep can improve your sex life. According to research published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, getting enough sleep can give your sexual response a very healthy boost which may lead to more frequent sex which will, in turn, improve your quality of sleep even more. If sex helps you sleep better, and sleep makes you have better sex you undoubtedly need to increase the frequency of both in your life as soon as possible.

It is good to know that, apart from supplying you with unmatched pleasure, sex is also good for you. If you often find yourself tossing and turning at night, encourage your partner to engage in some insomnia-busting sex sessions or, alternatively, lube up your vibrator or sex sleeve and orgasm your way to peaceful, sound sleep.