23 Nov

Talking With Kids About Sex

Be inclusive. Be accurate. Be honest. Be open.

Sex talk isn’t just for the bedroom. Although we tend to reserve conversation around intimacy for times of intimacy, you can build a better relationship with your sexual health and wellness at any time. 

When Talking to Your Doctor

If you feel that there is something wrong sexually, talk to your doctor. They are the best resource for treating any physical obstacles you’re encountering. And if they are not equipped to deal with your exact problem, they should be able to recommend you to someone who can help.

You have to advocate for yourself. You know your body better than anyone else, so if you feel something is wrong don’t let yourself be talked out of seeking or gaining access to treatment. The squeaky wheel gets the grease.

When Talking to Kids

It’s one thing to talk with other adults about sex, but many have a hard time feeling comfortable having open and honest conversations with children about sex and sexuality. Some fear that they’re too young for the information, or that talking to them about sex might encourage risky behaviors in children. 

However, this is not the case. 

Understanding their sexuality and their body is just as important as understanding all other aspects of their health. For their physical and mental wellbeing, it’s beyond rewarding to put aside your personal awkwardness and mentor your child. 

Quote: for kids, Understanding their sexuality and their body is just as important as understanding all other aspects of their health.

Be Inclusive 

A lot of sex talks begin with “When a Mommy and Daddy love each other. . .” And while that might’ve been sufficient 40 years ago, that’s not enough for the new generation. A growing percent of the younger population identifies as LGBTQ+. Nearly 16% of Generation Z identifies as LGBT+, and this percentage is expected to rise both in Gen Z and in the following demographic cohort, Generation Alpha. 

America has never been more queer. Concepts of gender and sexuality are changing every day, and the heteronormative explanation for sex and sexual health doesn’t keep up with this reality

When you talk to your kids, make space in the conversation to talk about all kinds of sex. It’s important they know that all kinds of people have sex. Sex, as many have first understood it, begins and ends with a penis penetrating a vagina. But this explanation leaves a lot of important information out. Sex can include any combination of body parts, belonging to any combination of people. 

It’s also important to include pleasure during this conversation. Female pleasure and the female orgasm (along with pleasure for all vulva-owners) are often entirely left out of the conversation but deserve to be part of human understanding of what sex is. It’s important for all individuals to know that their bodies and their satisfaction matter. 

Be Accurate

On that same note, when teaching your child about their sexuality, call their body parts by their medically accurate names

Teaching kids the proper names for genitalia is more awkward for you than it is for your child. They have no frame of reference to feel awkward or embarrassed or confused, and that in itself makes this conversation all the more rewarding. Your child can grow up already familiar with their body and can potentially completely bypass the awkwardness that you and scores of other adults feel when talking about their own bodies. 

If that’s not enough to convince you to have this conversation, teach your child about their body for their safety. Race Against Abuse of Children Everywhere reports that teaching a child the proper names for their body parts “helps your children build a positive body image and opens the door for an honest, open dialogue with you on any questions they have about their bodies or sexuality.”

It’s been proven that nicknames confuse children and muddy their understanding of their own body, or what is acceptable touching. It helps to explain what is and is not acceptable touching, and who is allowed to touch that part of their body. 

When your child understands their body and what’s happening to it, they can accurately express when something is wrong. They’re equipped with the knowledge to advocate for themselves. And they’re more likely to be understood by adults. Nicknames and codewords aren’t universal so not everyone will understand what your child is saying. But proper names are universal and there will be no doubt what the child is expressing. 

RAACE advises parents to not make a big deal out of the conversation. If you treat it like something normal (and it is), their understanding of sexuality will be that it's a normal and natural thing they shouldn’t be embarrassed by. They’ll also understand what sex is supposed to look like, so if they should ever experience inappropriate contact they will be equipped with the knowledge that they’re being mistreated and should speak up. 

Editor’s Note: Consent should be a mandatory topic of conversation when answering questions about sex, sexual activity, touching, dating, or communicating with potential partners. Teach children early they have the autonomy to say no, other people have the autonomy to say no to them in any situation, and that the no is to be respected, not negotiated. When we are clear about consent as children, we take that knowledge with us as we experience more complex situations in the future.

Check out our piece on Consent as a resource to share with your children. 


Quote: Teaching a child accurate names for their body parts helps build a positive body image and creates honest, open dialogue with the parent.

 

Be Honest

When your child asks you a question, answer it honestly. They don’t need an in-depth explanation, but they do deserve honesty. Answer as accurately as you can using language they will understand. 

“I don’t know” is an acceptable response to questions. If you truly don’t know something, it’s ok to tell them that. But let them know that you’re going to research and find out for them, and when you have the information requested circle back. 

Honesty is always the best policy. If you hide information from them, that won’t be enough to hide their curiosity. They are likely to look for answers somewhere online, and the information they receive might be incorrect or actively harmful, but they’ll have no way to separate what’s right or wrong. 

Children pick up on your nonverbal cues. If they can sense that you’re irritated with them for asking or that you feel awkward answering the question, they could intuit that they’ve done something wrong. This could lead to them believing it is wrong to talk or ask about sex. 

Be Open

Making your kids feel comfortable talking about sex is important for many reasons, but one of the most important reasons to have these conversations when they’re young is because they won’t be young forever. If you can foster an environment where your child is comfortable and empowered in their sexuality, you’re paving the way for your children to become confident and well-adjusted adults. 

They could start their adult lives with some things it takes most adults years to curate, and that some eventually never achieve: knowledge of consent, boundaries, understanding of self, and a healthy relationship with their body and sexuality. 

And that isn’t even the best part. When you open a judgment-free line of communication with your child, you’re making yourself a safe place for your child to share their personal lives with you. If they know they can open up to you, odds are that they’re more likely to do so. And when you’re able to have open and honest conversations about sex, you can be sure that the information they’re getting is safe and accurate. 

You don’t have to know everything to be a good mentor for your child. What matters is that you keep putting in the effort. You’re giving yourself the opportunity to learn and grow with your child. 

Consent is described using the acronym FRIES: Freely given, Reversible, Informed, Embodied, and Specific

Talking To Yourself

Getting comfortable with your own sexuality is a journey. You’ve got your own timeline, and what feels right for you might be totally different from other people you know. Give yourself permission to develop your own sexuality in your own time. 

Your relationship with your body is important. You only get one body, and it's yours for life. Finding ways to invest and feel comfortable and empowered in it will make all parts of your life more rewarding, not just your sex life. 

Learning is a great way to feel more comfortable. Find resources to educate yourself about sex. A whole world of TikToks, YouTube seminars, books, sex therapists, blogs, and (shameless plug) The Lion’s Den social media channels exist on the wilds of the internet all designed to help you live your best life. 


21 Nov

Shower and Bath Sex

Get down and dirty while getting clean 

There’s a reason the bathroom is a favorite location for many movies, books, tv shows, and adult films. It’s a location that poses a lot of potential for pleasure but also poses a lot of logistical problems. 

Nothing sounds less romantic than falling and slipping a disk. 

But, like a lot of good things, it's worth the work and extra effort. Keep reading for some tips on shower and bathtub sex, activities to try, and tools to help really steam things up.

Shower Sex

The cascading water, the showerhead, the easy clean-up, the full view of your partner’s glistening skin. . . there’s a lot to love about shower sex. Especially if you’ve ever wanted to try standing sex, or that’s already your jam. 

Unfortunately, not everyone has a spacious shower. If your stall at home is small, it could get a bit cramped with two people in there. Make sure you’ve got enough space to accommodate both of you and consider bringing in a shower stall for some extra stability and to aid in positions. 

Standing sex is a go-to but isn’t the most stable. Depending on how much room you have, doggy style is also a great choice for the shower. Both partners can find stability and satisfaction. 

The shower doesn’t have to be all about penetration. It’s a great place for oral sex. Both parties are typically able to find a more stable position, and it makes for an easy clean-up before or after (or both). A shower is also a great place for a little massage or manual stimulation. Another great tool is body-safe soap that will not affect your pH balance. Use a little bit to give your hands some extra lubrication and go on a journey of self-discovery.

A shower is a fantastic place for solo players. You’ve got more room, and don’t have to navigate the space with another person. If you’ve got a detachable showerhead, use it to your advantage. 

Quote, "Shower Sex do's:  Find a stable position use anti-slip stickers silicone lube is best use water-resistant or waterproof toys"

Bathtub Sex

The bathtub is a much more forgiving option. If one or both of you are disabled, a fall-risk, or prone to fatigue, a position where you can remain seated or closer to the ground is going to be much more comfortable. Bathtubs are also great for partners with a dramatic height difference. Height and ability differences can pose a challenge logistically. But in the bathtub, you’re both on a fairly even playing ground. 

The bathtub is not an ideal place for oral sex, but it is a great place to give each other a massage or try out a number of positions. Reverse/Cowgirl, doggy style, and missionary are all bathtub-friendly positions. And if you did want to indulge in some oral action, the receiving partner could always sit on the rim of the tub while the other kneels in the water. 

The bathtub is great for partners and for singles. It’s a great place to get down with yourself, using just your hands or a waterproof toy (we’ll get into those later). 

Although you’re much less likely to fall and injure yourself in the bathtub, you do have a higher chance of getting an infection. If you plan on having sex, avoid bath salts, bath bombs, or any kind of bubble bath mixture. These are great if you’re just planning on chilling, but they could totally throw off your body’s chemistry and cause infection if you’re planning on anything sexual.

And just like showers, you run the same risks compromising the effectiveness of contraceptive devices and lube. There unfortunately isn’t a great way to apply lube underwater, so that’s something to take care of before you’re both fully submerged. 

Shower Sex don'ts:  using oils and soaps from the shower as a lube using non-water-resistant toys in shower or bath using bath salts or bubble mixture with penetration.

Tools and Tips

You can do whatever you want, but anti-slip stickers and lube are must-haves. The shower is plenty slippery as is when you’re the only one in there. Adding another person into the equation could tempt fate, so plan ahead to avoid any accidents. 

Another thing to be mindful of: barrier methods are more likely to break down in the bath or shower. While water won’t affect latex condoms or dental dams, they are more likely to slip or tear in the shower. Shower oils or gels, or even soap, can cause physical contraceptive methods to break down. 

Lube is always required, even when you’re in the shower. The oils and soaps you use in the shower are not suitable replacements (and could seriously affect your body’s natural chemistry). Invest in some quality lube for your aquatic activities. Water-based lube might not be the best for shower or bath sex, as it could prematurely dissolve. A silicone lubricant is the way to go. K-Y TrueFeel Silicone Lubricant offers a long-lasting, silky feeling that can be enjoyed in or out of the shower. 

Do test drive silicone lubricant out beforehand. Some people might find silicone-based lubricants irritating. Silicone lubricants also break down toys quicker, so plan what you’re using out beforehand. 

Speaking of toys, bringing one into the shower with you is a great way to turn up the heat for you, or you and your partner. Just make sure you choose something water-resistant, and that you have a compatible lube. 

The brand B Swish has a few different water-resistant vibrator options, like the BCute Classic Curve and the BCute Classic Pearl. They come in bright, beautiful colors and can be used in and out of the bathroom. 

pink bcute classic, box, blue bcute classic toys pictured on a white background

If you want to really make the most of your bath, the Waterslyde Aquatic Stimulator might be the perfect investment for solo vulva-owners. This universal faucet attachment, perfectly angled for your pleasure, helps direct water wherever you want it to go. It’s great for anyone who likes external stimulation, and it's disability-friendly. All you have to do is attach to the faucet, sit back, and enjoy.

blue waterslide, illustration of vulva-owner using waterslyde in bathtub, hands covering breasts, and pink waterslyde are all pictured on a white background.

16 Nov

Consent

Boundaries can be sexy

 

Rainn explains consent as “an ongoing process of discussing boundaries and what you’re comfortable with.” The discourse around consent usually begins and ends with a discussion of sexual assault or intimate partner violence, but we don’t give a lot of airtime to how integral it is to healthy relationships. Informed consent and honesty are the strongest foundations to build all relationships on, be a romantic or platonic relationship.


Quote "Consent comes with fries / F: Freely given / R: reversible / I: informed / E: embodied / S: specific


How to Evaluate and Establish Consent

The FRIES acronym offers an easy way to view and evaluate consent. 

F — Freely Given

You are participating of your own volition. You have not been pressured or coerced, and are in a state of mind where you’re able to make an informed decision. 

R — Reversible

You can stop at any time. If you or your partner decide they want to stop, the other one will not retaliate in any way and will respect their choice. 

I — Informed

Your agreement has terms. You have both specified what exactly it is you are agreeing to and have disclosed any important information beforehand. 

E — Enthusiastic/Embodied

You have given express and tangible consent. This can be done through speech, writing, sign language, or a physical gesture. 

Everyone’s ability is different, but affirmative consent is always a must. 

S — Specific/Sober

“Yes” to one thing does not mean “yes” to everything. When you’ve decided to engage in any variety of sexual or romantic activity, you should agree on what you’re doing beforehand. And if one of you thinks of something they’d like to try while you’re in the midst of things, ask first. 

Sober does not have to mean totally sober. It means that if you have enjoyed any alcohol or other controlled substances, that they are not impairing your mental or physical capabilities. How much you can have and still be mentally and physically competent will vary from person to person. 

Establishing real, authentic consent requires some vulnerability. You have to be direct about what you want and are willing to do, and disclose any information that might cause your partner to change their mind about having sex. If you feel the need to conceal some personal information in order to make sex appealing, that is a violation of consent. People are agreeing to a specific act, not hidden fees and clauses. 

And when you’ve both laid out what you want, you have to respect what the other one says. Of course, you’re welcome to let them know that they are free to change their mind if they decide they do actually want to try that one thing you mentioned but don’t try to force them into it or bully them into changing their mind. It can be embarrassing to get shot down, but those are feelings best unpacked by yourself. 

Another important thing to keep in mind is that consent means an affirmative agreement, not the absence of a no. Speak up when something sounds unappealing or you’d like to stop, and listen to them when they say no.

Quote "Consent means an affirmative agreement, not the absence of a no."

Consent is an Ongoing Contract

Consent stays an important part of long-term relationships. When you get to know someone well, and when you have a history with them and a running list of boundaries, it can be easy to forget that you’ve still got to ask permission and check-in with your partner. No matter how long you’ve been together, your partner can still rescind permission for something or change their boundaries. Consent is fluid, not static, but should always be respected. 

Consent keeps lines of communication open. It’s a built-in way to discuss what’s working, what’s not, and things you’d like to try. People’s needs and interests change over time. Building a relationship where you can freely communicate your needs and boundaries is going only going to strengthen the best parts of what you already have and help combat whatever issues may arise. 

Quote "The conversation around consent shouldn’t solely be centered on sex. Consent is part of all healthy relationships."

Consent is For Everyone

The conversation around consent shouldn’t solely be centered on sex. Consent is part of all healthy relationships. Every person has their own terms and agreements, and it's best that everyone is on the same page about what works and what doesn’t.

Consent is not solely physical in nature. The conversations we agree to have, the words we agree to use, the activities we agree to participate in are all based on what we are allowed to do with other people. The way you behave with one friend might not fly with another friend, and that’s important to establish. 

Consent is also something to teach children. Learning to respect our bodies, the bodies of others, and boundaries is not often a part of teaching children how to behave in a community. However, it's vitally important that all humans, no matter how young or old, learn that they deserve to have their limits respected. 

If your child doesn’t like to hug their relatives or does not want to share a toy with someone, that’s ok. Children are asked to share in a way that adults never are. As we get older, we are not expected to give away parts of ourselves or things that we love to other people just because we should “share.” Of course, encouraging generosity in children is great and makes for happier and more well-adjusted adults, but forcing children to do things they’re uncomfortable with has the opposite effect. Kids are allowed to have limits too, and those limits deserve to be respected.

 

Consent is Sexy

Consent is often (wrongly) viewed as a mood interruption or the thing that slows down a heated moment. Talking about your boundaries in sexual activities never has to be boring. Like sex, you or you and your partner are what make it great. You can certainly keep the mood going by asking for consent, especially when you start asking your partner what they would like done to them.

Start by asking, “What would you like me to do to you?” or “How do you like to experience pleasure?”. Both of these examples can be steamy with a little effort, and once you get into the conversation, you may realize how much of a turn on asking for consent really is.  Continue by stating sexual activities you really like to do or receive and ask about the ones they like to do or receive. The simple act of talking about sexual activities you like can be erotic and informative. Consent doesn’t need to be boring -- you get to decide that. 


Remember: Consent is a non-negotiable part of sexual activity, so if you are going to be turned off by asking for consent, then you need to analyze how you treat partners in sexual activity, and if you are capable of respecting boundaries. To fully enjoy sex, it is important to understand limitations you may have or a partner may have to ensure everyone is having a good time.

31 Dec

Achieving Your Sex Goals with your New Year’s Resolutions

As the hype of the New Year came and went, many of us have found ourselves facing the New Year Blues. That point where all the goals you have made have somehow seemed to disappear into the abyss. Fear not my friends. All of your new year’s resolution goals are still worth accomplishing. Sex-related or not, though this one is sex-specific, here are some tips to help you become more consistent in reaching your sex goals.

1.    Re-Evaluate Your List

If you have already made a list of different goals you want to achieve, by now you have already crossed some off the list as you may have come to the conclusion that you probably were a little overzealous with some of the items you put on your list. Take your list and look it over. Look at the things you have decided weren’t worth attempting to achieve and why. My personal suggesting is finding specify in your items and maybe start with simpler tasks associate with the original items that are easier and comfortable to complete. Remember, baby steps.

2.    Check In With Your Partner and Yourself

If you made a list of goals with your partner, it’s a good idea to check in with them and re-evaluate your goals together. It’s important to make sure that you help each other reach your goals together if there items that you mutually agree on and are comfortable with completing. If there was a specific goal that you both didn’t agree on, have a conversation on why and decide if you should take the item off the list or take smaller steps towards completing it.

3.    Do Research if you’re Unsure

If you put a goal on your list that you don’t completely have all the info on but you still want to try it, do some research. You can read different articles on the internet, watch porn and other resources. Join a group online and ask questions. The idea is to find out more information and then form your own opinions. If you find yourself developing negative feelings towards new founded information, take a step back and process it, find out why.

4.    Masturbate More

Whether you goal is to have more orgasms or to have more meaningful sex, masturbation is a great tool for practically everything. You can create new fantasies and experience different sensations through masturbation. Masturbation also helps you understand how arousal and desire works for you based on the things that you like. Experimenting with different sex toys and techniques to find out what feels good or even better is an enlightening experience all on its own.

What’s a New Year’s Resolution you have already given up on?

If you like what you’ve read here, check out more of Tiffy Kinks writing at her sex blog Aquakink.com.

Twitter @Theaquakink

Instagram @Aquakink

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