08 Jul

Some Like it Hot, Some Like it Cold:

Temperature Play

If you’ve been looking for a way to literally heat things up in the bedroom, temperature play might be just the thing. From refreshing chills to passionate heat, your options for temperature foreplay are vast. It can be as simple or elaborate as desired and is easily customized to anyone. Whether you’re looking to steam things up or cool things down, this article will give you plenty of insights on how to incorporate temperature into your activities. 

What is Temperature Play?

According to Katy Thorn, a writer for LELO, temperature play is “a type of sensation play that uses hot and cold objects or substances on the body for sensual exploration.” Temperature play might sound intimidating, but it can be customized for everyone from beginners to those with more experience. Kinkly explains how temperature play is meant to stimulate neuroreceptors to trigger a sensual response. This can be achieved with something as simple as trailing an ice cube over bear skin to heating or cooling temperature-retentive toys. 

Temperature play is a staple in BDSM, but can be adapted to any comfort or skill level. Some like to incorporate restraints or blindfolds into temperature play, so as to add an extra element of surprise when playing with hot and cold. However, it is totally up to you how you’d like your session to go. 

Where to Get Started? 

Temperature play is all about heightening your senses. It can be done easily and safely at home by yourself or with a friend. Temperature play can be done solo or with partner(s), with or without toys, and DIY or with products specially made with temperature play in mind. There’s a near endless sea of options to explore when it comes to experimenting with hot and cold. 

Thorn recommends starting by using ice or freezing fruit or vegetables, particularly anything with a high water content, and holding it in your mouth or tracing the frozen items along your skin—especially the more sensitive areas. 

Things to Keep in Mind:

While hot and cold sensations can trigger exciting responses, it’s important to remember that temperatures shouldn’t be too extreme. However you decide to play, always test whatever product you’re using beforehand to make sure that the temperature is just right. Communicate with your partner beforehand, too, as it should be fun, not painful. 

Also, be sure to only use products you know are skin safe and suitable for intimate use. Candle wax can be a fun tool for temperature play, but all candles have different melting points. Rather than using any you might have around the house, go for one that has been proven to be skin safe and avoid potential painful burns. 

Product Recommendations: 

Massage candles can be a fun option for beginners to experts. Feel the Heat Warming Massage Candles are a great option. Made from a coconut and soy wax formula, they are skin-safe and subtly scented. The candle’s spout makes for easy transfer from the container into your hand—or onto your partner. 


For those who want to get that spark without any actual fire, warming massage oils are another good choice. Massage oils come in a variety of scents and, in some cases, flavors. Exsens Of Paris Warming Massage Oil comes in four unique flavors, all inspired by your favorite tropical drinks. The oil will heat things up just from application, but mouth-to-skin contact will intensify the warming properties. 



If you’re looking to cool things down a bit, try a lubricant with a cooling property. System JO lubricants are silky smooth without being sticky, and have a variety of anal-friendly cooling lubraicant options. JO Premium Cooling Lubricant is designed to not only make things go smoothly, but to also provide an extra cooling sensation. Try chilling it in your fridge before use to up the chill factor. 


For the hot natured folks, or anyone who wants to give themself or a friend goosebumps, try the On Ice Buzzing and Cooling Female Arousal Oil. Made from a combination of oils including the incredibly stimulating ingredients cinnamon and peppermint, ON ICE is sure to make you shiver with delight when applied directly to the more sensitive parts of the body. 



When you’re ready to move on to something a little spicier (or chillier, depending on your preference), there are a variety of toys that can help. A vibrator with heating technology can give you or your partner all the warm and fuzzy feelings you want. Something like the Elegance Posh or the Elegance Opulent include a heat feature allowing them to reach up to 42 degrees Celsius (107.6 Fahrenheit). 


Metal and glass products can also be heated up or chilled for a titillating effect. In addition to experimenting with temperature, metal and glass toys also allow you to experiment with different textures. Mystim Gmbh carries several metal toys suitable for temperature play, ranging from smooth to ribbed. The Funky Fella, among others in their catalogue, is specifically designed with temperature play in mind. Try putting it in the fridge before use or heating it up. 



For glass products suitable for temperature play, the Crystal Tapered Kit offers three anal plugs in varying sizes that can be heated or chilled for play. The easiest way to heat glass products is to submerge them into warm—not hot—water for a few minutes. To chill, you can use cold water or place them in your refrigerator. 

When it comes to temperature play, you’ve got more options than just choosing hot or cold sensations. Any way you want to experiment, whether it be solo or with a partner, there are products and techniques to help you achieve your best result. 

Remember to always play consensually, especially when experimenting with temperature. Test everything beforehand to ensure that products are comfortable for yourself or your partner. You don’t want things to get too hot—or too cold. Carefully consider temperatures and applications of products beforehand and take all the guesswork out of playing. 

Have fun!


06 Jul

Harnesses for All Genders

Everyone’s needs and desires are different in the bedroom. For some, penetration may be needed to achieve pleasure, but what if you don’t have a penis? Although regular dildos are great options to explore when looking for penetrative toys, when with a partner, it might become necessary to take it a step further with a strap-on harness

Strap-ons can aid in not only giving penetrative abilities to a non-penis owner, but can also assist people with physical limitations, provide their partner with penetration, as well as help penis owners with penile limitations. Strap-on harnesses come in various different forms, many of which feature a ring so you can swap out the size of the dildo you are currently using.

These forms can be standard leather or elastic straps that wrap around your waist and legs, or worn and designed to be like regular boxers or briefs. 

No matter your needs, strap-ons can be utilized for a range of activities and can be worn by any gender. 

Standard Waist Harness:

The most common harness on the market, these are reminiscent of a jock strap with an outer ring and straps that are worn around the waist and thighs to keep the harness in place. Sometimes, this can include a padded piece around the pelvic area to keep the harness from being uncomfortable while thrusting. In some cases, these styles can include an additional ring that allows for the user to use two dildos at once for double penetration on their partner. With adjustable straps, oftentimes these can be one size fits most and some even come with adjustable straps that are worn like suspenders to make it even more secure on different body types. These can sometimes feature a fixed dildo design while others often are interchangeable.

Product recommendations: SpareParts Joque Harness, The Duchess Dual Penetration Harness, Dillio Suspender Harness

Brief Style Waist Harness:

Similar to standard waist harnesses, this style is variation that covers the genital area like a regular pair of underwear. This makes it much more comfortable to wear and feels more natural than other strapped harnesses. These can occasionally feature a slitted bottom that allows for the wearer to still access their genitals while in use. These are also a very good style for penis owners who may have limitations with erections or having penetrative intercourse. This style allows for the scrotum to be cradled comfortably with the penis while still having the ability to use the harness for penetration. These are most commonly interchangeable while some are not.

Product Recommendations: Scandal Crotchless Pegging Panty, Easy Riders Quinn Harness


Thigh Harness:

A variation from the normal strap-on style, thigh harnesses allow for the user to utilize their legs for penetration if they are unable to thrust or use their hips. This allows for the person who is being penetrated to control the speed and how they like to be penetrated themselves while still having the closeness and intimacy of being with a partner. If the penetrator is utilizing their upper body, this allows them to use their mouth and hands to continue stimulating their partners upper body as well.

Product Recommendations: Thigh Strap-on Harness

Face Harness:

Another variation, and an incredibly unique style, is the mouth or face harness. These harnesses are for use over the mouth and jaw and allow for the wearer to penetrate their partner with their face. This can be useful in various forms of Dominant/submission play in the kink community, and very similar to the thigh harness, can be extremely helpful for those with physical limitations. 

These always feature a fixed dildo, so there is less variation in penetration, but with the unique positioning of face harnesses, you can experiment with a number of creative positions. Some face and mouth harnesses include gags as well, so be aware of that if you are uncomfortable with being gagged.

Product Recommendations: Face Fuk Mouth Gag

Hollow Dildo Waist Harness:

Nearly identical to the standard waist harness, the hollow dildo variation is a non-interchangeable harness with an opening within the dildo to hold the penis in a more natural position when in use by a penis owner. 

This can be utilized in many different ways, whether for a form of chastity play where the penis owner cannot get physical stimulation or as a natural feeling alternative for someone who may have erectile dysfunction or other penile issues such as premature ejaculation. This also can be used by non-penis owners just like a regular strap-on but because it is hollow, often these can be thicker and lighter, potentially making it much more comfortable.

Product Recommendations: Dr. Skin Hollow Strap-on, Fetish Fantasy Hollow Strap-on with Balls

Strapless Harness:

The biggest variation for a strap-on while still being utilized in the genital area, the strapless harness is required to be used by a non-penis owner. Unlike other harnesses that are worn like underwear, this one is used by inserting a larger, often bulbous, portion into the vagina that extends as one piece into a dildo. 

This is a great alternative that feels more natural to genital placement while still stimulating both the wearer and the person being penetrated. These can come with rechargeable or removable vibrators as well, adding even more to the capabilities to this style. Due to the shape of the design, there are some that even have textured portions that can rub against the clitoris when worn. These do require an additional level of kegel strength in order to keep them snug within the vagina, especially at larger sizes that are heavier.

Product Recommendations: Revolver Strapless Strap-on, Ouch! Silicone Strapless Strap-on

Dildo Options:

One of the most important aspects of a strap-on is the dildo used with it, and with so many harness options with interchangeable dildo capabilities, it’s important to know which ones are compatible with your harness. 

Most suction cup dildos are strap-on compatible, but look at the packaging and description to be certain. Certain brands, like Vac-U-Lock can only be utilized with their brand harnesses, while other dildos can be used with a variety of harnesses. Some can feature both the penis and scrotum and are made of a plastic blend or silicone while others can be made of glass. There are few variations that include a rechargeable vibrator in them that can be used with the harness as well. Because of this ability, dildo variations can be used as well, such as ones that are smoother and non-textured or ones that are uniquely to your preference.


Product Recommendations: Ruse - Jimmy, Her Royal Harness Probe, Silicone Pegging Probe



Strap-ons can be an incredibly useful tool in a journey for sexual pleasure with a partner. Whether you have a penis or vulva, they can be a gateway to penetrative sensations that you may not otherwise be able to achieve. With capabilities and benefits that extend to those with physical limitations, it is one of the most inclusive pleasure products on the market. Whether your physical limitations include movement, penile limitations, or anything in between, a harness can be the perfect item for you to consider on your next trip for a new pleasure product.


03 Jul

TRYST

by Doc Johnson

One of the most common misconceptions about sex toys and pleasure products is that straight and straight-passing couples don’t need them! And while we can sort of understand that mindset, just because they do not technically need any extra products to perform penetrative sex, that narrow mindset means that many opportunities for better sex are being overlooked! 

Cock rings are one of the easiest ways to up the experience, as they are used to extend the duration of an erection, allowing for more play time. One of our favorite updates to a standard cock ring is Doc Johnson’s TRYST. It is a combination cock ring and clitoral vibrator designed with the ability to be worn during sex or any type of partner play, but unlike a basic ring, it’s not just limited to intercourse—TRYST is also a great option for a solo masturbation session for any gender.

 

 

 

The TRYST has three individual, strong motors: one in each arm and one in the base. Because the arm motors can be controlled separately from the base, when used during penetration, each player can experience the exact strength and pattern vibration they prefer, if any. When used solo, the arms can be inserted vaginally, anally, or both! The vibrating arms are perfect for stimulating the clit, nipples, or being worn around testicles for an extra sensation while masturbating.

In fact, there are so many innovative ways that TRYST can be used that Doc Johnson has even provided a (non-comprehensive) chart of diagrams to show a few suggested uses for those who would like to get creative. (Pssst: we can't wait to try them all!)

The options were greatly expanded in 2020 when the second iteration of TRYST dropped. TRYST v2 looks very similar to its original predecessor, but includes many new features. The new version can be controlled by the included wireless remote. The addition of the remote makes it much easier to switch vibration settings during intercourse, since the original can only be adjusted by using the buttons on its front.

 



The other major and exciting update to TRYST v2 is the product’s bendable arms. Each arm still includes a powerful motor, but now they are posable, so the wearer can adjust it for their cock, if they prefer a tighter or looser fit. The arms bend any way you want them to, but they are not flimsy—they stay in position as posed. And don’t worry, there’s an updated chart of suggested uses for this new functionality.

We love both versions of the TRYST, especially due to their ability to be used to great extent during both solo and partner play. They’re also both available in multiple colors—the TRYST comes in purple and black, and TRYST v2 in purple, mint, and teal—and all are made with health-grade silicone, the safest material for your body.

So whether you’re an experienced pleasure-product user or just beginning to look for a way to bring them into your relationship, TRYST and TRYST v2 are worth trying out.


During the month of July, all TRYSTs by Doc Johnson are 20% off. SHOP NOW. Shop in-store and also get a FREE toy bag with any Doc Johnson purchase. 
28 Jun

The Myth

Let’s talk about the G-Spot! No this isn’t some tale of mystery and mystique, the G-Spot is very real. Even though it may be just an old wives tale to some, today we are talking about the G-Spot. So let’s settle it!

Myth 1: It doesn't exist

If that’s the case, there sure are a lot of products made for something that isn’t real! The G-Spot (or the Grafenberg spot) is very real. It’s located usually around 2 inches inside the vaginal opening in the area closest to the belly button. There is word that there is no anatomical evidence of a G-Spot, despite many studies stating that the positioning of the clitoris has to do with your G-Spot, and we know that the clitoris is 100% there!

Myth 2: The G-Spot is an organ

Totally incorrect, and this is the reason the G-Spot’s legitimacy is debated! In 2017, scientists dissected 13 cadavers to search for the G-spot, no evidence was found of the G-spot's existence.This study has already been debated, as the G-Spot is not an actual organ; it’s a series of nerve endings and tissues that is connected to the inner clitoris.

Myth 3: Only people with vaginas have a G-Spot

Well technically no, people with penises also have a G-Spot. The male G-spot is often referred to at the P-spot; referring to their prostate! Like the G-Spot, the P-Spot is located around 2 inches in, but this one is inside the rectum. It can be stimulated anally as well as stimulating it indirectly through the perineum, or taint.

With all this talk about myths, we think it’s time to introduce something very exciting! VUSH have just released their newest vibrator called Myth; a very fitting name! Myth is the perfect partner on your quest to find your G-Spot. Designed with a magical textured pleasure point that mimics the rugae inside the wall of the vagina + G-Spot. Designed for both internal use on the G and P-Spot, Myth is also perfect for external use to stimulate the vulva, clitoris, scrotum, perineum or anywhere that hits the spot!

So fact or fiction, put the debate to the test and let Myth help you discover the truth behind the legend. Shop Myth at Lions Den now.

24 Jun

Products to Spark Intimacy

Intimacy comes in various forms. As we discussed before in PillowTalk, intimacy is not limited to only sexual interactions with a partner. There are components of trust, emotional and spiritual connections, as well as many more, that are instrumental in experiencing deep intimacy in relationships. In some cases, discovering what intimacy means to you can help you build more intimate connections with others as well. There are many ways to interpret these components, but what may work for others may not be something that works for you in your relationships. 

Here are some products to help explore various aspects of intimacy to grow and develop deeper connections with not only yourself, but your partners as well. 

Burlesque and the Art of the Teese by Dita Von Teese: $53.95

Perceptions of your partner can be a strong method of intimacy; burlesque dancing can be a strong component when manipulating those perceptions to aid in visual arousal. Dita Von Tease uses her expertise on burlesque dancing and its relation to things like fetish and other mental manipulations to spark additional arousal. This knowledge, when utilized, can be powerful when creating intimate spaces with a partner as well as creating a space that embraces your individual sexuality and body positivity. Von Teese’s goal within burlesque and fetish is to bring minds closer through engaging in this expression of sexuality.

As we learned through therapist Alyssa Mancao’s understanding of intimacy, the mental component has a strong connection to physical aspects of intimacy. With their understanding of this connection and Von Teese’s experience utilizing it, readers will not only read first hand accounts of how this practice can benefit them, but also learn helpful tips and tricks for engaging in it themselves or with a partner. 

You and Me, A Game of Love and Intimacy - Creative Conceptions: $16.95

This product is a game that features a dice, timer and multiple cards that may give commands of your partner or present thought provoking situations that will expose desires and other intimate details of their life. All of this is in an effort to promote both physical and mental intimacies while touching upon other aspects such as emotional and spiritual intimacies. This game works well with long term partners who are looking to rekindle a lost spark by rediscovering themselves as a couple, as well as for new partners who are just starting to get to know one another. Regardless of who you are using it with, it is very likely you will walk away from this game knowing your partner on a deeper level than you did before.

Lingerie: Various Prices

One of the largest requirements for intimacy is comfortability. Lingerie can be a useful piece in feeling comfortable with a partner as things start to heat up. There are plenty of brands, styles and even costumes that can bring more comfort and enjoyment to your interactions or when alone. This confidence boost can help increase your mood and perception of yourself or how you are perceived by a partner, bringing you even closer. While lingerie is often seen as something sexy, lacy, and elegant, it doesn’t particularly have to be. It can be the softest pair of boxer briefs you find of one with a funny quote like “Spank Me” across the butt to invoke some humor and lighthearted fun into your interactions. No matter the style or preference, wearing something that makes you comfortable and confident can be a step towards more intimate moments with a partner. 

Kama Sutra Weekender Kit - Kama Sutra: $23.95

The Kama Sutra is one of the oldest works of love and erotic behavior that is relatively well known in society. But unlike the assumptions that it is solely for the use of kinksters and others looking for quick tips on sex, it is also deeply psychological and touches many aspects of intimacy, more specifically, the spiritual side of intimacy. 

This kit features a combination of pleasure balms that will tantalize various areas of the body, bathing gels and massage oils, as well as a feather applicator for a Honey Dust that is edible and body safe. All of this comes backed with position and erotic cards to help embrace intimacy and closeness between partners in a way that is comfortable and relaxed for first time users. It also comes in a small travel case that allows for users to take it on romantic trips where the intent is to be as intimate as possible. 

Bijoux Indiscrets 12 Sexy Days - Bijoux Indiscrets: $148.95

Exploring similar interests is another large component of mental intimacy, but rather than the perception being the main focus, the 12 Sexy Days kit brings more direct physical intimacy into the equation. This kit includes twelve different products to help connect partners through toys that can enhance experiences in the bedroom. With light bondage toys, a vibrator, and apparel being included in this package, it is made to bring couples closer together through the use of these products. Looking solely at the kink aspect of this box, all of kink is based in trust, one of the seven elements that define intimacy. Through simply using the blindfold and being stripped of your ability to see, it requires a deeper trust in your partner that you otherwise may not have ever considered in your sexual relationships. Being able to rely on that trust through the use of the included light restraints, tickler, and whip creates a setting where you fall deeper into that physical and mental intimacy with your partner.

Intimacy is an important part of any relationship. Within romantic and sexual relationships, it can be the defining aspect of whether things work out the way you intend or not. By exploring the details of your relationship that associate with your mental, physical, spiritual and emotional attachments to one another, you can find that you have a deeper level of intimacy. 

Consistently stimulating these different connections gives way to an ongoing attachment that can make a relationship stronger and more worthwhile. Engage with your partner on multiple levels, and continue discovering the levels of intimacy that remain most important to you, with that you’ll likely find something deeper and much more fulfilling within your relationship.


20 Jun

Exploring Intimacy 

What is it that makes you feel closest to your partner? Here at Lion’s Den, we look to help build positive sexual wellness knowledge and techniques through our motto of “Pleasure, Passion, Romance.” But through all of these qualities, they share one common thread: intimacy. 

Intimacy can be experienced by everyone in unique ways, some of which have hard definitions while others are simply experienced and felt. It’s important to keep a level of intimacy going in a relationship to keep sparks alive. It isn’t inherently sexual, and there are simple and effective ways to pick up on subtle forms as well. So what are these different forms of intimacy and how can they impact your understanding of relationships and help you benefit more from them? Let’s take a deeper look at intimacy.

7 Elements that Define Intimate Relationships

Dr. Mariana Bockarova, a researcher at the University of Toronto, examines what she believes to be the seven elements that help define intimacy in an age where casual relationships are often very common in society. While teaching this subject, they found it to be the most well received idea of relationships studied within her Psychology course work. To students plagued in a climate of “ill-defined” relationships, the idea of intimacy became increasingly important.

Knowledge

One thing that sets apart casualty and intimacy is the depth of knowledge that is present in an interaction or relationship. Personal information, stories that only we have experienced, and other details that we may not be comfortable sharing with others are all factors that play into the knowledge we have of one another. 

Interdependence

Dr. Bockarova acknowledges that within intimate relationships, couples tend to be much more highly interdependent on one another. She argues that this is where “each partner influences the other meaningfully” and comes in the form of decision making. This can be where the needs or desires of one can greatly influence the decisions of another, like moving locations to another state due to school or work, family, where to go for dinner or other variables and decisions in one’s life. Essentially, the needs of their partner match the needs of themselves. 

Care

The consistent effort of caring for your partner is another important aspect of healthy intimate relationships, Dr. Bockarova argues. However, this level of care exceeds the care that would be provided to someone outside of an intimate relationship. While you may care for friends and family, the care you put into an intimate or romantic partner may look extremely different in comparison. In its rawest form, showing concern for well-being and comforting when feeling distressed. Another quality of this is the overall effort to keep one another safe from harm, both physical and emotional. But while these elements of care can be presented to anyone, the difference between the care shown to intimate partners, Dr. Bockarova says, “tend(s) to display genuine, selfless care for each other.”

Trust

Arguably holding the other six components of intimacy together is trust. But while trusting one's opinions and confiding emotions and other personal aspects in someone is important, Dr. Bockarova describes it differently. “Trust is the confidence we place in another human being,” argues Dr. Bockarova. This confidence comes from the ability to believe that your partner will not bring you purposeful harm and that within your relationship, you can rely on them to act in a way beneficial to the both of you.

Responsiveness

Being responsive to the needs of your partner is also incredibly important. This can be through simply recognizing when things are wrong and properly responding with the best methods of comfort. But ongoing support and understanding through both positive (e.g., new job, graduation) and negative (e.g., being laid off, money troubles) situations allows for a healthy intimacy between people. When these needs are met by both partners, the feelings of appreciation and love flourish.

Mutuality

For many people, when they are successfully navigating an intimate relationship, Dr. Bockarova notices a change from the individuality, to the cohesive nature of the relationship where “I” becomes “we”. Instead of saying “(Them) and I,” you substitute it with “we”. This collective nature shows a deeper connection within the relationship where the internal and external view becomes subjected to the collection of the two rather than the individual. While still defined individually by your own thoughts and interests, you become cohesive with your partner at the same time.

Commitment

When intimacy flourishes, Dr. Bockarova recognizes the mutual stepping stone to commitment and the desire to continue for the foreseeable future. Within this time, it allows for the other six components to continue to grow indefinitely. With a continued relationship and consistent growth of these components, a couple can feel secure in the relationship and the intimacy shared between them.

Now that we have defined intimacy, let’s explore how we experience it. 

The Four Types of Intimacy

Lifestyle journalist for Well+Good, Mary Grace Garis, analyses sectors of intimacy described by Alyssa Mancao, a therapist based in Los Angeles. These sectors are emotional, mental, spiritual, and physical. Individually, they present their own facets of intimacy, though many times they can overlap due to similarities or combinations of these sectors. 

(Image courtesy of @alyssamariewellness on Instagram)

Spiritual Intimacy

When people hear spirituality, it is often misunderstood for some religious meaning, though spirituality and intimacy can intersect in ways both including or never mentioning religion at all. Garis’ interpretation exposes the idea of spirituality including similar ethics and morals, while Mancao describes it as a respect for one's beliefs, a shared purpose or an ongoing initiative to be in touch with one another on a level that brings peace to one another. These shared values bring higher levels of spiritual intimacy through the mutual understandings they hold.

Mental Intimacy

Mental intimacy can come in various forms on its own as well, though it normally associates itself with ongoing subjects or ones that consistently challenge you. Dr. Brenner describes this as something that can be “great wit and repartee” with these challenges, while for others, it can simply be engaging in thoughtful conversations over similar interests or life details. These passions behind a person’s personality are what feed into mental intimacy, and while it is mental, these passions can be stimulated with action as well. Activities that are shared interests can bring about mental intimacy when they are mutually enjoyed. 

Emotional Intimacy

Garis describes emotional intimacy as being broken down into three parts: “slow down, keep it simple, and share what is hard to say.” These parts combine to process deep understandings of emotion and feelings that can impact a relationship or interactions with others. By conveying these emotions, you are communicating a deeper form of intimacy that shares vulnerability and exposes how you feel and how things impact you. Dr. Brenner stresses the importance of being earnest with these feelings. Granting yourself this level of vulnerability allows for emotional intimacy to be reached. As Dr. Brenner explains, “You can’t simultaneously protect yourself and be emotionally intimate.” Mancao expands on this idea by assuring that affection, care and ongoing affirmation of each other's feelings is equally as important. 

Physical Intimacy

The form of intimacy that is most known is physical intimacy, though this doesn’t necessarily mean sexual intimacy. This can come from simply being in close proximity to one another or through non-sexual touching like hugs or holding hands. Mental intimacy combines with physical intimacy a lot as mutual interest activities bring people together mentally and physically. Ultimately, this comfort that comes from the physical presence of one another builds connections and excitement between people, according to Dr. Brenner. There is a component of sexual touch to physical intimacy as well. This component could potentially link all four sectors of intimacy, allowing for there to be a spiritual, mental and emotional connection all at once while engaging in this physically intimate act. With physical touch and quality time both falling within physical intimacy, there may be potential links to love languages as well.

With all of these different ideas of intimacy and methods of recognizing or building deeper elements of it within relationships, it becomes increasingly apparent that it is only sexual is false. Intimacy allows for relationships to grow in a healthy, mature, and satisfying way by creating an element of comfort and bond with your partner. While it can be viewed and understood in multiple different ways, intimacy is a necessity for these relationships to grow and continue to benefit the people within them.

17 Jun

Products Addressing the Pleasure Gap

Everyone should be equal in their ability to feel sexual pleasure. While stimulation needs may vary between people, the ability to orgasm is a universal desire that everyone is capable of feeling. When looking at cis-heterosexual sexual interactions, the reality is, there is a large gap in the ability to experience pleasure to orgasm between men and women. This gap is so big, that men are 20-50% more likely to orgasm in partnered interactions whereas women are four times more likely to say they have not had pleasurable sex in the last year. 

But how can this be fixed? Multiple companies have begun taking initiative in battling this pleasure gap and, in some cases, have found great success! Here are some products and corresponding initiatives that can help you regain control of your pleasure!

Kip Silicone Vibrator - Dame Products - $89.95

Helping lead the charge in closing the pleasure gap is Dame Products, a company founded by Alexandra Fine (CEO, Sexologist) and Janet Lieberman (CPO, Engineer.) Dame stands for inclusivity on all fronts; focusing on initiatives surrounding reproductive rights, gender equality and survivor advocacy. They let this message translate into their luxury products based on sexual pleasure. 

The Kip vibrator is one of these products and features a unique design made specifically to help deliver stimulation with both broad and pinpoint accuracy. Made from medical grade silicone, the Kip has a soft body and flexible flutter tip with rounded edges and a cupped face, allowing for it to better shape to the vulva. It comes with 5 different vibrations at 5 different intensities. With it being so ergonomic, it is easy to maneuver and sits comfortably in your hand without being bulky. These designs are specifically made with vulva pleasure in mind in an effort to help push pleasure equality and close the pleasure gap. 

Read all about Dame and their initiatives through their wellness site https://swell.damewellness.co

Majesty 2 - Vush - $119.95

Based in Australia, Vush is a brand with nearly identical values as Dame in their desire for pleasure equality. With a message based on normalizing sexuality and its correlation to self care and self love, breaking stigmas surrounding sexual health is an important goal in their work. In doing this, they engineered a select few products that are specifically designed to put pleasure first for vulva owners. They developed the Majesty 2, a rechargeable wand style vibrator with 50 combinations of vibration levels and intensities. Waterproof and made of medical grade silicone, it is incredibly soft and is designed to be compact and powerful. It is small enough to be comfortable to use with a partner as well as not being bulky enough to be uncomfortable during solo use! The Majesty 2 was even featured in Cardi B’s music video, “Up.

To read more about Vush’s initiatives in normalizing the topic of sexual health and pleasure, check out their wellness site, https://www.selflovenation.com

Impulse Intimate E-Stimulator Remote Kegel Exerciser - CalExotics - $99.99

One of the oldest and most recognizable brands on the market, CalExotics is a female founded company that has been prioritizing vulva focused pleasure for decades. Part of their Impulse line of electro-stimulation vibrators is the Remote Kegel Exerciser, a wireless vibrator that also features a small electronic charge that will zap the inner walls of the vagina. Preset with 7 different vibration functions and 5 additional, independently controlled, electro stim functions, this E-Stim vibrator has the ability to stimulate in unique ways, putting pleasurable sensations first. 

Kegel products also help tone, strengthen, and tighten pelvic floor muscles, making orgasms much more intense. By adding E-Stim to the area, similar to external muscle stimulators, electronic pulses can help increase muscle activation, aiding in strengthening the pelvic floor. Made of primarily silicone and a metallic plating, the Kegel Exerciser is both smooth and comfortable for long term use. With the combinations possible from the mix of shocks and vibrations, it can provide a niche amount of stimulation pushing pleasure to the forefront of each use!

Satisfyer Pro 2 Next Generation - Satisfyer - $89.99

Our most highly reviewed clitoral stimulator, the Satisfyer Pro 2 Next Generation is one of the most popular toys on the market right now. Featuring a 4.7/5 star average and 94% of people recommending it to a friend, the Pro 2 NG is paving the way for clitoral stimulation to be the focus of new toys and to show that, for many, effective clitoral stimulation can be the make or break point for orgasming in many vulva owners. 

It’s hard plastic exterior is a little large, but makes it easy to grip when using in the shower or bath and utilizing its waterproof design. The softer silicone tip is shaped like an oval, allowing for the device to rest well between the labia and over the clit. This suction and vibration mixture also lightly stimulates the areas surrounding the opening, giving a much broader sensation as well. It also features a magnetic charging port for its 11 programs. The over 100 reviews can’t be wrong, when it comes to clitoral pleasure, the Pro 2 NG should be at the top of your list of considerations.

CG Nip Nibs Cooling Arousal Balm Classic Brands - $10.95

If direct stimulation to your genitals isn’t your preferred way of getting pleasure, the Nip Nibs Arousal Balm by Classic Brands might help you get the additional stimulation you need to reach a satisfying orgasm. 

Pleasure can stem from multiple sources, so utilizing additional sensations in areas like your nipples may aid in your overall experience. Nip Nibs is a nipple stimulant balm that gives cooling and tingling sensations to the area applied. This means that you could even use it in other places you might be sensitive, like your neck or other erogenous zones. Think of it as an aid that could bring additional pleasures to masturbating or your sexual interactions, making things more satisfying overall. 

The pleasure gap is an unfair reality between cis-heterosexual people, but luckily there is a growing awareness surrounding this issue and people have taken the initiative to create change. With these sex positive and pleasure forward companies becoming more mainstream, as well as people actively taking back their pleasure in their relationships, the pleasure gap may shrink over time. For this to happen, people must continue to be aware and work towards pleasure being equal in the bedroom, and not just end after the first person orgasms.

14 Jun

Strokers are a great tool to use for penial stimulation. While some are designed to give it the look and feel of real skin, others take more initiative to offer different and unique sensations that can aid in its use to give you a mind blowing orgasm. This is the idea behind the CalExotics Optimum Power Pulsar Stroker and many other products within the CalExotics Optimum line. 

Overview:

The Pulsar is one of the high end powered strokers within the Optimum line. Designed to be a luxury stroker, it features many different functions for the user to explore while still using it as a standard stroker. With four different vibration settings, 3 preset levels of suction as well as a manual suction and air release button, there are plenty of different combinations to discover. It includes a soft, interior sleeve and charging via USB-C. While the casing is not waterproof, the sleeve is and can be removed for easy cleaning. The easy touch pad keeps controls simple with 5 buttons, one for powering the device, buttons dedicated to both preset vibration and suction settings, and both the manual suction and air release buttons. It advertises itself at roughly 1.5 hours of runtime at low speed and can be charged fully within two hours!

Build Quality:

After opening the box, the first thing I noticed was the weight of the Pulsar. While not extremely heavy, it’s enough to surprise you, but it ultimately feels premium and of solid materials. The case is made of a hard external plastic that is easy to grip and fits comfortably in the hand. However, people with smaller hands might find it to be a little too large to comfortably grasp for long periods of time. It features two flat ends as well, so storing it upright is easy rather than letting it roll around under the bed or on a nightstand. 

Located on the back of the device, right under the manual suction button, is the charging port. The placement is good, and with the protective overlay, it seems well protected from lubed up fingers while in use, although the overlay feels flimsy and may tear off easily. The buttons are soft and click well with embedded designs for their use. The cap at the end, protecting and preserving the internal sleeve when not in use, fits well with a slight locking ‘click’ when removing or replacing it. 

The sleeve is incredibly soft and squishy with plenty of ripples and bumps to provide stimulation. It does feel relatively easy to tear if too aggressive with cleaning. There is also a ring around the outside of the sleeve opening in order to help preserve its shape which is extremely well crafted, though it does make stretching out the sleeve for cleaning much more difficult.

Performance:

When being used as a stand alone stroker, without any additional uses, it feels just like any other one on the market. It’s soft design makes it comfortable to use and its closed back is pretty standard. The buttons are very satisfying with an audible ‘click’ and immediate additional stimulation. The motor is housed in the far end of the external shell, making the vibration setting most prominent the deeper you go. The suction, however, can be felt around the entirety of the penis, and it is pretty strong. The presets are nice, but the manual suction is where you can tailor it to your own liking while consistently altering the air release to immerse yourself in a new type of stimulation. At a high enough setting, it can be difficult to even stroke with it still. The vibration alone left a lot to be desired. It’s too tame to get much stimulation from it on its own, but it does provide a nice addition to the suction when it’s at its highest setting, though still not much more to set it apart.

My Experience:

Strokers alone are pretty tame for me, but after some time exploring what the Pulsar can offer, I can confidently recommend it due to my own enjoyment. It took a little bit to get used to, but with enough exploring of the settings, it’s easy to find a way to give yourself the best stimulation. I was very impressed with the suction itself; It was powerful and didn’t feel unnatural. When using the suction midway down the shaft, it was so powerful that it would slowly suck me in further. Even with a curved penis, it didn’t feel uncomfortable. At the absolute highest setting, it did feel a bit tight, but not enough that it hurt. 

While the individual presets were nice, I found myself using the manual controls the most. It helped me use it the way I enjoy being stimulated rather than being locked into the presets. I was, however, disappointed in the lack of powerful vibration. I feel that if the vibration came from the sides rather than the tip, it would have been a much better sensation. Regardless, it didn’t give me enough additional stimulation to warrant using it on its own. 

The couple issues I do have are minor for the most part. The suction may be powerful, but if you attempt to stroke while using it, any gap lets out a loud “fart” from the air being released and that, as I’m sure you could guess, takes you out of the moment. My other gripe is cleaning. The device itself isn’t waterproof, so any lube you may get on the sides of the outer case cannot be rinsed off easily. The outer ring around the opening is great when in use, but it does not allow for easy cleaning by flipping the sleeve inside out like most other strokers. Any attempt at trying or simply stretching the sleeve made me think it was going to tear, so cleaning the inside of the sleeve was very difficult. Other than those minor flaws, it’s still very nice to use.

Ultimately, the CalExotics Optimum Power Pulsar Stroker is a very nice stroker to have at your disposal. It provides a unique pleasure experience that many other strokers will not give you. While there are still some flaws in its design, I don’t think that they are prominent enough to make you avoid this product entirely. If you are a penis owner that gains any type of satisfaction from suction, I highly recommend that you consider the Pulsar in your next shopping trip.

Enjoy 20% off all Optimum products by CalExotics during the month of June.




11 Jun

Toys for Foreplay

Foreplay can be extremely important for anyone to not only get into the mood for sexual activity, but for some, it can even help build stimulation to make any sexual activity more pleasurable. But how exactly can it be utilized if you’re relatively new to extended foreplay? There are many different ways to include little amounts throughout your daily routine and when things start to turn a little spicier in the bedroom. This can be through toy use or creating an atmosphere that helps you feel comfortable. In some cases, foreplay can be entirely non-sexual in order to establish comfort, and it doesn't even need to be done with a partner. Here are some useful tools to help aid you in exploring foreplay both alone and with a partner.

Pheromones and Aphrodisiacs:

We’ve talked a lot about pheromones on PillowTalk lately, but for good reason! There have been numerous studies since being defined in 1959 that look at behavioral patterns in humans and other animals. While any conclusive evidence is still up for debate, there is evidence that, when exposed to pheromones, humans can respond to them with higher levels of focus and improved mood, both very important in building sexual satisfaction and desire. Pheromone oils, perfumes and colognes mix these properties with other scents allowing them to act as aphrodisiacs that can spike interest levels. This can be through scents like vanilla, lavender, or other calming and desirable smells.

Product Recommendations: 

Restraints:

Restricting someone’s ability to move can be useful in many different ways. For some, basic wrist restraints or simply pinning their arms down can be enough. For others, more aggressive items like under the bed restraints can provide that locked down feeling they need. By being restrained, it can help with arousal by putting yourself or your partner in a state of helplessness or potentially feeling more secure in their position. Using it as a form of foreplay can be different and exciting, but it’s important to always stay with your partner when they are restrained in order to keep them safe. This feeling of being restrained may not be for everyone as well, so be sure to communicate well with your partner before attempting it. (Learn more about restraints and an introduction to kink in our blog here.)

Product Recommendations: 


Technique Recommendations: 

  • Beginner: Grab the wrists of your partner and pin their hands above their head. If laying down, have your partner cross their arms behind their back while laying on their back.
  • Advanced: If you have a large headboard with posts, look for and study safe rope ties online to tie your partner’s wrists to the bed so they are physically restrained while still allowing you to use your hands.

Self Exploration:

A lot of times, people associate pleasure with direct genital stimulation through whatever means necessary, but that isn’t the only erogenous zone on the body. Taking the time to explore your own body or your partners can help learn little aspects and areas that you might derive additional pleasures from. Nipple stimulation can be very pleasurable to some and is often overlooked in the grand scheme of sexual interactions. Aside from the nipples, there are various other sensitive areas of the body such as the neck, inner thigh, the sides of the abdomen, and many more. These areas aren’t often explored in sex or other self pleasure techniques making them prime realestate for potential pleasurable sensations. Maybe you have no interest in practicing penetrative anal, but with exploration you find that you really enjoy just rubbing the rim of your anus. This is not crossing your limit, but you discovered something new to explore in the future!

Sensation Play:

When engaging in self exploration, it can be useful to play with different sensations as well to see where you can be most sensitive and with what. Feathers and other softer objects like fur can be gentle and ticklish along the body. They can be used for lighter touches that feel more elegant and easy on your body. You can even use pinwheels, fingernails or the edge of a credit card to provide a sharper sensation that is more aggressive but can pinpoint a precise area that you want to be stimulated. Floggers and other impact toys can provide both stingy and thuddy sensations to feel pressure against your body with each strike. Each of these sensations are subjective to the individual and should be discussed beforehand if with a partner, but can be incredibly useful when utilized correctly. Using a blindfold can also help increase the sensation due to restricting sight, leaving you unsure of where you will be stimulated!


Product Recommendations:

Set the Atmosphere:

While all of these techniques can help set the mood, the wrong atmosphere can take you out of an intimate moment at any time. Setting the tone of your space, whether it’s your mental space or setting, can greatly impact your experience as a whole. Take the time to set up your space to be as comfortable as possible in order to make things more intimate and pleasurable. This can be through candles, fresh sheets, your favorite record in the background or whatever you resonate most with. It can be in the bath, bedroom, or wherever you’d like. Creating an atmosphere meant for pleasure without the setbacks of everyday life or outside stimulus can help immerse you deeper into your sexual activity.

Product Recommendations:

Wearable Vibrators:

For some people, the idea of having pleasure at any moment without the outside world knowing can be extremely arousing. The use of wireless, remote control vibrators allows this to be a reality, with some even utilizing app controlled devices to make connecting easier. It can be as simple as using it while at home enjoying a day off or as exciting as wearing it while running errands. This can provide a controlled amount of stimulation to help prepare you for intercourse with a partner or even if you want a little extended masturbatory pleasure. Regardless, it’s discrete and can be worn anytime without inhibiting your ability to do other things at the same time. In fact, it can even be used with other forms of foreplay!

Product Recommendations:

07 Jun

Foreplay 101

Foreplay is an important step to take before engaging in any sexual act. Not only can it help set the mood and put you into a better, more peaceful mindset, it can also help induce natural body reactions that can aid in your sexual experience as a whole. For some people, foreplay is the only way for them to have pleasurable sex in any capacity. But what exactly is it, and how can it differ between people?

As described by Stefan Bechtel in the Practical Encyclopedia of Sex and Health, if intercourse is like an entrée, then foreplay is the appetizer. Look at cocktail hours or parties where they only serve hors d’oeuvres. You can be just as satisfied with an abundance of the little things as you would be for an entire meal. Foreplay is very similar to this mentality. It is the accumulation of little aspects that lead into something more pleasurable. In some cases, this might include intercourse, but in many others, it can be used to extend pleasure over long periods of time. This takes away the idea that foreplay’s sole purpose is to lead to intercourse, which for a number of reasons might not be the case. Whether extending pleasure, remaining abstinent, or simply exploring your own desires on your own, foreplay can be utilized.

Instead of associating foreplay with sexual intercourse, it’s much more accurate to associate it with arousal and pleasure as a separate entity entirely. Whether people realize it or not, forms of foreplay are a lot more common than you think. In its simplest form, kissing can be considered a type of foreplay just like cuddling or petting your partner. The beauty comes in how subjective it is. For some, it needs to be soft and gentle like tracing your fingertips across your partners abs or breasts. For others, it can be much more aggressive, such as heavy grinding while entangling your tongues together. It can even go deeper when including other forms of sexuality within things like kink, where someone feeling rope encasing their body or restraining them can be just as stimulating as petting, grinding or teasing their erogenous zones. The thing that all of these different forms have in common is that they all help spark arousal in an individual. This arousal increases desire and can aid in getting endorphins buzzing in the brain, making many different stimuli even more pleasurable than they already were. 

But is foreplay necessary?

Well, yes and no, because  it can be subjective to the person. While some people do not care much for foreplay, many others require it. In one study, 709 vulva owning nurses were asked to rank the importance of things that affected their ability to reach orgasm. Their biggest complaint was the amount of time spent with foreplay. Further analysis of this study by Paul Gebhard, discovered that only 7.7% of surveyed people failed to reach orgasm after 21 minutes of foreplay. So foreplay is a big deal for a large percentage of people for different reasons.

A penis owner, for example, might need elements of foreplay in order to have an erection -- especially with age, older penis owners might find that they don’t get erect as easily as they did in their teen years. For these individuals, foreplay is crucial in order to be able to masturbate or have intercourse with their partner. Vulva owners may have similar instances where, rather than having an erection, they may not be able to self lubricate enough in order to have pleasurable penetration or be slick enough to properly stimulate their labia and clitoris the way they like it. This can often also be attributed to age, and in some cases, there are vulva owners who cannot or have very little self lubrication at all. If it is being utilized for penetrative intercourse or masturbation techniques, foreplay is necessary to not only create the ability to have pleasure, but also to have lasting pleasure that can continue throughout the duration of their sexual act. 

Types of Stimulation

Mental stimulation can be useful if you create an atmosphere that allows you to focus on your senses. Pheromones are the body’s natural chemicals released in order to affect the behavior in another person, commonly to attract. It’s important to know that these are involuntary actions within the body and happen all the time, but that doesn’t mean that pheromones can’t be exploited or utilized more aggressively. Using things like pheromone oils, perfumes and colognes mixed with your body’s natural pheromones can create new and unique scents that affect your partner’s brain in different ways. Just like how these scents on their own might make you feel sexier or more confident, they can be just as useful with or without a partner. 

Stimulating or narrowing in on your senses can be a creative, simple way to explore foreplay. For example, by softly touching your partner or self, you allow sensations to build. Using a feather for tickling, your nails for sharper scratching, or even biting can build even more arousal. Another easy technique is restricting sight through the use of a blindfold. When we limit one sense, it can enhance the other senses. Sound feels more intimidating, a touch feels softer or more aggressive, tastes more flavorful. All of these methods and more can be powerful tools in manipulating your mind into creating more pleasurable sensations.

Solo Foreplay

While all of this seems like it can only be done with a partner, don’t neglect its uses within a self love and self care routine. Masturbation, for example, can often separate someone from their sexual desires if they only masturbate to have a quick orgasm and be done. It takes away the sensuality and little details that bring about arousal to begin with, as well as creates this illusion that engaging in these sexual desires is meant to be short term and straight to the point. How many times have you heard the phrase, “It’s not about where you’re going, it’s about how you get there.”? The same principle can be attributed to foreplay. Sure, a quick orgasm has its time and place, but it should never take away your ability to have lasting pleasure. By incorporating foreplay into these self love routines, you allow yourself to expand your idea of self pleasure and potentially learn new ways of being aroused in general. Using sensual care products for self-pleasure, enjoying a warm bath while masturbating, teasing yourself, and setting the mood for yourself are all ways to enjoy foreplay while playing solo. 

So maybe you’ve always done the bare minimum for foreplay. Whether it’s alone or with a partner, you feel like you’ve tried it all and you’re wanting to step up your game a little bit with some new ideas to explore. Where do you start? Remember, everyone is different and what might work for some people might not work for all, so make sure you communicate with your partner if trying anything new with them. Here are some product recommendations and techniques to try the next time you feel the urge to satisfy any sexual desire.

Use your words!

Communication is key, but that little bit of sexy talk with a partner might help them develop a mental image of what you want to do with them before you even start touching each other. For this, you can be as graphic or vague as your comfort level entails and if you add a personal touch to it, it might just send them over the edge. The point of sexual interactions is to enjoy yourself, so have some fun with it!

Play a game!

There are plenty of games that you can play to help ease into the mood while still enjoying time with your partner. Things like Strip Poker or products from Kheper Games, ChronicleBooks and more can all help make things more sensual for those with a competitive streak. Some are straight to the point, like position dice that can tell you who does what, and others help build communication by having you answer questions based on your deepest fantasies. Play a couple rounds and make a few bets, you might just find yourselves all tangled up under the sheets with your partner!

Bath or shower time!

Soaking in the tub or having a nice warm shower can be extremely relaxing. Use it to your advantage! If you’re taking a bath, find a bath bomb that has all of your favorite colors and properties you love, maybe light a candle or two and just absorb the relaxation while stimulating yourself. If a bath isn’t your style, essential oils are extremely potent in smell and mix well in the steam that comes from a shower. It’s the same idea as lighting a candle to get those special scents, only these become much stronger due to the potency. Pheromone oils also work very well in the shower, only they do not have the unique properties they would have when being worn.

Give yourself or a partner a striptease!

You don’t have to be a pro, but feeling yourself in the moment and getting lost in your body can be just as stimulating for yourself as it is for a partner. Stripping often has a stigma, but in reality, it often boosts confidence, feels liberating and even can be good for your health! Similar to other flowy movements like yoga, it can help you feel more comfortable in your body and loosen you up in preparation for intercourse if that is the goal, or just for general self love!

Give a massage!

You might think you’d need a partner to give a massage, but it’s not too difficult to give yourself the same sensations on your own. Using different massage oils and massage candles, a gentle massage over the body can help relax both you or a partner and potentially help with blood circulation. Alone, the only difference is you’re stimulating your own body at a different angle, so the same relaxing properties can come from just feeling yourself and exploring different parts of your body.

Roleplay!

You don’t need to be an Academy Award winner to fulfill your wildest dreams and fantasies, but a little effort to fill the role for yourself or your partner can go a long way. Roleplay can manipulate the mind by bending reality to fulfil your desire. This can help someone feel heroic in a role that makes them a savior or aid someone in feeling like their favorite character in a game or television show. Ultimately, this can help raise endorphins and serotonin levels creating similar euphoric sensations mentally to other more direct forms of foreplay.

Overall, foreplay is a useful and in many cases, necessary tool for pleasure exploration both alone and with a partner. It doesn’t need to be physical or even direct stimulation to the genitals to be effective, all you need are the tools to associate pleasure with something new and tame. Similar to what Stefan Bechtel said, foreplay is the preparation for something greater. The missing piece to getting you to the place you can derive your pleasure from. Foreplay can be whatever you make of it; whether for a quick orgasm or one that spans hours, but a little extra effort can make all the difference.

 

What are some of your favorite foreplay activities?

 

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