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?

 

03 Jun

VUSH and the Orgasm Gap

Wages aren’t the only thing there's a gap in, so let’s talk about the ‘orgasm gap’. Orgasm gap, pleasure gap, or orgasm inequality; whatever you want to call it, it’s very real!

What is it?

The orgasm gap is the difference between how often people with penises orgasm during sex compared to the orgasm rate of people with vulvas. 98% of people with penises always orgasm, compared to only 65% of those with vulvas during heterosexual intercourse.

Why is this the case?

There are multiple issues that have led to this gap. One is a misunderstanding of anatomy. People have shared that their partners are unaware of how to hit the right spots, making it more difficult for them to orgasm. Another reason found was that about 30% of people in heterosexual relationships believe that vaginal penetration is the best way to reach climax, when actually, the majority of people with vulvas said that clitoral stimulation is more important.

Hook up culture, more specifically heterosexual college hook up culture, is a big player (pun intended) in the gap of orgasms, with reports saying that cisgendered men are far less likely to care about pleasure for their partner during a hook up, with the partner less likely to reach climax. This is also hugely due to the fact that many do not perform cunnilingus during a hookup.

The lack of education about the clitoris

Sexual education can be a big factor on why many don’t know their partners or their own sexual anatomy. What is taught in schools is reproductive health, not sexual health. The focus on orgasms and arousal only in regards to reproductive needs, rather than around pleasure, means education only focuses on people with penises.

Many people not knowing the vulvas anatomy or the clitoris is another big reason for this gap! In a lot of anatomy texts, the vagina is labelled to be the main erogenous zone, when the clitoris has 8,000 nerve endings and is the only body part specifically and only for pleasure.

What does VUSH have to do with it?

VUSH knows how stigmatised self pleasure and masturbation can be, especially for people with vulvas! VUSH are closing the gap by putting sexual wellness at the forefront of people's minds. As a brand that knows self love is nothing to be ashamed of, it’s no surprise that self love advocate herself, Cardi B chose to join their movement. It’s about time we saw more self love toys in the mainstream and VUSH are already there! They love partnering with people that want to be a voice for change, which is why Majesty 2 was the perfect co-star for Cardi B’ in her music video for Up!

VUSH works with influencers from all walks of life, whether it’s a mummy blogger or a sexual wellness professional, because self pleasure doesn’t look the same for everyone.

Shop VUSH’s full range of vibrators including their new G-Spot vibrator, Myth, available and exclusive to Lion’s Den for a limited time. Help close the pleasure gap and shop VUSH now.

31 May
There’s only one day left in Masturbation Month and that means only one more day to nominate someone who you think deserves to be given an extra hand! Our “Give Her a Hand” promotion is to help showcase all those people who deserve a little extra in their pleasure journey. Whether it be a friend who is a single parent throughout these trying times or someone who is always there for you when you need it, we want to give THEM the chance to win an Evolved Novelties vibrator valued at over $100! There will be 50 different winners so chances of winning are high! The rules are simple, head on over and follow our Instagram account, @lionsdenadult , and find our original post for the promotion (Hint: it was posted around mid-May). Then, simply like the post and comment who you think is most deserving! Boom, three steps and you’re done. Can’t get any easier than that, right? Well, it might be a little bit more difficult because you have less than 24 hours left! Nominations close tonight, May 31st, 2021, at 11:59pm EST, so make sure you get them in before midnight on the east coast! Eligible individuals MUST be 18 years or older with a valid Instagram account prior to the beginning of the contest period. They must also have internet access to receive notifications on if they win or not. For more rules and regulations, check them out at https://www.lionsden.com/contestrules!
27 May

Whether it’s initiating sexual interaction with a partner, keeping it going in the moment, or even in a solo session, sometimes you might need a little help to enhance your experience for the better. It’s nothing to be ashamed of and, over time, it becomes much more common as people get older. Luckily, there are numerous different products available to help anywhere you might need it, such as desensitizing lubricants, pheromone oils, or even lotions that can enhance your experience. These products aren’t just limited to people who need help though, so be sure to consider them when looking for new ways to potentially improve your sexual activities!

Desensitizing Products:

Perfect for anyone who might be prone to overstimulation or may prematurely ejaculate, desensitizing gels, lubricants and other styles have become increasingly popular. The properties within these products allow for the user to feel a wide variety of sensations. Many balms help numb specific areas, such as the clitoris, for a short period of time to protect from over stimulation. Others act as a lubricant that can be slightly absorbed into the designated area while still providing a slick surface for intercourse. Both share similar properties, but have different uses. There are even some that can help affect your throat in order to perform oral sex without gagging or feeling strain on your tongue or jaw.

Pheromone Products:

These types of products can come in many forms. Through the use of oils, colognes and perfumes, or other scented items, pheromone products play into the body’s natural response to this chemical, attracting you to the scent or other person. There have been studies that show evidence linking these pheromones to aphrodisiacs in a way that make them extremely similar. While it may not induce sexual attractions between you and another person, it can potentially help build up confidence when interacting with others as well as improve sexual satisfaction if the situation arises. These scents and oils often mix with your own body’s natural pheromones creating a unique scent specific to you. This you’ll find most effective with a partner, but pheromones can help when you're masturbating as well.

Temperature Variant Products:

Sometimes, regular stimulation is satisfying, but just a little more could bring it from good to great. Temperature variant products like heating and cooling lubricants can be extremely useful in providing additional sensations that may be the missing piece in finding total satisfaction. While some are much more intense than others, some can provide a mixed effect, like variant condoms that provide heat for one person and cooling for the other. It is important to note that these are unique materials that allow for this type of effect, so make sure that you are not allergic or overly sensitive to them before use. Also, these products are specially made for the body and safe for intimate use, DO NOT use any muscle relaxing temperature variant patches, sprays or creams as an alternative.

These various enhancement products can be very useful in both personal and partner use when it comes to exploring new sensations. While for some they may not be necessary, for others they can be the thing that helps make sex or masturbation pleasurable again. Luckily, for the remainder of the month of May, 2021, Jelique is on sale for 20% off and features a wide variety of these products both in store and online. Be sure to consider them before your next shopping trip!


24 May

Not everyone likes the same stimulation when it comes to masturbating. For many penis owners, masturbation has always been strictly through stroking the shaft until orgasm. But did you know, even with a straightforward approach like that, that it can be varied even further? Stroking alone doesn’t need to be the only way you masturbate, so let’s look into even more ways of self pleasure with a penis!

Vibration:

Vibrators are often associated solely with vulva-centered pleasure, but there are just as many uses for penis owners as well! Depending on where you are most sensitive, vibration can be an incredibly effective way to enhance your stroking methods, or even receive pleasure without the need to stroke. Specialized vibrators are made that can surround common sensitive areas like the penial glans (penis head), or be more focused on areas such as the frenulum. Some even act as a cock ring as well, increasing sensitivity while extending duration. An often overlooked area where these vibrations could be effective is the perineum, as this can provide sensations between the anus and scrotum. In some cases, this can even help stimulate the prostate without having to penetrate your anus!

Sounding:

Urethral sounding can be a terrifying concept at first, and it is not for everyone, but for many people it is the gateway to many more pleasurable sensations than they could have dreamed of! Sounding is when you carefully insert a long rod into your uretral, penetrating your penis. Some are smaller and act as a plug of sorts, while others are longer and can go much deeper into your body. This provides a stimulation unlike any other that can help stimulate areas where you otherwise will never be able to be stimulated. Training sets are commonly found and can include various girths to help meet your needs, whether it be to stretch or to simply fit snugly in your urethra. While many are made of metal, there are some made of high grade, flexible silicone to make it easier to start with. Be sure to ALWAYS completely sanitize your sounds in boiling water for the safest experience.

Edging:

Prolonging your orgasm over time isn’t something that can only be utilized by penis owners, as this can be done with vulva owners as well, but for many, it may be something you’ve never experienced or considered! With roots in the kink community, edging is when you bring yourself close to climax without pushing yourself past that point of no return. By building yourself up, you experience the same pleasurable sensations that you would by normally masturbating, only extended by the amount of times you edge. The more you do it, the more pleasure you gain, making the climax even more satisfying. This can even be used as a way to practice lasting longer with a partner by teaching yourself the proper ways of holding back, slowing down and focusing on the lasting sensations that don’t occur just while actively masturbating, but during the entire experience.

Masturbation for penis owners is often mistaken as a very straightforward activity. One where your options are solely left hand, right hand and how fast you go, but it doesn’t need to be so basic. By utilizing other methods, you can discover many other forms of self pleasure that you may not have experienced before and can bring an orgasm like no other. Don’t be afraid to try new techniques or to branch out with things you may have never thought of, you never know what kind of pleasure can come from it!


20 May

Exploring your body and the things that bring you pleasure is an important part in discovering your sexuality. For some, masturbation may look one way, while for others it can look completely different. Specific sensations might be necessary to hit your erogenous zones just right for you to have a mind-blowing orgasm. This could be due to being overly sensitive somewhere or even needing more intense pressure. No matter what you need to be satisfied, here are some other ways to consider getting that proper stimulation you crave!

Shower Head Stimulation:

That detachable shower head has more uses than just for rinsing off and a makeshift microphone, it can also be your best friend for stimulation in the shower! Water is completely body safe and it allows for many different sensations based on the type of settings it has. The narrower settings shoot out water aggressively for a sharper, more direct sensation which can be more in tune with a vibration. Wider ones, on the other hand, have more of a pulsating sensation due to the lower pressure of the water coming out. There are even some settings with a mix of the two to find the perfect balance.

Stimulating the Senses:

Pleasure isn’t just the body’s response to physical sensations, it’s also heavily influenced by stimulating your senses! Putting yourself in various settings prior or after masturbating can often help your attempt at pleasuring yourself. For some, an elegant, sexier atmosphere set by a lit candle, sensual bath and all those movie-esk scenes might be exactly what they need to be relaxed enough to masturbate. For others, it can be much more intense like the smell of leather and the crack of a whip that puts them in that mindset. Whatever you need to set that mood, utilize it to the best of your ability. While you might not need it all the time, these little sensations brought on by playing with your senses can be a great addition to any solo or mutual masturbation session!

Grinding:

Sometimes direct stimulation to your genitals can be too intense. Whether you’re overly sensitive in a specific area, have pain, or are blocked by other reasons, you might need something a little gentler and not so aggressive. Grinding is something you can do, even while clothed, to help give a different sensation while rubbing against something like a couch armrest. With a mix of your body weight and movement to create this pressure, you can allow yourself to move naturally to match what sensations you crave in that moment, similarly to if you were doing it with a partner. If done while wearing clothes, the barrier can provide a gentler sensation that isn’t as intense directly grinding with your genitals exposed. This can be great at preventing overstimulation or if you have medical reasons that prevent you from directly stimulating the area. This can also be great to utilize with a partner if you are practicing abstinence, masturbating together, starting foreplay or cannot have sex for other reasons.

Pleasure can come from multiple different sources depending on the person. Some may need straightforward stimulation directly to their erogenous zones while for others it might be a little more complex. When these endorphins are buzzing, it doesn’t matter how you got there, only the pleasure you’re experiencing is important. Whether it’s a mix of the mental and physical, or strictly one or the other, the possibilities are endless and subjective to you and what you derive your pleasure from, so if you’re having trouble finding that sweet spot, don’t be afraid to try something new!

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