Equal Pay Day 2016

Equal Pay Day 2016

Raising Awareness of Ontario’s Growing Gender Wage Gap Through Equal Pay Day 2016

 

April 19th, 2016 marks a day we’d rather not celebrate; it’s Equal Pay Day in Ontario.

Equal Pay Day is the day of the year when women in Ontario have worked enough to earn what men earned by the end of 2015. In other words, at a 31.5% gender pay gap, women have to work for 15.5 months to equal what men make in 12 (that’s an additional 3.5 months). The gender pay gap is even greater for women who are racialized, Indigenous, immigrants or temporary migrants, disabled, or LGBTQ.

Equal Pay Day in Canada

Across Canada, six provinces–Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Ontario, and Quebec–have enacted specific pay equity legislation while Saskatchewan, Newfoundland, and British Columbia have developed policy frameworks for negotiating pay equity. All provinces and Territories across Canada have human rights legislation which prohibits discrimination in employment. Federally, Canada’s first pay equity legislation was enacted in the federal jurisdiction in 1977 under section 11 of the Canadian Human Rights Act (CHRA). In 2004, a federal Task Force released a report with key recommendations including a new stand-alone equal pay legislation, but no such law has been developed.

 

Meanwhile, in Ontario…

In Ontario, the gender wage gap in 2011 (the most recent year of available data) was 31.5% and up from 28% in 2010. That means women made 68.5 cents to every dollar a man made in 2011, down from 72 cents in 2010. For that same period, men’s average annual earnings in Ontario rose by $200, while women’s average annual earnings decreased by $1,400. The wage gap is highest for women ages 35-44 (38.5%), while women who are racialized, first generation immigrants, or aboriginal fair worse than their male counterparts (24%, 27%, and 40% fewer earnings respectively). Taken over a lifetime, this means that women must work an extra 14 years and retire at 79 to retire with the same income as would a man at the standard retirement age of 65!

 

Wearing Red, and Other Awareness-raising Activities

In April 2014, the Ontario government agreed to hold Equal Pay Day on an annual basis to draw attention to the gender wage gap crisis in Ontario. Since 2013, Equal Pay Day has come exceedingly later, from April 9th, to the 16th in 2014, and now the 19th this year. There are many Equal Pay Day activities happening across Ontario and online. Supporters are encouraged to wear red to demonstrate that discriminatory pay gaps keep women “in the red,” and to share the hashtag #EPD2016 on social media.

In Ottawa, supporters will be gathering at the corner of Albert and Metcalfe Streets at 4:30pm - 5:30pm to hand out stickers and buttons. Further details about Equal Pay Day and the gender wage gap in Ontario can be found at http://equalpaycoalition.org/

 

Andrea Vandette has a Degree in Women’s Studies and Cultural Anthropology from the University of Western Ontario, and has spent the last 5 years working in International Development in Canada and abroad. Currently based in Ottawa, Ontario, Andrea’s interests include playing rugby, living an active, healthy lifestyle, and biking on the Rideau Canal with her dog.  
BDSM 101: Common First Time Mistakes

BDSM 101: Common First Time Mistakes

Ms Morgan Thorne has been a lifestyle dominant for 20 years and a Professional Dominatrix for 6 years. She can be reached at her website, twitter, and Facebook.

The first time you decide to do a BDSM scene can be nerve wracking.

You’ve (hopefully!) done all the preliminary things, negotiated what you want to do, chosen your safe words or chosen not to use them. You and your partner are likely anticipating play, much like waiting for christmas when you were young. You both likely have some expectations about how things will play out, which may or may not be realistic.

Often people whose only experiences with kink have been adult material (books, video, the internet, etc), will have ideas that aren’t terribly feasible. Remember, you and (maybe) your partner are going into this without previous experience, you’re probably going to make some mistakes. Lets talk about some of the most common ones that people experience in their first few scenes.

Mismatched Expectations

Often there are complaints from one or both partners about going too far or not far enough. This can result from mismatched expectations and ideas, which is where more thorough negotiation is needed. It can also result from simple inexperience - partners who haven’t done something before may hold back for fear of making mistakes or push too hard due to overconfidence.

In both cases, clear and honest communication is the answer. If we check in with our partners during play, making sure that they are enjoying things, we will have a better chance of scene success.

Many people use the ‘traffic light’ system to communicate during play.

It’s fairly simple and ties into the use of traffic signals for safe words. The Top will ask the bottom “What’s your colour?” and the bottom will reply with “green” to mean good, “yellow” to mean they are getting close to a limit, or “red” to express the need to communicate further, stop the particular activity or stop play entirely.

Another way for a Top to get a feel for where a bottom is at is using the 1-10 scale.

Again, the top can ask “what number are you at?” and the bottom can reply with a number between one and ten. Generally for play that involves pain, it is good to keep the bottom around a seven. Going above that point is reserved for more intense masochists or scenes where you’ve negotiated a pushing of limits. Ending the scene before the bottom gets to a seven can result in the bottom not feeling satisfied with play.

Of course those are just general guidelines, everyone is different and play should be tailored for your individual partner.

When playing with a new partner, I would much rather have a scene be not intense enough, rather than too intense. I can always go harder or more intensely the next time we play, but I can’t take it back if I’ve pushed too far, if a bottom didn’t feel comfortable telling me when they were at their limit or other similar issues. I explain this to all my new partners, and most appreciate my caution - those who don’t aren’t a good fit for me.

Playing Above Your Skill Level

This isn’t a mistake reserved only for Tops, bottoms can overestimate their abilities as well.

As Tops, if we play above our skill level, we can have many problems. We could, as a worst case scenario, do something that causes injury to our bottoms. We could harm them in ways that they did not consent to and that we didn’t intend. Much of BDSM is potentially dangerous, and it is our responsibility to ensure the safety of our bottoms.

We can also lose the trust of our bottoms - especially if we cause injury, but also if they feel that we put them at risk because of our lack of skill. Finally, in playing above our skill level, we can have an awkward and unfulfilling scene.

Bottoms playing above their skill level risk getting hurt. The hurt could be physical in nature, if the bottom exaggerates their skill or experience in an area such as rope bondage, which can be physically taxing. Unskilled bottoms who exaggerate experience can risk nerve damage, since they don’t know when to tell the rigger about issues and may think that the issues they are experiencing are normal.

They can also be harmed emotionally, if a top doesn’t know about hidden triggers or other problems. Finally, they risk losing the trust of their Top, who has to rely on them to be honest about desires and limits.

Often, in our excitement over a scene we will not prepare properly. We have a super hot scenario running through our minds, but lack the skill to prepare for it or just get too wrapped up in the fantasy to do the mundane parts.

Before starting, it’s always wise to gather all your supplies, practice anything you need to and be sure you have things there ‘just in case’. This can include a way to cut rope for bondage, a first aid kit and even condoms, in case you’re both in the mood after or sex is a negotiated part of the scene.

Too Focused on the Details

Being too focused on the details can result in a scene that can feel scripted and mechanical. If you’ve fantasized about a scene for so long that you and your partner have to learn lines before you start, you may want to re-think things. While it’s best to go into a scene having a good idea of what you want to do, be sure to leave some room for creative thinking. Sounding like the Dominatrix from a bad porno is definitely not sexy!

Nerves

Finally, the one thing that can often get in the way of a good scene are nerves! If this is something you’ve been fantasizing about forever, you may feel nervous when the time comes to actually live it. Try to relax - just don’t get into the ‘liquid courage’, you need to be sober and thinking for this kind of play.

Doing something for the first time is nerve wracking, but we’ve all been there.

Keep things simple, you can always get more elaborate later on.

You may feel more comfortable doing your first scene in the privacy of your own home, or you may want to play at a dungeon, where there are others you can ask questions of. It’s your choice, do what makes sense to you.


Now that you know some of the common pitfalls, you can hopefully avoid them. It’s really important to have a good, honest idea of your skills, be prepared (for the scene and for emergencies) and do your best to relax. After all, this is supposed to be fun!


Ms Morgan Thorne has been a lifestyle dominant for 20 years and a Professional Dominatrix for 6 years. As a former health care worker, she is very knowledgeable regarding safety in BDSM. She is a sex work advocate and an outreach worker with The Naked Truth Entertainment. Morgan is also a fetish film performer and model. She is a writer with Kink E Magazine and volunteers in her local community as a DM and event organizer. She is a kink educator who teaches across North America. Identifying as pansexual/asexual, Morgan tries to be inclusive of all identities and orientations during her teaching. Her new book “A Guide to Classic Discipline” is expected out spring/summer 2015
Body Confidence in 3 Steps

Body Confidence in 3 Steps

Sassy is a performer with Capital Tease Burlesque, one-part of the production duo Frisque Femme, and a burlesque emcee who enjoys gently scandalizing her audience with her pretty pout and her trucker’s mouth. Sassy can be found on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

Sassy’s 3-Step Plan to Body Confidence

Step 1: Give yourself permission to be proud.

I talked a lot about myself and the things I’ve done and the obstacles I have overcome. It feels weird when we do this, because we are all taught that it is rude and it is better to be humble. That kind of thinking works against you, and you have to re-learn how to think about yourself and your accomplishments.

There are many ways to do this:

  • You can take a few minutes to think about the things you have done.
  • You can write them down for yourself in a journal.
  • You could just take out your resume and go over it and really think about all of the accomplishments on it.
  • You can look at your children, or your friends and family – the people and the community that you have supported.
  • You can think of hard times and difficult situations that you have risen above or worked through.

These are all things to be proud of, and they all contribute to making you a better you.

Bonus! When you are happy with yourself, and you know how to recognize and celebrate your own accomplishments, you will actually be able to be more supportive of others. You’ll have more energy to be cheerleaders for friends and families, and you will expend less energy being jealous or envious.

Step 2: Take Care of Yourself (or pretend you like yourself).

There is a reason flight attendants tell you to put your own oxygen mask on first.

Bam.

Think about that.

Educate yourself on nutrition. We have so many free resources available online – use them. Try things until you find what works for you. Focus on eating more of the good things, and don’t worry about your indulgences too much. Drink water (everyone says it, because it is true!).

Join a dance class. Go for walks. Lift weights. Walk/jog/run. Find what works for you and compete against yourself. The only thing that matters is that you are better at it than you were yesterday (and this applies to pretty much everything in life).

When you get dressed in the morning, make sure it is in something that makes you feel good. Set aside the clothes that don’t make you feel good, and wean them out of your wardrobe. Replace them with feel good items (and trust me – this does not have to cost a lot of money – stay tuned for my shopping / bargaining / trading / altering strategies in another article).

Wash your face at night, moisturize and wear sunscreen.

Step 3: F*ing Fake it.

You’ll get there, eventually. But, until then, fake it. One day, you’ll wake up, and mid-stretch you’ll realize how lucky you are to be you.

Swinging

Swinging

What My Introduction Into the Swinging Lifestyle Has Taught Me About Myself and About Love.

Maisri is a 39 year old Scorpio, country girl, music lover, and a 2 times divorced lover of life.

The definition of “Swinging” courtesy of Dictionary.com:

noun
1.
a person or thing that swings.
2.
Slang. a lively, active, and modern person whose activities are fashionable or trendy.
3.
Slang.
a person who indulges in promiscuous sex.
a person who engages in the exchanging of spouses for sexual activities.

Swinging seems to be the buzz these days, or maybe it’s just because I am newly aware of the lifestyle. It’s like when you buy a new car, suddenly you are hyper aware of all of the cars out there that look JUST like yours.

Unfortunately, as you can see from the definition above, there are some definite misconceptions about “swinging”, the least of which is that it means a person indulges in promiscuous sex. My opinion and definition of swinging is mine alone, and anyone can free free to disagree with me, but I’d like to tell it how I see it, and I don’t see it at all the way that the dictionary does.

It’s important for you to know that swinging can mean different things for different people. Some couples see it as an avenue to strange sex. Others might see it as an avenue to act out their fantasies in the safe company of their partners.

I’m a 30 something professional woman with a very healthy sexual appetite, and until recently I had very little outlet for my libido.

In the throes of the divorce of a 2nd marriage gone horribly wrong (for a multitude of reasons, but one big one was a complete lack of sexual compatibility) I had one of those moments where you fall head over heels in love with someone you never expected to meet, let alone fall in love with and dream about a future with… Tim.

Life happens. What are you going to do, flip the birdie to the Universe and say, “Sorry, not what I had in mind for my life”? Not this girl. The Universe and I are buds, it always gives me exactly what I need at exactly the right moment, whether I realize it or not.

So in the process of committing to and getting to know each other, and getting more and more personal about ourselves Tim and I established that we both enjoy sex more than maybe the majority of our friends, and that we were both proponents of a life theory similar to “free love”. The world would be such a happier, more peaceful place if people could just love each other, free from judgement, jealousy or self imposed dogmatic “truths” about the way life is supposed to be.

If you want to be monogamous, fine, no judgement here, but I’m guessing that if you chose to click on the topic of this post and you’re still reading, there is a part of you that’s interested in the lifestyle. Don’t be shy, it’s human nature to be curious.

It took me some time to understand some things: (To be clear, I’m still learning and adjusting, and there are still “I wonder what he/she is thinking” moments)

How does a couple keep things “fair and balanced”
Are there rules?
How will my partner feel after I’ve been with someone else?
How will I feel after my partner has been with someone else?
Will I be able to watch? Do I want them to watch me?

My Experience with Swinging

Now sit tight, I’m going to break down my experience for you, including the epiphany I had when my first “date” was over, but first I want to dive into the emotions around swinging a little bit. These are the emotions and thoughts that my partner and I have, they are certainly not gospel. (I wonder if there IS a gospel on swinging?)

My situation is special, in that my partner and I have a long distance relationship. With long distance love affairs, things can be really stressful and emotionally taxing at times. My swinging became a way for me to fulfill some emotional need as well as physical. Sometimes you just need to be held, am I right?

Tim’s view is that he wants me to have everything and anything that I need to make me happy. He knows he can’t be here now to fulfill my emotional and physical needs, so he encourages me to seek them elsewhere. We always discuss the potential “friends with benefits” that I am considering, but 10 times out of 10 he will tell me “If this feels good to you, go for it and enjoy yourself”

We spent hours over the course of our budding relationship talking about what we were ok with and what we were not. Some things were easy, like no sleeping over: that’s too intimate (I know, sounds crazy right?). Most couples who swing have rules, some refer to them as preferences.

Some examples:

  • Never have intercourse without a condom
  • No swallowing of bodily fluids
  • No separate rooms during a party
  • No lone dates (meaning they always play together)

Some of those rules or preferences (or maybe all of them!?) will change, develop and evolve over the period of a couples swinging “career”. The most important factor in a relationship like this, is communication.

Not every couple can take a trip down the swinging trail…it’s not for the faint of heart, it’s not for the couple without a rock solid foundation or at the very least, an epic strength of love and commitment to each other.

Couples will swing together, or for all intents and purposes, you can change the verb from swinging to cheating, which isn’t fair to anyone involved.

My first experience and my light bulb moment.

For the purposes of anonymity I’m going to refer to my first connection as Jack. I met Jack on a website called Swing Lifestyle . It’s much like any matchmaking website, you create a profile, upload pictures, search for people, window shop, or connect via their platform email, or instant messenger. (With video capability too)

I signed up at SLS upon the encouragement of my partner who had already been a member for some time. He was not new to the lifestyle. I found a couple of people (or couples) I found interesting, and decided to message them.

Jack messaged me back and we had a nice chat, volleying back and forth a few times. Then I had a little bit of doubt, and lack of clarity about what our rules were, so I put everything on hold for a while. After more conversations and more reassurances, I decided to reach out to Jack again after a few months had passed.

We decided to meet for lunch near my office and we hit it off right away. There was a physical attraction, and an ease of conversation. After a few more emails and phone calls, we set a date to “play”.

You’ll have to use your imagination about the details of our playdate, but the important thing that happened, was on my way home when I got this message from my partner:

“Thank you for trusting me enough to do this for yourself”

Wow. Bells and whistles went off in my head. Like a 2×4 between the eyes, I finally understood with complete and total clarity what this swinging thing was all about.

I had been really worried in the back of my mind, that he was testing me, testing our relationship, and as soon as I left that date, he would be letting me know that I had failed, I couldn’t be trusted, and he was through with me. (Hangups much? I know, I’m a work in progress)

For my partner and I, swinging is about being able to fulfill physical (and on some level, emotional) needs with other trusted people, without worrying or wondering about how your partner looks at you or feels about you.

Is it about fulfilling sexual fantasies with your partner? Yes.

Is it a free for all to fuck as many people as you’d like? It shouldn’t be.

Is it the same experience for everyone? No way Jose.

Since my first experience I have gone on to become really good friends with Jack, and another couple that he introduced me to. In the emotional difficulty that has surrounded my long distance relationship as of late, they have been of great comfort to me as friends, who sometimes play together. They have also gotten to know Tim from a distance which is of some comfort to both of us.

I’m still learning about swinging, I read the forums on SLS and talk to people who have been in the lifestyle for a long time.

I don’t claim to be an expert.

There are things I’m not yet comfortable doing such as attending the big parties where you can wander into private or semi privates rooms and play with strangers. Eeeek…..not there yet. That’s like the deeeep end of the pool, and I’ve still got my sexy toes in the shallow end.


Swinging for me is about freedom. Freedom to be who I am, do what feels good, and be surrounded by people doing the same.


 

BDSM 101: Contracts

BDSM 101: Contracts

Ms Morgan Thorne has been a lifestyle dominant for 20 years and a Professional Dominatrix for 6 years. She can be reached at her website, twitter, and Facebook.

Contracts are sometimes used in BDSM and have become quite famous after their mention in the 50 Shades series. So let’s talk about what contracts are, if you need one, when you may want to use one and how to create one.

In any discussion about BDSM contracts, it has to be said that they are not legally binding, just a bit of kinky fun for people to indulge in. Some people take their contracts very seriously - in that a breach of contract by either (or any) party results in the relationship being dissolved. Like so many things in the kink lifestyle, you can pick and choose what works for you in this department - contracts are totally optional.

Not every couple (or triad, quad, etc) in a BDSM relationship has a contract. In fact, I know very few players who make use of them - and I know a lot of kinky folks! Contracts are often a part of more protocol heavy kink, and are more likely to be found in those types of communities.

With that said, many people do enjoy having a contract - for both erotic and practical reasons.

It is a tangible symbol of power exchange, much like collars, and can emphasize the feelings of ownership within a relationship.

Many people who use contracts view signing one as a profound sign of commitment (again, much in the way that collars are regarded by some). Contracts can also be very practical - the people involved have clear expectations of their partner(s) and know what is expected of them in return.

If you want to design a contract that stipulates a power exchange relationship on weekends only, go for it! If you want a contract with precise details about what is expected from partners, to apply 24/7, have at it! Kinky contracts can cover as much or as little as you see fit, you just need to sort out what works for your relationship.

Things to consider when creating a contract

  • The slave/submissive’s responsibilities: What will they be responsible for in the relationship? Will they do all the household chores? Will they be sexually available to the Owner/Dominant at all times? Will they obey all commands or face punishment? Will they give up financial control? Worldly possessions?
  • The Owner/Dominant’s responsibility: What will they provide to the slave/submissive? It is generally assumed that they will lead the relationship, but will they have power over all decisions? Financial, career and household? Will they provide financial support? Will they punish transgressions? Generally, Owners/Dominants are expected to care for the safety and wellbeing of the slave/submissive.
  • Safewords: Will there be a safeword? Will the slave/submissive have the chance to say no to a command without consequence? Under what circumstances (breaking the law, bodily or psychological harm, etc)?
  • Will punishments be used or will partners talk about disobedience? What are the punishments or consequences to disobedience? Will breach of contract dissolve the relationship?
  • Will there be consensual non-consent (CNC)? Will the Owner/Dominant be able to order the slave/submissive to do something they wouldn’t normally want?
  • Limits: What are the hard limits of all parties? Soft limits? Under what circumstances may those limits change (for instance, when the person who has the limit decides to reopen negotiation)? Can hard limits be added as time goes on?
  • Activities: Do you want to list specific activities that are required from any party, or leave it more open ended?
  • What will be public and private protocols? (for instance, slave/submissive nude at home, dressed in a way that pleases the Owner/Dominant while out of the house)
  • Relationships: Will the people under the contract be allowed to have kinky or sexual play with others? Under what circumstances? Will the Owner/Dominant be able to lend out the sexual or kink services of the slave/submissive (act as a waiter at a party, be used as a demo bottom, sexually please others, etc)
  • Under what circumstances can the contract be dissolved?
  • How will you handle it if someone’s (Owner/Dominant or slave/submissive) needs aren’t being met?
  • How often will you sit down and evaluate the rules and other specifics of the contact, if ever? How will changes to the contract be made? Who can initiate changes?
  • How will switching (people who enjoy both Dominant and submissive roles) be handled (if applicable)?
  • Will there be a trial contract? How long will it last?

Those points should be enough to get you started on writing your own contract, or at least give an idea of what to think about when doing so.

You don’t have to cover all of those points or you can add any that are important to you. While there are many pre-made contracts available online, I suggest creating your own. Not only will it be more personal, but the act of designing it from scratch can be a wonderful bonding experience.

A contract generally comes later in a kinky relationship, not at the beginning.

It takes time to build trust, to know your partner’s limits and how total you would like your power exchange to be. Many people regard BDSM contracts in the same way as a marriage contract, not something to rush into. Of course, if you find the concepts of contracts erotic, you can have a play contract, that outlines the timing, style or types of play that you will engage in with your partner(s).


BDSM contracts, while not needed, can be fun, intimate and useful for some people. Don’t think you need to have one before you start playing, but if you enjoy the idea, have fun with it. The best thing about BDSM is that there is no ‘one true way’ (we often joke about people who preach ‘true BDSM’) - everyone is free (or not) to play and engage in whatever way they choose.


Ms Morgan Thorne has been a lifestyle dominant for 20 years and a Professional Dominatrix for 6 years. As a former health care worker, she is very knowledgeable regarding safety in BDSM. She is a sex work advocate and an outreach worker with The Naked Truth Entertainment. Morgan is also a fetish film performer and model. She is a writer with Kink E Magazine and volunteers in her local community as a DM and event organizer. She is a kink educator who teaches across North America. Identifying as pansexual/asexual, Morgan tries to be inclusive of all identities and orientations during her teaching. Her new book “A Guide to Classic Discipline” is expected out spring/summer 2015
Body Confidence Through Burlesque

Body Confidence Through Burlesque

Sassy is a performer with Capital Tease Burlesque, one-part of the production duo Frisque Femme, and a burlesque emcee who enjoys gently scandalizing her audience with her pretty pout and her trucker’s mouth. Sassy can be found on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

Body Confidence Brought to you by Burlesque

The question I get asked, more than anything else, is some version of “how do you do what you do?” I’m asked this by women mostly, and clearly, they are asking me how I get on stage and reveal my plus-size / curvy / extra everything and a side of fries body to an audience full of people I have never met before.

Well, here’s the secret: I just do it.

The secret is not a deep well of healthy self-confidence (though I do have that – more on that later).

The secret is not a perfect body (I do not have that). I think there is nothing wrong with eating a whole wackload of bacon and sausages before performing. In fact, I encourage it. And you should also do suggestive things to the sausage while making strong eye contact with someone else – preferably a stranger.

The secret is not a love of money (definitely not!).

The secret is not booze (I almost never drink).

The secret is camaraderie.

I create acts that celebrate my body, but I never hide from its truth. I’ll pull a funny face while squeezing out of a skirt – that is joke between you and me (us). It is an experience I can share with you, and we can laugh at it together.

The secret is community.

The burlesque community is incredibly diverse. We have our struggles, but we are always striving to be better for each other, and for the world that we are reflecting. There is an incredible amount of support and positivity. There are also many opportunities to see all sorts of naked bodies – and the more you see, the more you appreciate others and the kinder you are to yourself.

The secret is knowing that some people won’t like it, but that someone who needs it will love it.

The secret is you.

I do it for you. I do it so that you can come up to me after a show, and ask me how I got up there. So that I can tell you, with complete confidence and understanding, I am you. This could be you, and you deserve the stage and a spotlight as much as anyone else. Your body is beautiful. It is creation and art at its finest. It is magic and it is strong. It is comfort and warmth. It can be different, silly and strange – but it is always beautiful.

I also do it because – damn boo, have you seen my ta tas? They are a national treasure, and I have a moral obligation to share them with the world. If you haven’t met them, you should come out to a show and introduce yourself. Frank and Bob (the twins) love meeting new people.

Body Confidence Brought to You by You

The other key to body confidence actually has very little to do with your body, and everything to do with your mind. The majority of my confidence comes from my achievements, from the things that I have done and accomplished with my life. It also comes from my happiness with myself, and my ability to stand up for the things that I believe are important to me and to my communities.

I have taken risks in my life, and they have paid off. I moved across the country without a job to pursue graduate studies and hopes of continuing my career in the public service. I worked hard to get the job I dreamed of, finished my Master’s degree while working too many hours, and started shaking my money-maker (my brain, you pervs!). I am very successful in my line of work (though as a young woman, it definitely comes with its own challenges – more on that in another article).

I’ve set goals, and I have worked hard to achieve them. I have been given challenges, fought through set-backs. I have been disappointed in myself and in others. But I have grown from these experiences, and I have chosen (this is key!) to learn to be better.

In my heart and in my mind is where I grow my confidence.

Loving Your Body

All those lovely things being said, sometimes I just do not feel good about my body. I struggle like everyone else.

Sometimes I don’t want to get out of bed, let alone go on stage.

My weight is not something I have felt very in control of, it is a constant source of personal struggle. However, I have learned to appreciate my strength. Every day I am grateful for my abilities and for my health.

As I learn to appreciate myself more, it becomes easier to take care of myself and make self-care the priority it should be. For me, this does mean going to the gym. At the gym I can test myself and compete against the person I was yesterday. At the gym I can lift heavier than last week, stretch further than yesterday, and run longer and harder than I ever have.

When I’m taking care of myself, putting good things into my body, and giving myself time to marvel in its strength, I feel better about how my body looks. I don’t need to achieve a perfect form (and I know there isn’t one – I’ve seen so many nudes now – it really does help!). I can have a soft belly, and thunder thighs, and be strong and healthy.

And yes, if you are on the elliptical/treadmill/rower next to me, we are racing. You can pretend you don’t know it’s happening, but it is. I’ll set the resistance level to 20, I’ll gasp and pour sweat. I’ll turn purple. I’ll beat you. And it’s okay if you lose to a chubby girl.

 


Want more sass? Check out Sassy’s other articles for FYV!

3 Lessons on Self Love

3 Lessons on Self Love

Why Self Love Can Help Overcome Trauma

Alexis Pierce is a life coach and yogi dedicated to helping women discover and live their true purpose. Discover more here

Six years ago, I was raped on a work trip.

It wasn’t the first time I’d been raped - my first sexual experience was forced. But as I lay there frozen in my nervous system’s desperate attempt at safety, I resolved it would be the last.

Finding your way to a healthy self-image after 16 years of poor sexual choices and low self-esteem isn’t easy.When your early messages around sexuality imply that you’re both worthless and only good for sex, it’s hard to know where to start, let alone how to make it right.

You only know you feel empty.

You only want to feel loved.

But you can’t get the love and respect your deserve from others without learning to love yourself. It’s the only way to heal.

It’s also one of the hardest things you’ll ever do.

Here are a few lessons I’ve learned on my journey to loving me that may help you:

1. Forgive yourself.

It’s normal to be angry when you’ve been on the receiving end of sexual violence. You may be angry at men, adults, kids, our shared culture - or all of it. But you need to forgive yourself first and foremost to break the cycle of trauma and hurt.

That means facing your shame, humiliation, and embarrassment. It means finding compassion for the choices you’ve made that you think tie you to blame and guilt.

It means facing yourself head-on and being willing to accept that you’re not perfect, and then saying

“That’s okay. I forgive you anyway. Just because you’re you.”

Brene Brown’s book Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead helped me understand how shame played a role in my life, which then helped me take better control of my choices.

2. Be gentle.

If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably heard for years that you’re too hard on yourself, have too high expectations of others, push too hard, or are a perfectionist. The desire to control and contain is a natural reaction when you’ve experienced trauma outside of your control.

But you can’t forgive yourself and heal if you’re still being hard on yourself.

To learn to be gentle, you need to learn an alternative way of thinking. Since the only voice in your head is most likely yours, you may be hearing distorted messages caused by the chronic stress of post-traumatic recovery. That may make it hard for you to imagine what being gentle looks, feels, and sounds like.

This powerful practice helped me start to retrain my inner voice:

When you feel like you need to change yourself or be “better” in some way to receive money, love, or affection, ask yourself - “Can I accept this?” about the feeling, situation, or belief.

If the answer is yes, great. If it’s no, then ask yourself if you can accept that the answer is no.

What this practice does is slowly build trust with yourself. It gives you a way to tune into your inner dialogue, allow space for your feelings and thoughts, and show that you both hear and care about what you’re really feeling.

The more attention and consideration you give yourself, the more you’ll be able to feel safe and supported by your self. Then you’ll be able to create that same safety and support in relationships with others because you’ll know how to show up for yourself.

3. Reclaim what “woman” means

If you’ve lived with the consequences of sexual abuse or trauma for years, you may be cynical about what it means to be a woman. You may have tried to shut down and “turn off” your own feminine sexuality by cutting off your hair, gaining weight, or wearing baggy clothes.

On the flip side, you may have also tried the opposite extreme - being seductive, overtly sexual, or revealing.

Both approaches may have left you feeling disillusioned and dissatisfied with femininity and sex. But you need to own your sexual power in a healthy, whole way to heal from sexual trauma.

For me, the sacred sexual practices of Tantric yoga were transformational. Within the ancient breathing techniques, I discovered a philosophy that celebrates the creative, transformational power of women.

Yoga also honors sexuality as a spiritual experience - one which can help you discover and explore your true nature, not just your physical body. By embodying the divine feminine, I learned to embody myself. In the process, I healed my heart and learned to believe in the beauty of intimacy again.
No matter where you are in your healing journey, there is always more room for self-love, care, and attention.

I leave you with a quote shared with me by a very wise woman:

“To love yourself is to forgive yourself. To forgive yourself is to heal yourself. To heal yourself is to love yourself.”


Alexis Pierce is a life coach and yogi dedicated to helping women discover and live their true purpose. Her upcoming program - the Sacred Secrets of Tantric Sexuality - introduces women business owners to the power of Tantra. Tantra helps you access, raise, and channel your sexual energy, so that you can use your most powerful, vibrant and creative force to excel in your life and business. Discover more here
My Corset Training Experience – Part 2

My Corset Training Experience – Part 2

Busty Woman In Corset

Photo By: Brian Rouble of Shuttered Moments

Aka ‘Can I Really Lose Inches Using A Corset?’

After tons of research (click here to check out part 1 of this series) I made my decision on which corset to buy. I chose a size 22 (5.5 inches smaller than my natural waist) black satin underbust corset with 24 flat and spiral steel bones. Although there were cheaper options, all my research had lead me to realize that if I was serious about waist training then it would be difficult to find a corset that was going to be effective for under $100 USD. So, I invested.

Here is what happened over the next two weeks (including before & after photos and a special Free Your V discount code from Alter Ego Clothing for those of you who are in the market for your own corset!):

Day One:

When I first tried on the corset I immediately saw a difference in my figure. I had a 27.5 inch waist at the time, and I saw my figure reduced instantly before my eyes. Although the difference appeared to be drastic while looking in the mirror, it was actually only a 1.5 inch difference when I measured my waist in the corset.

corset seasoning scheduleI had to fight the urge to do up the corset as tight as I possibly could, but during my research on corset training I had learned that it was important not to tighten my corset past 2 inches of reduction during the first 2 weeks of corset training. The first 3 weeks of wearing your corset is referred to as seasoning and it protects your new corset from being damaged. I found this fantastic graphic detailing the corset seasoning process in Waist Training 101 group on Facebook.

The easiest way to explain the seasoning process is to equate your new corset to a new pair of stilettos. When you first put them on, they look fabulous and you feel sexy! However, if you were to wear them for the next 12 hours straight, on your feet, with no breaks, chances are you would end up very uncomfortable, with big blisters on your heels, and no interest in putting your stilettos on again the next day. The same idea applies to a new corset.

I thought that the first would not be difficult, but I will admit, that I was happy to take the corset off that evening. Although it was not uncomfortable to wear in general, I spent that evening at a hockey game, alternating between sitting and standing up to cheer, while stuffing myself with popcorn. The restriction of the corset made the overeating process less appealing, which was likely a good thing. Who needs an extra large bag of popcorn to themselves anyways?

IMG_3766Days Two-Five:

I wore my corset for 2-3 hours each day, while working. I managed to hide it under my clothing, without anyone noticing (as far as I know). What they did notice is how ‘fit’ I was. I got a ton of compliments on my figure (from men and women) and felt particularly confident.

When I took my corset off each day there were slight indentations in my skin, but nothing more than a tight part of pants would cause on my thighs.

Although I had been a healthy eater before starting to wear my corset, but wearing something tight while eating made me more aware of how much I was eating. There was no question that I was eating less during the meals when I was corseted, than the ones when I wasn’t. I also tended to choose items that were lighter; I was more likely to go with additional veggies on my plate then rice.

I will be honest, my lower back started to hurt near the end of the max seasoning time each day. I was concerned at first, as the pain would go away almost as soon as I took off the corset. The pain was only happening when I was sitting down. By the end of the first week I realized that was happening… I had better posture while wearing the corset and that was making my back muscles fight against the new position. As the days went on this discomfort began to fade.

IMG_3759Days Six-Thirteen:

The more I wore my corset the more comfortable I found it to be. The constant compliments from friends, colleagues, and strangers helped me to forge onward on the days where I wanted to take it off early. Although the lower back pain was almost gone by this point, I did began to notice other small annoyances, the worst of which was the increased gas and burping that I would get after meals when I wore my corset.

However, I also began to notice some really exciting changes. I lost an inch off my waist in the first 2 weeks. Although I did exercise (but NOT while wearing the corset- that’s just dangerous!), I did not exercise any more often than I did before wearing my corset. I did eat less during the meals when I was wearing a corset, but those meals were only once or twice a day, so I don’t think that the reduced diet alone can be to blame for the inch loss. Overall, I think that the combination of diet, exercise, and corset wearing had equal benefits.

CorsetSample

Conclusion:

Corset training clearly works, but it is certainly not easy. It takes self control to not over tighten or wear your corset for too long during the seasoning process. You need to be disciplined in order to wear the corset on a daily basis. Corset users also have to be willing to deal with a degree of discomfort (but this does reduce over time). And, like all forms of weight reduction, you need to be patient for the effects to occur. .

I am quite happy with the results that I achieved in 2 weeks and am looking forward to what will happen to my waist as I continue to train!

Hey lady! Where is that special Free Your V discount code from Alter Ego Clothing that you promised us?!?

Here it is: all you have to do it put in the code freeyourv when you go through the check out process on Alter Ego’s website. Be sure to check out their signature product, the Waist Trainer Steel Boned Corset.

Alter Ego Clothing Discount Code Corset Waist Training

Alter Ego Clothing Discount Code Corset Waist Training

I will be documenting my waist training journey for Free Your V. Click here to check out the other articles on corset waist training!

 

*Disclaimer*

This guest poster is not a doctor, nor is she advocating that anyone try corseting before weighing the decision with a medical professional. While some medical professionals say that wearing a corset has no risks, others say that the risks are the same as wearing other constrictive devices, such as Spanx or skinny jeans; skin irritation and restriction to the area. Free Your V decided to post this series after reading Dr. Ann Beaumont‘s take on modern corset use:

“The corset controversy spans centuries, as it had defenders in both camps. Opponents cited that dislodged organs caused various health issues, and proponents who claimed that even the most extreme forms of lacing were without consequence for health. As evidence was never gathered in a scientific manner, it is difficult, but not impossible, to find a relationship between the two.”

BDSM 101: Negotiation

BDSM 101: Negotiation

The Importance of Negotiation in BDSM Play

Ms Morgan Thorne has been a lifestyle dominant for 20 years and a Professional Dominatrix for 6 years. She can be reached at her website, twitter, and Facebook.

Negotiation isn’t really a word that a lot of people associate with sexuality. It’s something you do in business or when buying a new car, not when you’re trying to get hot and heavy with someone sexy.

In BDSM, negotiation is very important and one of the first steps in arranging an encounter.

While kinky negotiations will look different for everyone, there are some basics that you should cover. We discussed in our conversation about consent that only a yes means yes, and negotiation is how we get to that yes. We will begin by discussing things that are important in negotiating a play scene.

I always encourage people to be very thorough in negotiating with new BDSM partners - even if you’ve been married for years. If this is a new area of exploration, it’s best to be rather explicit in what you want to get into. As you gain experience with your partner, you may find that you don’t need the same level of negotiation, knowing each others likes and limits means you don’t have to discuss them every time, unless something changes.

No matter how experienced in BDSM you or your partner are, if you are new to each other, detailed negotiation can save a lot of trouble down the road.

Limits

The first thing we will talk about are limits. This is a word you will hear often in kinky circles, as people talk about what they are and aren’t into. There are two kinds of limits, hard and soft, and it’s important to communicate these to your partner before any kink activities get started.

Hard limits are things you will not do.

You may not have any interest in the activity, you may find it repugnant or too dangerous. There are a million reasons for an activity to become a hard limit - your reasons are your own and you don’t have to explain them to anyone, unless you want to. If something is listed as a hard limit, by either the Top or bottom, Dominant or submissive, it needs to be respected.

Partners should not beg or harass, pushing to do things on your hard limit list - it is incredibly disrespectful to hound someone about limits, often grounds for the ending of kinky relationships.

Soft limits are things that you may not enjoy, but would be willing to do for the right person.

They could also be an activity that you do enjoy, but that you will only do with people you trust or know well. They could be activities that take a high level of skill or energy, so you won’t engage in them with just anyone. Again, activities on your soft limit list can be anything you want them to be, but let your partner know if they are things you’re interested in exploring with them at this time or not.

Everyone is allowed to have limits - they aren’t just for bottoms! Dominants/Tops can have limits for the same reasons that submissives/bottoms do - they aren’t into an activity, it makes their skin crawl, they don’t have the skill set, etc. No one should ever be shamed for having limits, there are no activities that make one a ‘true’ Top/Dominant or bottom/submissive that everyone must engage in.

Keep in mind that your tastes can change over time and so can your limits.

There may be things you see at the beginning of your kinky journey that freak you out, that after a few years you come to regard as hot. You may fantasise about an activity for years, but after actually trying it, find it’s not what you thought or that you hate it. Think of it like food - many things we hated when we were young are now things we love - our tastes change over time. If or when your limits change, be sure to let your partner(s) know, so that they can adjust their expectations of play accordingly.

A discussion about safe words should also happen - decide if you want to use safe words or plain language to communicate during the scene. If you do want to use safe words, you should agree on which word or words to use and what they will mean for you. Everyone has a different interpretation of safe words, so again, it’s much better to talk about it so you’re on the same page. It can save unwanted pain, both physical and psychological, for everyone involved.

Deciding on which activities you do want to engage in looks different for everyone. Some people choose to fill out BDSM activity checklists (google that phrase to find many examples to use or make your own). Where ‘likes’ overlap you have an idea of what you may want to do together.

Some people will negotiate every activity they want to engage in for a particular scene - covering each implement or action to ensure their partner is consenting. I suggest this type of negotiating with new play partners. Again, once you get to know someone’s play style, you can shift to less detailed negotiation.

Scene Agreement

One way to do this type of negotiating is to agree on a type of scene - let’s say an impact play scene - then allow the bottom to choose which implements they would like used. The top doesn’t need to use all of those implements, but at least has a general idea of what the bottom is hoping for. This also helps with misunderstandings that can happen.

For instance, if someone agreed to playing with floggers, they may have meant only fur and suede floggers (anticipating a more sensation focused type of play), where I may take it to mean they are ok with all the floggers in my collection - including the metal weighted falls that make even the most eager masochist think twice.

With more established play partners (someone you’ve played with many times and have a good idea of their likes and limits), you can simply negotiate a theme for the scene - impact, sensation, etc. Just be sure to negotiate anything new; toys, limits or anything else that may have changed since your last play time.


Communication is essential to a good relationship and this is especially true when it comes to BDSM relationships. Without consent, our play becomes assault or abuse. While talking about what we want to do or have done to us may be uncomfortable in the beginning, it is an essential skill that those who want to engage in kink should develop. It gets much easier the more you do it and those improved communication skills (and the confidence in them) can have a positive impact on more than just your sex life!


Ms Morgan Thorne has been a lifestyle dominant for 20 years and a Professional Dominatrix for 6 years. As a former health care worker, she is very knowledgeable regarding safety in BDSM. She is a sex work advocate and an outreach worker with The Naked Truth Entertainment. Morgan is also a fetish film performer and model. She is a writer with Kink E Magazine and volunteers in her local community as a DM and event organizer. She is a kink educator who teaches across North America. Identifying as pansexual/asexual, Morgan tries to be inclusive of all identities and orientations during her teaching. Her new book “A Guide to Classic Discipline” is expected out spring/summer 2015
Introducing Sassy Muffin – Burlesque Performer

Introducing Sassy Muffin – Burlesque Performer

Introducing Free Your V’s latest guest poster: Sassy Muffin!

Sassy Kat

Sassy Muffin’s bureaucratic alter ego moved to Ottawa in June of 2008 from the deep wilds of northern BC to complete her Master’s degree while pursuing her career in the federal public service. Through classes at a local dance school, she discovered Ottawa’s glittering and sparkling underbelly.

Armed with her Master’s degree and suitably bodacious body, this bureaucrat-by-day and show-pony-by-night brings cheeky character-driven acts to the stage to taunt, tease, and celebrate art and the bodies that make it. Inspired by the likes of Mae West and Joan Rivers, Sassy’s worships the saucy confidence of curves that will not be avoided, often with a sweetly biting comedic edge. As the “Naughtiest Lips in the Capital”, Sassy strives to remind everyone that our nation’s capital is not boring, but is full to the bursting with talented people and features a vibrant performing arts community.

Sassy is a performer with Capital Tease Burlesque, one-part of the production duo Frisque Femme, and a burlesque emcee who enjoys gently scandalizing her audience with her pretty pout and her trucker’s mouth.

Sassy can be found on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!


On Sunday, April 12, the second annual Capital Burlesque Expo came to a close in a sunny explosion of bacon and legs at Maxwell’s Bar and Bistro. Sassy Muffin (that’s me!) had flounced about the wooden stage dressed as a saucy 1960s airline stewardess, and spun airplane inspired tassels (otherwise known as ‘assels’) on her buttocks. Monday morning dawned too soon and too bright, as Miss Muffin’s bureaucratic alter ego dragged herself from bed, across the river into Gatineau, and up many flights of stairs to her, unfortunately for this particular Monday, well-lit cubicle.

As a bureaucrat-by-day, I (Sassy) live the office 2.0 reality of the majority of public servants in Ottawa. I know a few individuals who meet every stereotype of the ‘public servant,’ and I know many more who break the mold – who are intensely focused, who work long hours, who are devoutly committed to serving Canadians, and who lead interesting lives as athletes, activists and artists.

In this column on Free Your V, I will be sharing with you, dear reader, some of my experiences as a career oriented woman, a committed public servant, and a member of the exclusively inclusive Ottawa glitterati. It will sometimes be shocking (at least to me – I’m pretty ‘vanilla’), sometimes informative (but not too much – that would be boring), and sometimes hilarity will ensue (but I hope you will laugh along with me!).

So, let’s start at the beginning(s).


A Born Bureaucrat

I was born and spent my childhood in northern BC, in a community that, to this day, does not have cable television, still has some homes without their own telephone line, where cell phones do not work, and internet and TV is only really available via satellite. We had chickens and pigs (they were both cuddly and delicious), and I had a horse of my own. I often ate wild strawberries as I walked to the school bus stop where our dirt road met the only paved road that wound its way through rolling hills dotted by tiny unincorporated villages much like my own.

I looked up to my Aunt, who had moved away from the small remote village, attended college, and was working for the federal public service. It all seemed very glamorous and cosmopolitan to young me, and I adored visiting her each summer. I had every intention of growing up, and being just like my Auntie.

Later, I moved around the Okanagan and the Shuswap, graduating high school in Kamloops before going north again for university. After I finished my Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and International Studies, I made the move to Vancouver, working in the private sector before entering the public service. While I was happy to be in the public service, I wasn’t doing what I wanted to do, and I knew I would have a better opportunity to grow my career if I moved to Ottawa. And so I applied to a Master’s program in Ottawa, was accepted, packed my tiny car full, and drove across the country to start my new life.

Beginner Burlesque

Sassy MuffinAt some point, I began to feel uncomfortable in my body. I felt like I was constantly in my own way. I couldn’t bend that way, or this way, because some part of my body was always in my way. I was out of breath, tired and defeated.

I knew I needed to do something different, and I thought back to my first trip overseas. I had tried belly dancing in Egypt, and loved the diverse women (and one overly enthusiastic French man) who I had the opportunity to see perform. I began looking for a belly dance class. What I found was a small dance school that offered belly dance and burlesque at a price even a poor graduate student working as a barista could afford.

I signed up.

Our instructor was Bambi Van Boom. She entered the dance room with swift graceful movements, and commanded our attention immediately. She was strikingly beautiful, with colourful tattoos on her fair skin, cropped dyed black hair, and full lips painted a deep red. I looked nervously at her petite frame, and worried about all my voluptuousness spilling over onto everything.

However, Miss Van Boom quickly had her school for wayward girls gleefully bumping and grinding, quivering and shimmying through her intricately beautiful choreographies with her seemingly inexhaustible patience – and her absolutely mesmerizingly taunt and tiny but beautifully jiggling butt-cheeks.

Yeah, I stared. A lot.

Around our second or third class, Miss Van Boom asked us to start thinking about our persona – who was our inner burlesque queen, and what did she want to be called?

I looked, and I found:

Sassy Muffin.

Top 5 Things We Do to Cockblock Ourselves

Top 5 Things We Do to Cockblock Ourselves

Bridgetta Giles, AKA Coach B, is a Sex and Intimacy Coach based in Louisiana. She can be reached on Facebook, Instagram @coachb_lovesexfamily, and her website .

Yes, you are a professional woman. You shine in your career. You have a solution for every problem. You have a plan for every situation. You ARE Superwoman.

However, you feel a void in your life.

Sure, you are successful. Your bank account looks lovely. Those Red Bottoms look absolutely Fab on your feet, but how’s your heart holding up?

You feel as though you are the perfect catch, but no one’s baiting for you OR maybe they are baiting, but it’s the wrong type of fishermen. You know the ones! The ones that aren’t worth the time or aggravation that they bring into your life. Yea those!

So, what’s really going on here? Why would a total package type of lady, such as yourself, be single?

Well, me in my infinite wisdom would like to share 5 THINGS KEEPING YOUR SOUL MATE AWAY.

DISCLAIMER: Anyone who knows me, has participated in a webinar or group I’ve led, or has been in a 1:1 session with me knows that I am NOT a sugarcoat type of girl. I’m real and totally uncensored. What I’m about to give you is PURELY the real. Read at your own risk! This is a NO BULLSHIT ZONE. ENJOY!

1) You don’t know WHO the HELL you are!

Plain and Simple! You have not discovered who you are in this world. Sure, your business is spot on. You have found success in your work. You are active in your community. You are an excellent mother.

But, who are you as a woman?

Allow me to get all clinical on you for a second. Erickson’s Stages of Development notes that individuals between the ages of 20-40, experience an Intimacy vs Isolation Crisis. Intimacy is described as a manifestation of true identity as the individual shares his or her identity with others; isolation becomes the result when interpersonal relationships do not adequately address the individual’s need for intimacy.

Hmm…..I know I just went all EXTRA clinical with that one, right?

The young person who does not have a clear understanding of his or herself cannot achieve TRUE intimacy. Because of this, the result is isolation brought on by the unwillingness to risk true intimacy because of the potential impact on identity.

With all of that wonderfulness being said, is it safe to say that if your identity is not discovered (BY YOU) or is unclear, the risk is that you will take on the identity of another individual OR that your identity could be easily shaped or molded to fit that of your partner?

How often have you heard that you are a different person in a relationship? How often have you FELT like a different person in a relationship? How many of us have shied away from being in a relationship because you feel as though you “lose yourself” in the relationship? Are you truly losing yourself?

Or have your truly found yourself?

This BS about “losing yourself” is just that! True Bull Shit. When you know YOU, you don’t lose that! You are strong. Your standards are there. Your morals are there. Your likes, dislikes, wants, and desires are STILL there!

2) You don’t know what you want

Yea, that white picket fence, sexy hubby, 2.5 kids, and a little furbaby named Jack looks awful nice from the outside doesn’t it? But, are you ready for the work that comes along with maintaining a committed relationship?

Sex, love, affection…these are basic human needs that need to be nurtured. That’s a given; however, there are times that we mistake HORNY for LONELY. We also mistake BOREDOM for LONELY.

How many of us have gotten into relationships and then VERY soon after, we are ready to break up. The partner is now a bother. That’s because they feed a momentary need. You were bored and needed something to do OR you were horny and needed someone to screw.

This is especially true for women too afraid to acknowledge that they are sexual beings outside of a committed relationship. These women are horny but don’t want to have sex outside of a relationship, and instead of taking a step back and examining the pros and cons, they jump into a relationship simply to feed that urge.

As a sex coach, I caution women to have more control of their sex. I’m a firm believer that women should be allowed to be sexual, have fun…but on their terms. Settling with a mate simply because you are horny, in my opinion, is a form of losing your power.

3) Your Circle

Take a long hard look at the people with whom you surround yourself.  Are these people TRULY a representation of you? I’d advise you to do this for EVERY PART of your life. Are the people around you supportive? Are they positive? Are they looking up to you? Looking down on you?

I don’t know about you, but I refuse to be the biggest and baddest in my group. I surround myself with intellectuals that are just as hungry for success and abundance as me.  We support one another. When the world (and possible suitors) sees us, they see our light in unison, but when one light dims it ruins the whole show. Is this your circle?

When you are on a journey towards your soul mate, you need people around you that will build you up and encourage your excellence. You need people around you who are making the right decisions in their lives to keep you motivated in your life.

I’ll take it a step further.

You don’t need to be surrounded by a bunch of catty, ratchet, messy women who do nothing but man bash, gossip, wreck homes, and complain about how fucked life is! PERIOD!! De-clutter your life from THAT shit! Positive things happen to positive people. Those types of “friends” are blessing blockers.

Some of us, I’m looking at myself, have what I like to call the “Wounded Bird” Disease. I think I can nurse anyone back to good moral health. LIES!!! I meet people where they are and make my decisions from there…after countless heartache, of course. Keeping someone in your circle because you want to heal them is very noble, but what’s the affect that it’s having on you and your progression? Think about it!

4) You Have NO STANDARDS or you DON’T STICK TO THEM

Standards!

Ladies, I preach this to my individual clients DAILY. I always ask, “What are your standards?” I normally get these long, cute little drawn out answers that sound rehearsed and BORING.

Why?

Because it sounds good, and they don’t want me to think they are picky.

Honey, you need to be picky…VERY PICKY. You want a LIFE PARTNER, meaning someone to spend all of this life with….meaning everyday…Of. Your. Life. I’d say you have the right to be pretty flipping picky.

Make a list of your standards! What do you want your mate to be? I’m talking real shit. What does your mate like to do for fun? Where does your mate hang out? Think of your mate as you would your ideal client or your target audience.

Here’s my list:

A tall man, with big beautiful eyes, goatee or full beard, big hands, and a sex drive that matches mine. My man will share my understanding of WHAT A RELATIONSHIP IS and WHAT WE WANT OUR RELATIONSHIP TO BE. He is a single father who sees his children regularly and is very active in their lives. He will have a M-F job with Weekends and Holidays off, with a salary that begins at 50,000 a year OR he has benefits that compensate for the difference. My man will only drink socially and doesn’t smoke or use recreational drugs of any kind. My man loves PDA (Public displays of affection) and Spontaneous sex in very odd places. My man will have an appreciation of all music but share my love of jazz music. My man will know who he is and be willing to share himself with me without seeking to mold me into him. My man will love my son and allow me to love his children as my own as well. My man will love God and believe and love Christ. My man is strong, courageous, and funny as hell. My man will support me in all things. My man is humble. Most importantly, my man is a people person who is considerate of others and doesn’t discriminate against his fellow man.

Picky enough? Good.

Your ideal mate should BE EXACTLY who you want. Do you NOT deserve that? Now, here is the kicker. Try NOT to have a particular man in mind when you are developing your list. You will be starting at a disadvantage. Think for yourself FIRST and then determine if THAT gentleman meets your standards.

*Disclaimer….I’m not in the business of telling women WHAT to add to their lists, but I caution you to let SINGLE be within the first 2 sentences or rows.*

 5) Your Appearance

Yes, ladies. NEWSFLASH: Your potential suitor needs to be physically attracted to you at some point! Your appearance is important.

Do you LOOK approachable? Do you look like the type of woman that YOUR POTENTIAL mate would want to be with?

VERY IMPORTANT….please read that again.

Do YOU look like the type of woman YOUR POTENTIAL MATE would want to be with? If you potential mate is active in the community and is a public figure type of guy, it would be in his best interest to pass up the 30 year old who still shops in the Teeny Bop-per Juniors Section of the local outlet mall. I’m just saying…

No. It’s not all about what you wear or how much makeup you are wearing.  It’s also about how you are being perceived. Are you harsh? Do you make it your mission to criticize everyone around you for their decisions?

Cool beans, if you are.

I encourage you to know who you are and understand why you are that person. After self evaluation, if you are still comfy with yourself, then baby girl rock on, but don’t go looking for your ideal mate to be hanging out in the land of warm and fuzzies where critical people are the devil. Know your target audience, lovelies!

Good Shit, Ladies!!

I hope you were able to look within and see how some of these things may be keeping you from meeting your SOULMATE.

Abnormal PAP and HPV

Abnormal PAP and HPV

I get regular PAP tests. They’ve never been a big deal for me - my doctor even put warm socks on the metal contraptions that hold you feet, so I was never uncomfortable. The speculum they use to keep your vagina open never caused me any discomfort, and I never felt the little brush they use to collect the cells. So when I had a routine PAP test at my doctor’s office about a year ago, I thought nothing of it.

A few weeks later, my doctor called and explained that I had abnormal PAP test results .

Abnormal? What does that mean?

For some people, it is simply a false result, and nothing to worry about.

For me, it turns out I have a strain of HPV (Human papillomavirus), one of the most common STI’s in the world.

It is estimated that 75% of people will have at least 1 HPV infection in their lifetime - many will never know they have it, and it will clear up on its own.

What is HPV?

HPV, as it’s name suggests, is a virus. There are over 100 strains of HPV, most of which are totally harmless and your body gets rid of by itself: 70% of infections go away within 1-2 years. There are some strains, however, that can lead to “low risk” health problems (like genital warts), or “high risk” health problems (like cervical cancer). It can be transmitted by intercourse, “skin to skin” genital contact, and oral sex.

Unless the strain of HPV causes warts, there are no real detectable symptoms. The only way to detect HPV is through a PAP smear.

The strain (or strains - it is common to have multiple strains of the virus at once) that I had were causing changes in my cervical cells that were detected on my PAP smear. My smear showed that I had some atypical cells, but more info was needed to determine what exactly was going on with these cells.

So, what next?

I was scheduled to go to the “Dysplasia” clinic at my local hospital. Dysplasia just means abnormal growth in the cells on the surface layer of the cervix. At the clinic, I would undergo another PAP smear, a biopsy, and a Colposcopy.

Colposcopy and Biopsy

At the clinic, I stripped from the waist down and donned one of those classy backless gowns. The set-up was the same as it would be for a routine PAP - I lay on the examination table with my feet in metal stirrups and my pelvis tilted upwards -  with one noticeable exception: there was a giant monitor beside the bed.

Turns out, a colposcope is a binocular microscope that magnifies the cervix under a beam of light. A 3% vinegar solution is applied to the cervix to dehydrate the cells: this makes the abnormal cells appear white under the colposcope. I didn’t feel anything other than slight pressure during this part of the procedure. Seeing my magnified cervix on the monitor was definitely cool, if a bit surreal.

The doctor then applied an iodine solution - abnormal cervical cells stain brown from the iodine, and normal cells do not. Under the colposcope, the change is much easier to see.

With the vinegar and the iodine, the doctor identified the areas where there were abnormal cells: this is where he would take a sample of cells for the biopsy. At this point, I won’t lie… I stopped looking at the monitor. He inserted a special type of forecep that I learned afterwards is called a teneculum. He then instructed me to cough on the count of three.

One, two, three… OWE.

abnormal PAP cervical biopsy

Photo from here

I coughed, which bears down on the cervix, allowing the foreceps to take a “pinch” of cells. This is called a “punch” biopsy. This happened twice. The sensation was more startling than actually painful, although it did cause me to cramp. I would say it is similar to someone punching the underside of your arm - it hurt for a split second, but the pain dissipates quickly. (Another type of biopsy, called a “cone” biopsy, takes a much bigger chunk of cells, and requires local or general anesthesia.)

The doctor then applied a blackish paste to my cervix, which stopped most of the bleeding. About five minutes after  the speculum was taken out, I was on my feet and out the door. They booked my next appointment for about 8 months later.

After the Procedure

I had serious cramping for the rest of the day. My body was not pleased with being violated, and was trying to expel the blackish paste that is applied to stop the bleeding. The doctor told me to wear a pad, and I’m REALLY glad I did. (You shouldn’t wear a tampon, since your bits have been agitated and you don’t want to agitate anything further).

At first I noticed a faint brownish yellow stain on the pad - that was the iodine. After a few hours I noticed grainy black discharge that looked like coffee grounds - that was the paste. I also had mild spotting. Basically, I had a blackish-brownish-yellowish, grainy,  goopy, slightly bloody discharge for about a day and a half. Delicious…

Next Steps

My next appointment was moved up 2 months because my biopsy results were not totally clear. There were definitely abnormal cells, but it wasn’t clear exactly what kind of abnormal cells they were. So, back I went to the Dysplasia clinic.

cervix

Photo from here.

This time, the doctor wanted to sample cells higher up my cervix. Cervical cells change from tall, column-like cells to flat cells as you move down the cervix towards the vagina. The doctor wanted to sample cells higher up in the “transformation zone”, to see if there were anything abnormal going on.

This procedure is called an endocervical cutterage. The John Hopkins Center describes it as:

A surgical procedure in which a narrow instrument called a curette is used to scrape the lining of the endocervical canal, an area that cannot be seen from the outside of the cervix.

It basically felt like a normal PAP, except it caused me to cramp a lot more. Some black paste was applied, so I got to deal with the grainy black goopy discharge for another day and a half.

Now What?

Now I wait. I have another appointment in 6 months, so I’ll keep everyone posted!


We at FYV are not doctors. If you want more information about HPV, or the procedures described above, please contact your health care provider.


 

Your Orgasm, Your Responsibility

Your Orgasm, Your Responsibility

Amy Brooks is a Fem-Focused Health and Wellness Coach for Powerful Women. She can be found at her website

This post originally appeared here.

*This post is targeted to heterosexual females and will use heterosexual references and pronouns.

Let’s start off nice and slow with this sensitive subject: Women need to masturbate in order to know their own bodies.

You have one lifetime in this beautiful body, don’t wait - masturbate!

If you feel like it’s dirty or sneaky to do this without your husband/lover, then ask him if he’d mind if you worked on achieving stronger orgasms when he wasn’t home so that you could be a better lover. Who would say no to that? Loving partners want a sexual encounter to be magical and that takes two explosive reactions; not one. Sex needs balance and one orgasm is just off balance- you need to do your part to even things out! You have the power, but if you rarely (or never) have an orgasm during intercourse, then you’re not going to one day figure it out in the midst of the action. You need to do your homework and prepare in advance.

Special message to those who say “sometimes I climax-if the planets align and he does X, Y, and Z for 25 minutes” then you need to masturbate, too! You need to figure out exactly what your body requires so it’s not left to luck.

The point of this whole post is to remind you: You are the boss of your own body.

No one “gives” you an orgasm. You join an intimate contract with your man when you both agree to engage in a physical expression of your love. At no point should your physical pleasure just randomly pop up like a surprise bouquet of flowers. Instead, it should be as thought out as the emerald cut diamond engagement ring that you picked out and had sized to fit you perfectly. He can still buy it and place it on your finger, but there was some work involved by both parties.

Your climax or Moment of Euphoric Transcendence (MET) must be initiated and orchestrated by YOU. Your partner is there to facilitate your climactic moment, not to discover it in the back closet of your libido in a dusty box under a bag of clothes ready for Goodwill.

You are the boss of your body!

Said a different way: Your man knows how to have an orgasm. Every time. He is not dependent on you to figure out what position or scenario will make him achieve his MET. He will move and grab and guide your body until it is in harmony with his. He is the boss of his own body and he knows exactly how to use all the tools in his toolbox; especially his sexual tools. He won’t look at you with a dependent, figure-out-how-to-make-me-climax gaze. And aren’t you glad? Do you want a lover who knows what he wants and joyfully includes you in the process? Yes! Do you know why he is so attuned to his body?

Because he has spent hours and hours masturbating!

This started long before you entered his life; the teen years are a busy time of experimentation and ejaculation for males. He learned all the ways he can reach MET and has become confident in his ability to achieve MET every time he tries. That confidence is important, too. Just knowing that you can, makes it easier for you to replicate that result.

In The Case of the Female Orgasm (Harvard University Press), researcher Elisabeth Lloyd found that only 25% of women report they consistently have an orgasm during sex.

Why?!

Ladies, we have no excuse other than our own laziness. With 24 hours in a day, you can spend a mere 20-30 minutes on your orgasm until you can get to MET in less than 5 minutes. Experiment with things that may turn you on: sexy music, water (shower, hot tub jets), standing naked in front of a mirror, porn (print or internet), erotic lit, etc.

I have to laugh when I think about a post like this for men.

It would be absurd to talk to men about how they need to learn how to achieve an orgasm. They would love a homework assignment that asked them to take time out of each day to masturbate; whereas, many women probably cringed when I suggested it for them. People would assume a male-orgasm post was a joke or a clever satire piece.

So why is this message necessary for women?

Because of fricking fairy tales, that’s why! We all would love to surrender the responsibility of our rescue to a handsome knight in shining armor or his buddy, Prince Charming. Sure we can be sassy and gutsy during the day, but it does feel nice to let someone else take over and drive the car during sex. They swoop in and resolve the situation; at least that’s our hope.

The fact that men like this role to a point is also important to consider. They love the idea of being there for us, giving us what we need that no one else can provide. That’s a big burden when it comes to the sometimes complex and/or elusive female orgasm. Men want to feel successful and you can help them achieve that goal by doing your part. Men shouldn’t try their hardest and then see your polite “it’s fine, honey” smile at the finish line.

The American Psychological Association found that 90% of men want their partner to have an orgasm.

They want to go on the adventure with you that ends with your eyes wide open (or shut), screaming or crying, sweating, panting, clawing, slapping, etc and then finally knock-out asleep. If you have MET goals, you should add “passing out in blissful slumber” to the list. You’re allowed to fly so high that you crash from exhaustion. No worries about cuddling afterwards- you both know how you feel about each other. Love has been expressed physically, you don’t have to belabor the point.

So.

It’s time to move beyond the cerebral components of this argument for masturbation and get carnal. Let that sacral chakra know who’s boss. You need to figure out what makes you tick so that you can show your man how to wind you up. Learn what pleasure feels like in your own body so you’ll be able to recognize and nurture it when your body has become interdependent with another body.


Orgasms can heal the world, but I’ll save that rant for next time.


 

Amy Brooks is a fem-focused health and wellness coach who works with women who want to live with peace, have more energy, and own their power to do all things! She can be found at her website
My Corset Training Experience – Part 1

My Corset Training Experience – Part 1

How To Choose A Corset

I first came across corset training several years ago when researching ways to have better posture. I work at a computer all day and find myself sitting slumped over more often than not. During the course of researching how to choose a corset, I learned that corsets can also be used to reduce the size of your waist.

I can be skinnier?!?!

 

That settled it; I was going to give corset training a try! But where to start? This article outlines considerations to make when buying a corset, as well as a special Free Your V discount code from Alter Ego Clothing for those of you who are in the marketing for your own corset!)

 Coco De Mer Corset1: Buy a good quality corset:

Corsets have come in and out of style since the Victorian age, so it was no surprise that there were thousands of options to choose from.  Attractive and well reviewed corset choices ranged from $130 to over $1500. While I admit to spending quite a long time fantasizing about the $1450 USD Sian Hoffman Cleo Slave Suspender Corset, I decided that my first corset should likely be more practical.

Many of the lower priced corsets did not have the steel bones that my research told me was necessary to achieve waist slimming, so I focused my attention on brands that did. Amidst the thousands of reviews online, Northbound Leather, Alter Ego Clothing (ACE) and Coco De Mer emerged as top contenders.

sample2: Choose a Style:

An overbust corset covers the breasts, while an underbust corset stops just below them. Underbust corsets are far easier to buy off the rack than overbust corsets as they go by the waist measurement only, rather than waist and bust. If you are planning on wearing your corset underneath your clothing an underbust corset is far less obvious than an overbust corset.

Personally, I decided to go with an underbust corset, since they seemed less restrictive, in terms of both movement and what I could wear with it.

corsetback3: Look For a Steel Busk:

Look for a steel busk in the description of the corset, as they can stand up to the pressure created by drawing in your waist.  Steel busks are stronger than zippers or hook and eye tape. They are metal hardware fasteners consisting of loops and knobs sewn inside the corset which open and close the center front of the garment.

 

MEASUREMENTS_original4: Choose a Size:

I was told that a corset to be used for waist training should be around 6 inches smaller than your natural waist. My waist measured at 27.5 inches, which meant that I was to buy a size 22 corset (they only came in even numbers). I suggest posting in Waist Training 101 on Facebook to get some help from their mods when choosing a size for the first time.

Instantly upon putting it on I looked small in my waist. I whipped out the measuring tape, only to be shocked that my waist now measured 26 inches. The reflection in the mirror seemed so much slimmer, but the reality was the difference was of just over a single inch.

I started to get really excited, because, to me, this meant that I would be able to achieve drastic results. I already loved how my 1 inch smaller frame looked, and I had heard many stories about women losing several inches off their waist within a few months.

Free Your V has a special discount code from Alter Ego Clothing so you can save when buying your own corset!

 

Here it is: all you have to do it put in the code freeyourv when you go through the check out process on Alter Ego’s website. Be sure to check out their signature product, the Waist Trainer Steel Boned Corset.

Alter Ego Clothing Discount Code Corset Waist Training

Alter Ego Clothing Discount Code Corset Waist Training

 

I will be documenting my waist training journey for Free Your V. Click here to check out the other articles on corset waist training!

*Disclaimer*

This guest poster is not a doctor, nor is she advocating that anyone try corseting before weighing the decision with a medical professional. While some medical professionals say that wearing a corset has no risks, others say that the risks are the same as wearing other constrictive devices, such as Spanx or skinny jeans; skin irritation and restriction to the area. Free Your V decided to post this series after reading Dr. Ann Beaumont‘s take on modern corset use:

“The corset controversy spans centuries, as it had defenders in both camps. Opponents cited that dislodged organs caused various health issues, and proponents who claimed that even the most extreme forms of lacing were without consequence for health. As evidence was never gathered in a scientific manner, it is difficult, but not impossible, to find a relationship between the two.”


FREE ’50 Weeks Of V’ Sex Challenge

FREE ’50 Weeks Of V’ Sex Challenge

Rape Fantasy After Sexual Assault

Rape Fantasy After Sexual Assault

* CAUTION: This post may serve as a trigger for some individuals. All names have been changed.


 

This is the first post in FYV’s “The 4 W’s of Rape Fantasy” Series. This article seeks to address the “who” aspect: who has rape fantasies? We got a first hand account from a young woman who prefers to remain anonymous. This is her story.


 

I was 17. It was summer -  I remember the sound of the cicadas. It was the kind of night where you could comfortably wear a hoodie without sweating, a slight chill in the air that says fall is coming. But the park was as busy as ever, people streaming in to get their summer camping experience in before the season was over. There was a party for a long-time staff member at the park who had recently announced that he wouldn’t be returning the following summer. People were sad to see him go, and since everyone wanted an excuse to have a party anyway, this seemed like as good a reason as any.

I was sitting on the porch, drinking a cooler and trying unsuccessfully to flirt with a guy who was devastatingly not interested in me. I worried that my short hair made me look too masculine. My attempts at flirtation were noticed by a dark-haired stranger, who suggested that another cooler might bolster my efforts. I agreed, and he cracked it open for me.

As cabin parties are prone to do, things started to get rowdier. Someone jumped in the lake naked. Piggy-back rides ensued. I consumed multiple coolers, and found myself decidedly funnier. The group around me, including the mysterious cooler opening guy who I vaguely remembered worked as a guide in town, found my antics utterly hilarious. Jack* informed me  that I wasn’t near drunk enough, and pulled me onto his lap. He then held a beer to my mouth, tipped my head back, and nearly choked me in his attempt to get me to chug the beer. His friend told him to stop. Incidentally, Jack was not drinking that night.

I said I wanted to find the object of my previous flirtation attempts. Jack said he knew where my crush had gone, and would take me to him. In my drunken haze, I was trusting.

Of course Jack knows where to go, that makes sense.

I followed as he lead me, half stumbling, away from the noise of the party. We got to a secluded area by the lake, and I had to sit down for fear of falling over. Jack suggested that lying down might be the best course of action. As I could now barely keep my eyes open, I complied with his suggestion. (Typing this now, I cringe: how much more cliche could my story be? It sounds like a low budget cop show plot.)

I fluctuated in and out of awareness. His hand lifted my shirt, found it’s way down my pants. I tried to slur a protest, but everything was spinning. At one point, his friend found us. I remember the friend shouting angrily, “She said no!“. I remember trying to stop his hands, but finding my arms curiously heavy. I felt his fingers inside of me, and I remember thinking:

How did he get my pants undone?

He had been angry that his friend wouldn’t leave.But his friend must have left, because his attempts became much less persuasive, and much more forceful. He had me pinned, and it hurt. My bra was undone, and he was pressing so hard on my breasts that I thought they would explode. He was breathing in my ear, heavily. My pants were around my ankles.

How did they get there? 

I felt panic, and a very sudden realization that there was absolutely nothing I could do.

Then I remember there was shouting, and the pressure on my chest was violently removed. I was half carried, half dragged away, my pants hastily pulled up, and stuffed into a car.

The park warden working the night shift had come by the party to give his well-wishes to the departing staff member, and had been notified of my disappearance. Jack’s friend approached the warden, and expressed some concern for my safety. He guided the warden to my location, where they found me, shirt ripped, pants around my ankles, Jack on top of me. Which is exactly what they expected to find.

His penis didn’t enter my vagina, so it wasn’t called rape.  It was called an “unfortunate situation”, and a few people whispered about underage drinking and its unintended consequences. The police officer involved in the case had a burning hatred of sexual offenders so hot I wondered if he might erupt. He wanted blood - Jack’s blood. I just wanted it to go away. The humiliation of repeating my story not once, not twice, but three times to the police makes me cringe to this day.

And since I was underage and Jack was not, I had no choice in the decision to lay charges. The charges were eventually downgraded from sexual assault to simply assault, because Jack was young and a sexual offence would have ruined his life.

I am now in my mid-twenties, and I like to think that I am a fully functioning sexual being. I’ve had many sexual partners, and a few serious relationships. I love my current partner more than I thought was possible, and our sex life is fantastic. But I have one pervasive sexual fantasy…

RAPE.

I want to be shoved against a wall and taken forcibly from behind with a sweater pulled over my head. I want to be pinned to the bed with no hope of escape. I want my shirt ripped and my panties pushed aside.

That’s really fucking confusing.

How could I possible have those fantasies? Is it because I have lingering mental issues from the incident so many years ago? Is this normal?

I decided to look into it, and I want to share my findings.


 In the next article in this series, FYV speaks to a man who also has a rape fantasy, and his struggle to understand himself.


 

Sex and Motherhood

Sex and Motherhood

Sex and motherhood is totally possible: you can be a sexy woman AND a Mom!

Bridgetta Giles, AKA Coach B, is a Sex and Intimacy Coach based in Louisiana. She can be reached on Facebook, Instagram @coachb_lovesexfamily, and her website .

No one ever tells you the truth about what it’s like to be a mother. You hear all the ooey gooey love and butterflies stuff, but people tend to leave out the less than favorable things when talking about motherhood.  Maybe they forget. Maybe it’s selective amnesia. Yea. That’s what I’ll say.

When I became a mother, I was given so much unsolicited advice that I could have thrown up the entire first 5 chapters of WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOU ARE EXPECTING. Everyone had a tip to share or an experience to give or an opinion to shove down my throat. Trust me, it got old fairly quickly.  However, with me being a first time mother, I felt inclined to listen. Most information was helpful. Some…well… not so much.

For example, my baby was VERY colicky. I was told by SEVERAL older in-laws to “smoke” my baby. I can just feel the look of confusion when you read that. Yes! I was told, on several occasions, to “smoke” my infant son by inhaling cigar smoke and blowing the smoke on his back. Yea, no thanks crazy Uncle Edgar.  Needless to say, I was overwhelmed, confused, stressed out and just down right tired.

After a few months, I began to get a routine and a sense of normalcy in my new found title of “mommy”. I worked day in and day out ensuring that my baby was healthy, feed, and happy. My home was spotless. My THEN husband was well feed. I was a regular little Suburban Suzy, living the American dream.  There was only one little thing.

I was ABSOLUTELY MISERABLE.

sex and motherhood roasted chicken

A perfectly roasted chicken does not define you!

In the mist of all the mothering and wife-ing, I completely lost myself. With every passing day and every perfectly roasted chicken and perfectly laundered cloth diaper, I died slowly inside. I was a shadow of my former self. I forgot how to be a woman. I let my love for my son, my maternal obligations, and my new found love of sweatpants overtake my responsibilities to myself.

I neglected myself. I was always tired. I was never horny. No, that’s a lie. I was always horny, but too engulfed in mommy mode to feed my needs.  Sure, I had that Mommy glow. I was in absolute LOVE with my baby boy. I shined as a new mommy. I had a solution for every problem and a binky for every cry. I was a well oiled maternal machine, but that machine was headed for a major breakdown. I was one lost binky  away from being on an episode of SNAPPED.

You see, everyone was giving me great information on how to be a mom, but no one was giving me the one thing I truly needed, a guide back to me!

I was so wrapped up in my son and my new title as mom, alongside my THEN title of WIFE, that I totally lost who I was as a woman. Bridgetta no longer existed. I was Brady’s wife or Braylon’s mom. I was invisible. I was existing in a world built around me.  No one was giving me any advice on how to maintain my sexy or how to maintain a healthy balance. I was either MOM or BAD MOM. Everyone was so concerned with helping me be a knowledgeable cookie cutter mother, but no one was advising me on how to be a WOMAN with a baby. Did you catch that? I wanted to be a WOMAN with a baby, not just a Mom. 

So, what did I do? I started talking. I started asking other moms about their interests OUTSIDE of parenting.

I got crickets.

It  was as though I was asking about the damn Illuminati or something. I got the feeling that the world would only see me as one of two things: Mom or Bad Mom . “Mom” did not have FUN written in the job description. Sure. I’m a KICKASS mother with an absolutely beautifully active ball of pure 3 year old unfiltered fire who drives me absolutely crazy…in love, of course. BUT,  I am a WOMAN, damn it. I feel like I should ROAR now, huh?

I love to drink, watch reality tv, gossip with my friends about my other friends, watch porn, have hot sex in completely inappropriate places, listen to jazz music until I fall asleep and dream about Ryan Gosling and Shemar Moore playing Eiffel Tower with me on a desert island somewhere far far away…….sighs…oh Shemar how I LOVE THEE!!  Anyhooo…Yea…That’s me!! That’s who I am and what I love.  Why the hell should I have to apologize or feel guilty because of it.

I dusted my shoulders off, adjusted my boss hat, and remembered WHO THE HELL I WAS. I started living. My son was NEVER a burden. I never saw him as such. Honestly, half of the time, he was my tag along. I traveled, I interacted with other likeminded moms who were sick and tired of being basic! We had our own little MOMMY POSSE. We had book clubs and crochet clubs complete with books and crochet hooks that looked and tasted an awful lot like wine. Hmmmm….good times, good times.

Just because I brought a life into the world didn’t mean that my world had to end. I made that decision to love and nurture me and you know what, I’m a much better mother for it. Here are some tips on how to be a sexy woman and mother:

#1 REMEMBER YOU 

Don’t lose sight of what makes you a healthy happy sexy force to be reckoned with. Stand firm in your Light and refuse to dim your bulb. Don’t get lost in a title.

sex and motherhood no sweatpant zone#2 GET OUT OF THOSE DAMN SWEATPANTS
I can’t speak for everyone but I just feel so much better when I look like I’m headed to meet Channing Tatum for dinner and dancing. I don’t give a hot damn if you are only going to the mailbox, go put on your sexy. Your sexy is anything that you feel fierce in! It can even be as simply as your favorite red lipstick. When you look good, you feel good! GO GET YOUR SEXY, GIRL!!

#3. MAKE TIME

No excuse, ladies. We make time for everyone else, including our children. Do the same for yourself. My little hellion has NO CHILL. On his really “active” days, he runs circles around me and will stay awake until about 10pm ; however, no matter how late we stay up, I have committed to writing in my journal, and listening to my jazz music at night to wind down. It’s my ritual. I just do it! No matter how late it is. I do it FOR ME. It make me feel good and helps me shed my entire day and frustrations.

#4. USE YOUR SUPPORT SYSTEMS

I must admit. This is one I struggle with, even now. Ladies, seek the help of trusted family and friends. There is NO SHAME is saying that you need a break. Give yourself some “me” time. Call up those grandparents, co parents, god-parents, babysitters, church folk, and friends. You need a mental break. In my case, I live quite a distance from family and have only a few friends in my area; however, I am a people person. I’ve made such beautiful and lasting friendships simply out of putting myself out of my comfort zone. My Mommy Pose’ is actually composed of a few ladies in my city that frequented the same park as me

#5. HAVE ORGASMS

Hey, I’m a sex coach; you had to know this was coming at some point. Seriously, I recommend having as many as possible. Start with committing to having at least one a day. Watch how much liveliness you will welcome into your world with this one task. Ever notice how aware you are after an orgasm? You feel everything inside of your ecstasy. That’s no accident, honey. You feel alive and present during an orgasm. That same feeling of euphoria can be transferred into other areas of your life allowing you be think clearly and honestly be more attractive both physically and emotionally. It’s an art, really.

Quick Sex Tip from the Queen of Kink…that’s me by the way…Orgasms are HEALTHY for you. Natural Sleep aids, natural pain relievers, natural anti-anxiety, and just plain good!

 


Remember, it’s NEVER selfish to love and nurture yourself. The greatest lovers are those who love themselves first!


Bridgetta Giles, AKA Coach B, is a Sex and Intimacy Coach based in Louisiana. Bridgetta has been providing sexual education by way of group sessions and educational workshops since 2008. Bridgetta has been providing private coaching since 2014. She can be reached on Facebook, Instagram @coachb_lovesexfamily, and her website .
Breast Reduction

Breast Reduction

aka Why I Wanted To Make my Boobs Smaller

**disclaimer: This post contains real pictures of breasts, including scar tissue.

FYV spoke to a woman who wanted, and got,  breast augmentation surgery. But what about the opposite?

“B” was 20 years old when she decided to get a breast reduction. She was not happy with her breast size, and just like our other guest poster, decided to do something about it. It’s been 30 years since her first reduction, and FYV had the chance to interview her about her experience.

Why did you decide to get a breast reduction?

I had my first reduction at age 20. I developed very early and was extremely self conscious. By 20 I was a 36D and nothing fit properly. I was also a runner and even the best sports bras at the time didn’t help.

How did you select the surgeon?

I was fortunate in that I had had a plastic surgeon do an abdominal scar revision for a surgery I had when I was 10. I really liked him and felt that he would be a good fit for me.

What was the whole process like?

The initial consultation involved the surgeon looking at and touching my breasts. We discussed why I wanted a reduction and what the expected results could look like. There was a photo album of patients before/during and after. He drew out on paper where the incisions would be. We discussed recovery times.

After the initial consultation his office submitted the paperwork to the provincial insurance system to see if I was eligible. I waited about 6 weeks before they came back and I was approved to have the procedure paid for by the provincial insurance system. My only cost was for the anesthesiologist and 30 years ago it was $300.

I visited the surgeon about one week prior to the surgery to go over again the procedure, expectations and what he thought would be the optimal size for my body type. We also discussed the possibility that I would not be able to breast feed should I ever have children and that there was also the possibility that I would lose nipple sensation either temporarily or permanently. My reduction was also combined with a mastopexy or breast lift. I am not a great healer so there was also the possibility that I would form keloids - raised, red scars.

The surgery took place in a hospital and was to be day surgery. When I woke up in the recovery room the surgeon explained that I had lost a lot of blood during the procedure and would be spending the night in the hospital as a precaution. I had a binding garment on that had to remain on for a few weeks - to keep the swelling down. There was a fair amount of pain for the first week but subsided after that. The incision was like an anchor - under the breast in the crease, straight line from the middle of the crease to the nipple and around the areola. The areola was actually removed and re-positioned when the breast was lifted.

What was recovery like? (Any lasting scars or pain?)

Recovery was pretty good. I did end up developing keloids but even with that I was thrilled with the results.

How did you feel about your body after the reduction?

It definitely improved my self confidence and made me less self conscious.

I did all of this without my parent’s knowledge - even though my father was a physician. I had tried to discuss the option with my mother (who is a double A) and she dismissed it as unnecessary and ‘silly’. They found out a few weeks after and it was never discussed.

Do you have any regrets?

Absolutely not. While I still have scars, I was able to breast feed and though I lost some sensitivity it was well worth it. I had a second reduction 9 years ago - different surgeon - and was equally happy with the results.

BDSM 101: Safe Words

BDSM 101: Safe Words

The Importance of Safe Words in BDSM Play

Ms Morgan Thorne has been a lifestyle dominant for 20 years and a Professional Dominatrix for 6 years. She can be reached at her website, twitter, and Facebook.

One of the best known things surrounding BDSM is the safe word. In kinky circles, the use and necessity of safe words are often debated. In this article, we will take a look at safe words, whether you need them and when to use them. This isn’t meant to cover all instances of safe word use, nor all the subtleties involved, but simply to give a general overview.

The easiest way to let your partner know what’s going on with you is to communicate in plain language. Checking in and communicating is essential to many play scenes. People should feel able to talk to their partners during a scene: to talk about how they are feeling and indicate if something is wrong. However, there are times when this is not possible or appropriate, which is when safe words (or signals) come into play.

If you are engaging in consensual non-consent (CNC) or resistance play, you may want to use a safe word.

CNC and resistance play can refer to scenes where the Top ‘forces’ the bottom to perform activities, and the bottom resists (verbally or physically). These activities are negotiated beforehand, so the resistance is more role-play than genuine distress.

Safe words allow partners to engage in this type of play, where the bottom may be saying ‘no’ or ‘stop’. The Top then knows that they can continue in their actions, even overcoming resistance, without having to figure out if the bottom really wants them to stop. If the safe word is used, the Top then knows to check in and find out what the bottom wants or needs.

Safe words are also very useful when engaging in many types of pain play.

A well known line in the kink world is “ouch is not a safe word”. A bottom receiving intense pain play will often say/yell things that would make us think twice about continuing. I’ve been called a bitch (and much worse) by bottoms while in one of my sadistic moods. I know that they are simply processing the sensation rather than genuinely upset with me in part because they aren’t using their safe word.

Of course, if a Top is ever unsure about the reactions a bottom is having, it’s best to check in using plain language!

Safe words are also used in public dungeons and many private play parties.

This is one of the ways dungeon monitors (DMs) can keep track of play. You wouldn’t want a monitor stopping your scene to make sure everything is ok, just because one of the people involved is role playing distress. While it is a general rule that you must let the DM know that you will be engaging in this type of play before hand, they do expect a certain amount of dramatic yelping during play. A DM will step in (or should step in) if they hear a safe word used and the Top doesn’t stop play to check in with the bottom.

If a bottom is gagged or unable to speak for any reason, safe signals can be used.

A safe signal is a non-verbal cue that takes the place of the safe word. Safe signals can be whatever you agree on, as long as everyone involved is clear on what they mean. Tapping out is probably the most well known signal and it works great if partners are close to each other or able to use their hands. Dropping a ball or an item that will make noise is another common signal to use and works well if partners have some distance between them.

Likewise, safe words can be any word (or combination of words) that you would be unlikely to use during sex or play. At parties there are usually house safe words - ones that all participants are expected to use so that the DMs can identify when a safe word is used. Common ones include:

  • ‘safe word’
  • the traffic light system of ‘yellow’ and ‘red’ (with yellow meaning slow/ease up and red meaning stop)

Feel free to create your own safe words, but I prefer to use these as they are easy to remember or say and understood by kinky people everywhere.

A safe word should be used if play is getting too intense, but that’s not the only time it’s applicable.

Bottoms can indicate that they have a muscle cramp, for example, or that there is an issue with bondage that needs adjusting. Safe words can also indicate a withdrawal of consent - if the bottom changes their mind about the planned play, they can revoke the consent they previously gave by using their safe word. When I play, a safe word is reason for a check in, where what is said will be taken at face value. My partner can tell me that something needs to be adjusted, that they want to continue, but without me using a specific implement that is becoming too much or that they want to stop our scene for whatever reason.

Safe words are not just for bottoms, Tops can use them as well. Most of the time though, Tops simply stop the scene or change what’s needed instead of using a safe word. They are able to do this because they are directing the play.

When a person uses a safe word, they should never be ridiculed for it.

BDSM isn’t a competition and bottoms aren’t expected to just take whatever a top decides to dish out. A safe word should not be looked at as a bad thing, but rather for the tool of communication it is. Having a safe word in place doesn’t do much good if the bottom is afraid to use it or too proud to use one when it’s needed. As a Top, I rely on my bottom to use a safe word (or otherwise communicate with me) when they need to do so. As much as they trust me to stick to our negotiated play and keep them safe, I trust that they will let me know if something is wrong.


Again, safe words are optional, use them if and when you see fit. Safe words are not a magic word, they only work if the people playing respect their use. They are another way that partners can use to communicate. Be sure that you cover the use of safe words in your negotiation before play and don’t assume that everyone uses them or uses the same words.


Ms Morgan Thorne has been a lifestyle dominant for 20 years and a Professional Dominatrix for 6 years. As a former health care worker, she is very knowledgeable regarding safety in BDSM. She is a sex work advocate and an outreach worker with The Naked Truth Entertainment. Morgan is also a fetish film performer and model. She is a writer with Kink E Magazine and volunteers in her local community as a DM and event organizer. She is a kink educator who teaches across North America. Identifying as pansexual/asexual, Morgan tries to be inclusive of all identities and orientations during her teaching. Her new book “A Guide to Classic Discipline” is expected out spring/summer 2015
Narcolepsy And Sex

Narcolepsy And Sex

Today is National Narcolepsy Awareness Day in Canada (also known as Suddenly Sleepy Saturday in the United States) and in honor of that fact we reached out to NAPS: Narcolepsy Awareness Programs and Services to request a guest post on how living with this rare sleep disorder can affect dating and sexual relationships.

Everyone deals with their own share of problems in the bedroom. Many women feel alone, because certain glossy magazines purport that achieving a stunning and satisfactory sex life is as simple as cooking bacon for your partner in lingerie. This is not the case, as many women well know. One woman has been dealing with the unique effects of her health condition on her sex life, and decided to share her story with us. Narcolepsy and sex - This goes well, well beyond being “too tired for sex“.

Narcolepsy Not So Sexy

I have Narcolepsy with Cataplexy. What this means for me, is that my body has no way of regulating sleep and wake cycles, so I am left with some pretty interesting symptoms. The 5 main symptoms of Narcolepsy with Cataplexy are:

EDS (Excessive Daytime Sleepiness): This symptom causes an unusual amount of fatigue throughout the day and can result in sleep episodes that feel like an irresistible urge to sleep.

-Cataplexy: Thought to be REM sleep behaviour that intrudes into wakefulness, this symptom causes a complete lack of muscle tone in everywhere but my diaphragm and eyes. It is the function that paralyzes the average person during sleep to protect them from acting out their dreams. It is triggered by strong emotions such as laughter, surprise, fear, etc. (I will come back to this, as it was the main culprit in my sex life for a long time)

-Hypnagogic Hallucinations: quite simply, dreaming while you’re still awake. This symptom can cause visual, auditory and tactile hallucinations upon waking or falling asleep.

-Sleep Paralysis: this symptom occurs upon waking, and feels like a heavy weight is sitting on your chest. This symptom can be accompanied by hypnagogic hallucinations.

-Disrupted nighttime sleep: pretty self-explanatory. People with Narcolepsy have sleep that intrudes into wakefulness and wakefulness often intrudes upon sleep. Our bodies have no natural internal clock.

So there I was, a young adult in what was supposed to be my physical prime. My early twenties were straight out of a comedy of errors. I would have several episodes of cataplexy every day, which not only resulted in a huge shift in priorities but concerns for my safety (and sexual safety) as well. When I finally felt comfortable enough to share that part of myself in a relationship, it was not without its challenges.

When I met members of the opposite sex, I felt I had to disclose certain parts of myself that I wouldn’t be able to explain in the heat of the moment. There were awkward questions, of course. I had just discovered that when I was close to having an orgasm, my entire body would collapse underneath of (or even more embarrassingly on top of) my partner. I was awake for these cataplexy episodes, unable to do anything except try to look away and will my muscles to be within my control again. There were people that I knew I was never going to have sex with based on the question “If you have an episode should I keep going?”.

Then came treatment. Finally I had a medication to help get my stubborn brain into submission. The only problem was that it was a drug called Xyrem. More commonly known as GHB – gamma-hydroxybuterate, or quite simply, the date rape drug. I thought I had problems with Cataplexy! Never was I more suggestible or in a sexier mood than the time I spent on that medication. It had it’s own awkward set of questions. “Can I accidentally rape you?” “How do I know if you actually want to have sex?”. If you’re curious, the answers are “No” and “Because I said so!” respectively. Using Xyrem also meant that I was likely to fall asleep before I had the full experience of the drug’s ability to put me in the mood. (Cue another set of facepalm- worthy questions and explanations.)

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from all of this, it’s that sex can be complicated enough without having to worry about a sleep disorder as one of your bed partners. Since my time on Xyrem I have opted to use other, less expensive medications and I have found that my sex life has become significantly less embarrassing over the years.

I am now in a long-term relationship with a person who accepts me for who I am and celebrates the milestones I achieve, both in the Narcolepsy community and as an individual – separate from any disorder or diagnosis.

BDSM 101: Consent

BDSM 101: Consent

Why Consent Is King In BDSM Play

 

Ms Morgan Thorne has been a lifestyle dominant for 20 years and a Professional Dominatrix for 6 years. She can be reached at her website, twitter, and Facebook.

 

BDSM has been in the spotlight because of the recent release of the 50 Shades of Grey movie, and has had more attention paid to it in the last few years because of the books by the same name. As a long time practitioner of BDSM and a kinky educator who has taught all over North America, I wanted to both see what all the fuss was about and share some of my knowledge on the subject. I recently sat down and read the first book (the one the movie is based on) by E. L. James.

This series of articles will be inspired by the book - the things that people just starting out on a kinky path should know about what it is we do (WIIWD).

Consent is the foundation of BDSM and it’s also one of the areas where the books are criticized the most. It seemed as good a place as any to start.

Let’s start with a basic definition.

Consent is permission to do something or to allow something to be done. It is an agreement between all parties involved. There are different types of consent, depending on the situation and needs of those involved.

  • Implied consent is the assumption of consent, perhaps because consent had been given in the past or because actions lead to the presumption of consent. People in the BDSM community are not fans of implied consent - it is generally not acceptable when it comes to sex or kink and it certainly doesn’t meet the legal threshold in those areas either. Now, when a couple (or triad, quad, etc) have been together for a long time, they will often ask for and get consent in non-verbal ways - a sultry look is answered with a passionate kiss, for example. It is important to note that people just starting out with a new person or new activity should not rely on implied consent - asking for and getting affirmative or express consent is essential.
  • Affirmative or express consent is asked for and given explicitly - verbally, in writing or with a gesture - thumbs up, a nod or by signing. In kinky contexts, getting affirmative or express consent can be fun and part of the play. Having a partner beg for something not only shows that they want it, but it can be pretty hot!

Implied consent is doing something and waiting to hear a no if the person isn’t into it. Affirmative or express consent is getting a clear yes before proceeding.

Consent doesn’t mean anything unless all parties are aware of the possible risks, benefits and consequences of an action, known as informed consent. In BDSM, this means that both the top (dominant, Master/Mistress, etc) and the bottom (submissive, slave, etc) know enough about an activity to understand what could go wrong, since we will assume that the benefits are satisfaction (sexual or otherwise), happiness or pleasure - ours or our partners. Since the top is the person performing the action, they should be knowledgeable enough in the activity that they can share information about risks and consequences with the bottom.

If I want to do a spanking scene with someone, I need to ask them and have them say yes before I can just hit them. I need to tell them that the risks of hand spanking are minimal and the consequences are a potentially bruised ass. Now, things can be done to minimize the consequences (proper warm up, not hitting as hard, stopping at the first signs of bruising), but it’s still a possible outcome.

Consent can be withdrawn at any point.

The bottom can decide that the spanking I’m giving is more intense than they wanted, they started to feel ill or that they’re not as into it as they thought they would be. If consent is withdrawn, even in the middle of play, it is the top’s responsibility to stop immediately. Consent is withdrawn by saying ‘no’ or by using a safe word, whatever the people involved decide.

When asking for and giving consent, a person has to be sober.

This means not drunk, not high and no altered states of mind.

BDSM and booze/drugs don’t mix, since informed, express consent becomes difficult or impossible and because sobriety is needed by both parties to engage in SM safely. A wasted top could easily lose control and play too hard, an impaired bottom may not realise that something is causing unintended pain or harm. Since everyone’s limits for intoxicants are different, each person needs to decide what they are comfortable with.

Personally, I won’t play with a new person if either of us have had even one drink. For regular partners, I will make an exception to this, but only if we have had two or fewer drinks over a few hours and the play is a low risk activity. These are my limits, YMMV (Your Mileage May Vary).

Re-negotiating activities mid-play can be problematic.

While playing endorphins are often released, subs can enter what is referred to as ‘subspace’, tops can also experience ‘topspace’ (more on these concepts in later articles). Subspace can affect a person’s perception of pain, it can also make them more amenable to suggestion or willing to do something they wouldn’t normally do. Topspace can affect a person’s perception of their own skill level or make it harder to maintain the precise control needed to be a safe top. Adding activities or renegotiating the terms of play while either person is in this headspace is potentially unethical and dangerous.

Consent is invalid if a person has been coerced to agree to an activity, by threats (I won’t love you if you don’t do X), social pressure (but everyone’s doing X!) or nagging (want to do X? How about now? Now?).

Consent is only valid if it is given freely.

Non-kinky power imbalances can also affect consent. It’s why (real life) teacher/student affairs are looked down upon - the student may feel unspoken pressure to consent. These things can happen in the BDSM world too, a person may feel pressure to play with a popular community leader, educator or celebrity.

A form of pressure that is often seen in kinky circles is the insinuation that if a person doesn’t do X, they are not a ‘true’ submissive/dominant/bottom/top.

Saying “a real submissive would…” or “a true dominant would…” is unfair and untrue. Tops & bottoms, submissives & dominants are all allowed to have limits - things they will not do - and just because a person is into an activity, doesn’t mean they are into it with you.

Consent is an in depth topic, one that kinky people talk about often. These discussions are also seen in the wider, non-kinky world too. Schools are considering teaching affirmative or express consent. People are moving away from the ‘no means no’ model to ‘yes means yes’.

By adopting this affirmative/express model of consent, we are helping to ensure we have more satisfying encounters with our partners and that we only engage in activities with people who really want to.

Ms Morgan Thorne has been a lifestyle dominant for 20 years and a Professional Dominatrix for 6 years. As a former health care worker, she is very knowledgeable regarding safety in BDSM. She is a sex work advocate and an outreach worker with The Naked Truth Entertainment. Morgan is also a fetish film performer and model. She is a writer with Kink E Magazine and volunteers in her local community as a DM and event organizer. She is a kink educator who teaches across North America. Identifying as pansexual/asexual, Morgan tries to be inclusive of all identities and orientations during her teaching. Her new book “A Guide to Classic Discipline” is expected out spring/summer 2015
Eco-Friendly Sex Toy Series: Lube

Eco-Friendly Sex Toy Series: Lube

The last thing you’re probably thinking of during “the act” is whether or not your lube or sex toys are eco-friendly and body-safe, however that is a question you should definitely ask yourself and here’s why:

Here’s the thing about lube…

Parabens, petrochemicals, DEA, Glycerin, methylisothiazolinone and fragrance (yes, fragrance) are commonly found in lube. If feeding your “V”s mucous membrane a chemical soup was a good idea, you’d be reading about that instead of this article. Many of these ingredients are linked to cancer, hormone balance disruption and skin irritations among other things. One particular study has even found parabens in biopsies of breast cancer tumors.

Now we’re not telling you to throw away everything you own, but maybe take a look and see for yourself. You’ll find that many sensual products on the market today contain ingredients that are not benign.

Two of the most liberally used ingredients in lubes today are glycerine and petroleum jelly. Petroleum jelly is also known as mineral oil, liquidum paraffinum and petrolatum. Not very eco-sexy - not only because it’s derived from petrol but also because it stops the vagina’s ability to clean itself. You see, we are cleverly designed and feature a self-cleaning mode you may have not known anything about.

A petroleum-based product will take anywhere from three to five days to be properly flushed out on its own. Meanwhile, all kinds of things could be growing in there! As for glycerine, it is more commonly known that it may lead to yeast infections in women, especially if you are prone to them. So if you’re wondering what’s up? Well, maybe this is it! This may also cause damage to mucous membranes in the long run.

eco friendly sex toys lube

Finding eco-friendly sex toys and lubes isn’t that hard when you know what to look for. I’d recommend a product like Sliquid - H2O Lube. This lube is a paraben-free, glycerin-free, gentle water-based lubricant.  Unlike most other personal lubricants out there, it has no sugar derivatives and is thickened with plant cellulose.  It is safe for all sexual activity, is condom, toy friendly and will never cause yeast infections and UTIs. Sliquid H20 is 100% vegan, is unflavoured, unscented, non-staining and easy to cleanup.

Stay eco-sexy!

Caroline Seguin is a wife and mother of two boys. Since 2013, she has owned and operated SensualIntelligence.ca, Canada’s Eco-friendly Online Sex Shop. This is her series on eco-friendly sex toys.
My Breast Augmentation Story – Part 3

My Breast Augmentation Story – Part 3

Part 3 of my breast augmentation story…

Or, as I like to call it: ‘I Can’t Believe That I Actually Got a Boob Job’.

*WARNING*This post is a true breast augmentation story and contains nude images of a woman’s breasts, including nipples.

The first few days following my surgery were not as painful as I expected them to be. I had pictured laying in bed, on tons of painkillers, feeling like I had been hit by a bus, but it was significantly less dramatic than that (I guess my breast augmentation story isn’t a drama!). I was quickly weened off of the pain medicine (it made me throw up, which I will tell you is significantly more painful than the post-op pain without drugs was). My boyfriend was able to take several days off work, which was a blessing; I couldn’t get much of anything done myself for the first few days.

Want to put a shirt on? Nope! You can’t pull things over your head.
Want to sleep comfortably? Nope! You gotta lay on your back all night long.
Want to take a shower? Nope! Good luck reaching up to wash your hair.
Want to nap on the couch? Nope! You must be propped up at all times.
Want to make food? Nope!! You can’t use your arm muscles for anything.

Breast augmentation story breasts after surgeryThe same day as my surgery I was able to get a glimpse at what my chest looked like. Although the incisions were bandaged up, I could certainly see that I was no longer sporting a pair of A’s! As I stared at ‘myself’ (at this point, it was still hard to believe that they were MY boobs in the mirror) I realized how lucky I was. Prior to getting my surgery I had read hundreds of accounts from girls that HATED how their new boobs looked, some of them for up to 3 months post-op. Sure, mine were a little more ‘pointy’ than I would have expected, but I had been many times by my surgeon ‘don’t worry, it will take several weeks for them to settle into their final position’, so I was not worried.

Over the next few days my positive attitude started to wane. Although I still felt that I had made the right decision, I was tired of ‘being in recovery’. I have always been a very active and independent person, so it was a trying experience for me (and likely for those who had to deal with me) to be taken care of for so long. In the spirit of being open and Breast augmentation story breasts after surgerysharing my full experience with everyone, here were the main issues:

1: All surgeons have their own set of rules and suggestions. Through Google searches, I was able to find many people who had different ‘allowed activities’, but I did not want to risk following the instructions of anyone but my surgeon. My mantra became ‘I need to protect my investment’. At first it was easy to sit back and let my man pamper me, but the feeling of uselessness began to wear on me after a few days. I found myself repeating my new mantra more and more often, as I was tempted to try and do things for myself.

2: I had to wear sports bras for the 4 weeks following surgery. Since I have always been active in athletics, wearing a sports bra was nothing new to me, but being forced to wear one made me dream about ‘real bras’. Every time I would pass a La Senza or Victoria Secret I would stare longingly at their selection. I also had to sleep in the sports bra, which meant that my skin wouldn’t get a break from the material. Hello back zits! Not exactly something that makes you feel sexy.

3: I have always been one to sleep on my back, but ‘not being allowed’ to sleep any other way made me want to do exactly that. I am obviously too stubborn for my own good.

4: As nice as it was to relax for the first few days, sitting around all day gets old fat. No gym, no sex, no taking my dog for a walk… I got really bored of watching The Price Is Right and Dr. Phil

Alas, none of this compared to the excitement of looking at myself in the mirror and seeing what I had been dreaming about for years. I’ve taken a week off of work, and will be heading back tomorrow.

Wish me luck!

Follow along with my journey! View the full series here:

My Breast Augmentation Story – Part 2

My Breast Augmentation Story – Part 2

Or, as I like to call it: ‘Holy Shit, I Am Actually Getting a Boob Job’.

 

I feel like I have been waiting forever for this day to come. Ever since I booked my surgery date (3 loooooooong months ago!) it has felt like time is going…. so…. slowly! But, today’s the day! Today is the second installment of my breast augmentation story.

For the most part, I am keeping the news of my surgery to myself. Although I have told my family and close friends, I haven’t broadcast a Twitter message saying:

‘brb! Gotta go to the hospital to get my A’s turned into C’s!  #BigBoobiesOrBust’

 

A cloth bra without any implants is part of my breast augmentation story.

A cloth bra without any implants. The front zipper makes it easier to take on and off after surgery.

Speaking of which, I will let you in on exactly what I opted to do for my surgery. I am getting 380 cc round silicone implants placed under the muscle using the breast crease incision. (Can’t make heads or tails of what that means? Check out this article on breast augmentation FAQ). I am hoping that this will bring me to either a big C cup or a small D cup; as long as it looks natural I will be happy!

The process of choosing your implant size was nothing like I expected. For some reason I envisioned a shelf full of different sized bras to try on until you found the one that you like best. This is not the case. Instead, the plastic surgeon meticulously measurs every part of your existing breast tissue and chest. From there, he/she provides you with a few different options to try on, and you put them inside of a cloth bra to simulate what you will look like with the implants. I considered 3 different sizes, and finally selected the middle one.

For the most part, the people close to me are accepting of my decision. The vast majority even seem genuinely excited for me. Now and again, someone says something critical. These statements almost always fall into two categories:

1: A comment about my body image, such as don’t you think that you’re already good enough the way you are?. I always answer this question the same way; ‘I am proud of my body. I work hard at the gym and eat a healthy diet in order to stay fit. However, I was happiest with my body when I had larger breasts. No amount of yoga classes or spinach is going to be able to increase their size, so I feel that this is the best option for me’. (Read the full story in part one of this series)

2: A comment about the financial implications like wouldn’t it be better to put a down payment on a house?. To be honest, I’ve caught myself a few times thinking about what else I could be buying with $13,500 CAD. A better car? A higher end condo? A couple more vacations per year? The thoughts never last long, because I always come to the same conclusion; ‘I am debt-free, gainfully employed, and still have an emergency fund. I have been saving for this surgery for 2 years and I will be able to save up again for the next milestone (which may or may not be a down payment on a house)’.

At the end of the day, the only opinions about this surgery that matter are those of myself and my surgeon. I am really looking forward to my surgery today… I can’t wait to share the next step of this adventure with all of you!

I am so excited!

 

Follow along with my journey! View the full series here:

My Breast Augmentation Story – Part 1

My Breast Augmentation Story – Part 1

Or, as I like to call it: ‘So, I’m Getting a Boob Job’.

 

In true Free Your V style, I am not here to try to convince you to get a boob job. Hell, I’m not even saying that it’s a good idea for everyone. But I chose to do it, so I am going to bring you all along for the ride: this is my breast augmentation story.

I’ve been thinking about getting a breast augmentation since I was in high school. I was extremely athletic, so I had very little body fat, which meant very small breasts (I know, ‘boohoo, poor you!’).

Typical cheerleader body is tight abs and big breasts: that's part of the reason I started this breast augmentation storyAt this point in time, I was a competitive cheerleader. As I watched the routines of professional cheer teams, I began to see a clear trend. If there was two things that it seemed like every cheerleader had it was abs and big boobs.

I had the abs down pat… but my barely B chest certainly wasn’t going to fill out a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader’s outfit any time soon. I was proud of my athletic body, but I couldn’t help but wonder if I would look better with larger breasts.

Within the first few months of university I found myself packing on the famous freshman fifteen. Although a decent percentage of those extra pounds went to my thighs, the remainder found a home in a place that I had never dared to dream was possible; I had boobs!

I had never had body image issues, but my new found curves gave me an added boost of confidence. My tops became more low-cut, my bikinis smaller, and I dared to wear only a sports bra as a top at the gym. Ironically, I was more confident than ever, yet I had a higher body fat percentage than ever before. For me, having a pair of big, round D’s was more important than tight thighs and visible abs. My body stayed pretty much the same over the next 4 years.

After graduating university I began to notice the pounds (and therefore the size of my chest) slowly slipping away. Although the exact culprit is unclear, I suspect a combination of being able to cook for myself, having a regular sleep schedule, and getting back to the gym for the first time in years. Within a year I was back to wearing a B bra. I was also wearing size 2 pants again, but that fact was greatly overshadowed by the fact that I ‘no longer had boobs’. I still liked my body, but I didn’t love it anymore. I missed my big breasts. The thoughts from high school about breast augmentation started to creep back in…

Breast augmentation is second most popular surgery in US in 2013

Over 313 000 women had breast augmentation in the USA in 2013. This year, I am going to be one of them.

I I I spent an obcene amount of time researching breast augmentation online. When I felt ready to take the next step, I made an appointment with a plastic surgeon to discuss the options. During the consultation I asked the doctor question after question after question. I left that day feeling well informed and confident that this was the right choice for me.

And then I waited.

I continued to look up ‘the best plastic surgeons’ online and booked another consult for 6 months later. Even though my first appointment went perfectly, I wanted to get a second opinion. And, eventually, I got a third one. I also started to save. Although the exact amount for the surgery varied between the surgeons, I knew that I was going to need between $10,000 and $13,500 CAD. As a recent graduate, that was not going to come easily.

It took me 2 years to save enough money. As I watched my friends splurge on shopping trips, I worked extra hours to add to my stockpile. Soon enough, it was all going to pay off.
And ladies, that time is now! Today is my final pre-op appointment before my surgery. Although we have discussed it before, today is when I will be deciding on the size, incision location, type of implant, and placement (more on that in this article). My breast augmentation story is one step closer to being complete.

Wish me luck!

 

Follow along with my journey! View the full series here:

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