What Are Ben Wa Balls?
If you’ve read 50 Shades of Grey, or ventured into an adult store, you might have encountered “Ben Wa Balls”. (Or maybe you haven’t and you’re wondering what in God’s name they are…)
Essentially, they are small balls meant to be inserted into the vagina (NOT the butt!!) They often contain weights to encourage the balls to roll around within the vagina, increasing stimulation. They are more of a “slow burn” toy, meant to gradually build pleasurable sensations.
Although some women report reaching orgasm through the balls alone, most women enjoy them as a teasing foreplay method - the balls can be left in for an extended amount of time, held in place by your pelvic floor muscles. In fact, some women routinely wear Ben Wa balls to strengthen their PF muscles.
Like other sex toys, Ben Wa balls can be made of a variety of materials including glass, medical grade silicone, and metal. Some varieties are attached by a tether, with a string that remains outside the vagina to make retrieval easier, while others remain loose. The type of material may influence the difficulty of keeping the balls in place - stainless steel or glass balls will require more muscle strength to keep in place, while silicone balls are easier to “grip”.
How Do You Use Ben Wa Balls?
Because the balls are held in place by your pelvic floor muscles, we recommend starting with smaller sized balls.
Before inserting them, lightly coat the balls with your favourite body-safe lube (we reccommend this). Too much lube may make it difficult to keep the balls inside you - yes, they can slip out. Lie horizontally on a comfortable surface, and grib the balls between your thumb and forefinger. Press against the vaginal opening until the balls “pop” into place. You may want to experiment with the depth of insertion.
Although certain novels (*ahem* 50 Shades) may imply that you can immediately wear the balls in public, we suggest wearing them around the house before venturing outside. Because they are held in place by your muscles, if you aren’t used to constantly using those muscles, the balls may slide down. Wear them for as long as you like! Wear them while you partner stimulates your clit, or just sit in a rocking chair for a bit (yeah…. it’s much better than it sounds.)
Just like tampons, the balls cannot get lost in your vaginal canal. To remove tethered balls, simply tug gently on the removal string. If you use un-tethered balls, insert your thumb and forefinger into your vagina and grasp each ball. If that proves difficult, try lying or squatting and bearing down on your diaphragm.
Make sure you clean them well before and after each use - the cleaning method depends on the material (check out our article on how to clean your sex toys for more info).
The “Luna” beads set from Lelo is perfect for beginners - it comes with 2 sizes, allowing for gradual advancement in strength.
“Luna Beads” from Lelo
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.
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.
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.
Using Anal Toys
Anal sex can be a treasure trove of pleasure. Maybe you’ve already explored anal sex (and if you haven’t, check out our article!). Maybe not. Maybe you’re just curious about ways to go about anal play - beads, plugs, vibrators, dildos… there is certainly a lot of choice. Butt plugs are a popular first toy for anal play beginners.
So, what exactly is a butt plug?
A butt plug is a toy that is specifically designed to be inserted into the anus: it has a smaller tip that increases in size to the base, with a flayed end. That flayed end is crucial - that’s what stops the toy from going too far into your butt - yes, that is possible! They can be made with a variety of material: silicone, glass, rubber, vinyl, etc.
How do you choose a butt plug?
For beginners, it is recommended that you start with a small size. Many stores sell “kits” that come with plugs of various sizes that you can work up to as you get more comfortable.
As mentioned above, plugs come in various materials, but we recommend that you purchase a toy in a soft, smooth material like high grade silicone that is both soft and easy to clean. Make sure there are no rips, tears, or sharp edges that could tear the delicate lining of the anus.
We recommend the Little Flirt Butt Plug by Tantus - billed as the least intimidating butt plug for beginners!
For more advanced anal play, consider adding some vibration to your plug.
Tips for Using a Butt Plug
- Lube: Just like with any other kind of anal play, lube is absolutely crucial. The anus does not self-lubricate, so apply your lube of choice liberally. Apply more before removal, since things can get dry quickly. (We recommend this lube.)
- Lots of foreplay: As we discussed in our article on anal sex, the anus is designed to stay tightly closed. Get good and horny before attempting to insert a butt plug.
- Leave it in for only as long as you’re comfortable: Some people like to have a butt plug inside them for the entire duration of sex (or even throughout the day), while others prefer it only for a minute or two. Do whatever is comfortable for you.
Have fun. If you’re not having fun, or it hurts, or you decide you are uncomfortable halfway through, stop. This should be a pleasurable and exciting experience for both parties. If it isn’t, don’t do it.
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!
Why Self Love Can Help Overcome Trauma
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.”
The Importance of Negotiation in BDSM Play
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.
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.
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!
Botoxing your vagina could help cure painful penetration
When most people think of Botox, they think of face wrinkles and crow’s feet and not being able to move your eyebrows…
But Botox is now being investigated as a potential aid (or possible cure!) for women with a condition called vaginismus.
What is vaginismus?
Vaginismus is involuntary contraction of the pelvic floor muscles when an attempt is made to insert something (penis, tampon, sex toy, speculum, etc.) into the vagina, and effects approximately 1-7% of women worldwide. This muscle contraction can cause severe pain, aching, and even burning or a feeling of being torn. It is essentially a reflexive muscle spasm; Some evidence suggests that the vaginal “flinch” is caused by the anticipation of pain, kind of like when you involuntarily close your eye when the mascara wand gets too close. This anticipation could be the result of prior sexual abuse or other painful experience (such as a yeast infection or pelvic exam), although many women with vaginismus have not experienced any of these things.
According to the The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada, vaginismus can be categorized in the following ways:
- Primary (lifelong) or Secondary (begins after having sex normally for a while)
- Global (occurs no matter what) or Situational (only occurs in certain situations or with certain objects)
How is vaginismus currently treated?
Since the spasms are involuntary, the main component to treating vaginismus is learning to control the reflex. Depending on the potential root cause, this may include several components: sex therapy, vaginal dilators used to allow the woman to gain control of her pelvic floor muscles, Kegel exercises (also used to gain control of the pelvic floor muscles), and mindfulness and relaxation techniques are all currently employed as treatment.
So where does Botox come in?
According to Medicine Net:
Botox blocks signals from the nerves to the muscles. The injected muscle can no longer contract…
It makes sense that Botox could be used to treat vaginismus, which is, after all, involuntary contractions of the vaginal muscles.
In 2004, one study looked at twenty-four women with moderate to severe vaginismus who had unsuccessfully tried other treatments. Botox was injected in 3 sites of the puborectalis muscles. The results are quite astounding:
- 23/25 patients had vaginal exams 1 week later and showed little or no vaginismus
- 18/25 patients had satisfactory intercourse after the first treatment, and 4/23 had only mild pain.
- 1 patient was cured after two injections.
- While the patients were followed up for a mean of 12.3 months, there were no cases of recurrence.
Generally, this treatment has become a “comprehensive program of injecting Botox under anesthesia, progressively dilating the vagina during the same anesthetic, and leaving a dilator in place that the patient wakes up with in the recovery room”. The Botox serves to prevent the contraction, and the woman “learns” not to associate penetration with the pain of muscle contraction - simply using Botox alone would mean the patient would have to consistently return for injections. Thus the progressive dilation is continued at home, essentially “training” the muscles.
One study has noted that 90.3% of patients who underwent this treatment achieved pain free intercourse after a median of 3.5 weeks.
What are the side effects?
As with any treatment, there are potential side effects to consider.
- Vaginal bleeding (usually for 24 hours or less following the procedure)
- Mild flu-like symptoms
- Increased urinary incontinence or flatal incontinence
Botox looks to be a very promising new treatment option for women who suffer from vaginismus.
The good news is that vaginismus can be highly treatable. If you experience pain during penetration of any kind (sex related or not), talk to your health care provider.
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
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.
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.
aka Is it Normal to Have Hair on My Nipples?!
The short answer: YES. It is normal.
We have hair follicles around our nipples - you might have noticed very soft, downy-like hairs growing there. But some women also experience longer, darker, and courser hair growth around their nipples. Totally normal! Even Dita Von Teese has nipple hair.
Hair growth tends to be related to hormonal changes - puberty, pregnancy, menstruation, menopause. Some women are more sensitive to the cycle of testosterone in our bodies, and may experience an increase in hair growth when testosterone levels are at their highest.
When is nipple hair NOT normal?
** Abnormal growth is nipple hair is rarely the only symptom of these conditions, so don’t be too worried if the only issue you experience is the nipple hair alone.
Hirsutism: excessive hair growth on the face and body. According to drugs.com: “Hirsutism can be caused by abnormally high levels of androgens or abnormal stimulation of hair follicles even when androgen levels are normal.” This condition can also be caused by certain drugs (like birth control or body building steroids).
Polycystic ovary syndrome - a condition characterized by high androgen levels (“male” hormones), missed or irregular periods, and small fluid filled cysts in the ovaries. The high adnrogen levels may stimulate excess hair growth in areas such as the nipples (similar to hirsutism). Other symptoms may include infertility, weight gain, acne, pelvic pain, and depression.
What if you want to get rid of it?
That’s a completely personal choice. Feel free to leave your nipple hair be. But if you would rather not, then you have a few removal options.
- Pluck: Use sharp, slanted tweezers and pull the skin around the hair as taut as possible. Then firmly grasp the hair with the tweezers are pull quickly out. (Just like eyebrows!) Because of the nerve endings and “thin” skin around you nipples, you’ll likely feel some stinging.
- Shave: Make sure your razor is fresh. Hold your fingers over your nipple with one hand, pulling the skin tight. Use the other hand to gently skim the razor over the offending hair. This is a much riskier option because of how sensitive the skin in the area is.
DO NOT USE NAIR (or similar products) ON YOUR NIPPLES.
In the words of Louise Hung from xojane:
Oh, yeah, sure, the hair withered and melted and fell out, but I thought my nipples might, too. They were red, inflamed, bumpy and — for some reason — erect. I walked around for days with major titty hard-ons that caused me to grit my jaw and flinch every time something awful like cotton came into contact with them
Most nipple hair is totally normal. If it bothers you, pluck those suckers out!
aka Why Women Suddenly Develop Oscar-Worthy Acting Chops in the Bedroom
We read statistics all the time about how often women fake their orgasms (some research suggests up to 80% of women have faked it) - it is such a common joke in pop culture that it’s almost not even funny anymore.
But, the real question isn’t “how often”, but WHY do women fake orgasm?!
Why do we fake something that should be real and raw? What benefit do we perceive as greater than our own sexual satisfaction?
One groundbreaking study of 481 heterosexual college females has suggested that there are 4 main reasons driving women to fake their orgasm:
Altruistic Deceit: faking it to avoid hurting their partner’s feelings
Fear and Insecurity: faking it to avoid negative emotions associated with sex (or insecurity about their own sexual prowess)
Elevated Arousal: the “fake it til you make it” idea - faking it to heighten their arousal to lead to real orgasm
Sexual Adjournment: faking it to end sex
The very obvious flaw in this study is that all the participants were heterosexual.It isn’t clear if the results would directly apply to women who didn’t identify as heterosexual. In fact, the research in the area of non-heterosexual female sexuality is lacking. (Although, anecdotal evidence suggests that lesbians indeed fake orgasm…)
That being said, the most interesting reason to come out of this study is #3 - the idea that by faking our own arousal, we might actually become aroused.
It is certainly the most positive reason - in a very indirect way, it is a form of taking responsibility for your orgasm. Your partner might even respond to your fakery by amping up the intensity, provoking a real orgasm,
However, consistently faking your orgasm for reasons 1, 2, and 4 means there is little room for improvement in your sex life with your partner. (But you probably already knew that, didn’t you?)
So, how do you go from faking it to making it?
Yup, sorry. There is no easy way to go about this.
You have to stop faking it.
If you’re concentrated on your performance, you’re not tuned into your own body enough to experience the sensations that might push you over the edge.
Many women’s arousal stems just as much from their brain as their body (which is why reading erotica can be such a turn on) - so focus your brainpower on yourself.
Is sex better than Midol?
Many women have cramps during their period that make them feel anything but sexy. We investigate the question: does orgasm relieve menstrual cramps?
But in order to answer that questions, we have the understand what causes cramps in the first place.
What Causes Menstrual Cramps?
Most of us know that our periods are the result of the uterine lining being shed. The lining is created in preparation for a fertalized egg to attach- if none appears, then the lining must be shed.
As the cells in the uterine lining start to break down, compounds called prostaglandins are released. These molecular compounds stimulate the uterine muscles to contract. As the muscles contract, they restrict the flow of blood to the lining - without the blood flow and the precious oxygen it carries, the cells starve and begin to die.
However, particularly vigorous contractions can lead to the uterus pressing against the nearby blood vessels that deliver blood to the uterus itself – the pain is caused when those muscles briefly lose their supply of oxygen. (It’s similar to when you get cramps in your side during a run - your muscles aren’t getting the oxygen they need.) Severe menstrual cramps are actually called primary dysmonorrhea.
Additional compounds promote inflammation of the uterus, which can also lead to constriction of blood flow to the uterus, and more pain.
As the uterus contracts, the lining is pushed through the cervix and out through the vagina. If a woman’s cervix is particularly small, the passing of larger clots may also cause pain.
So How Could Orgasm Relieve Menstrual Cramps?
As you might already know from our “30 Day Orgasm” challenge, orgasms have a lot of benefits:
Orgasms are natural pain-relievers: oxytocin, dopamine, and serotonin levels surge during climax. This both significantly increases your pain tolerance, and acts as a pain-killer.
Those pain-killing endorphins don’t just disappear after orgasm - they stay in your system, dulling your pain response long after the fact.
Some sources also claim that the smooth muscle contraction of the uterus that occurs during orgasm expedites the shedding process - which means more prostaglandins are shed as well. Less prostaglandins means less contracting, which means less pain.
In fact one study found
that [women] with less dysmenorrhea had higher coital frequency and nearly twice the frequency of orgasm as that of [women] suffering severe pain
So there is clearly evidence to suggest that orgasm (not necessarily penetration) could potentially relieve the symptoms of menstrual cramps - unless the cramps are caused by something like endometriosis or pelvic inflammatory disease. If you have persistent and debilitating cramps, see your healthcare provider.
Can women orgasm in their sleep?
Most people are aware that men have nocturnal emissions (aka wet dreams) – the evidence in the morning is pretty clear. But do women have wet dreams?
Although we may not be left with sticky sheets, we can most definitely experience orgasm during sleep - so yes, women have wet dreams!
In a landmark study in 1953, Alfred Kinsey found that by age 45, 37% of women in the sample had experienced a dream resulting in orgasm. (We like those odds…) And it wasn’t just a one-off (ha!) experience: women who experienced these “sleep-gasms” did so three or four times per year. Interestingly, a more recent 1985 study found the same percentage of the women involved – 37% - had experienced nocturnal emissions.
What is a Sleep-gasm?
It is an orgasm.
Orgasms that occur during sleep are essentially the same as orgasms that occur during wakefulness.
Typically, orgasms occur during “deep” sleep stages and REM sleep. That makes sense: during deep sleep, blood flow is directed towards the muscles – increased blood flow to the genital region mimics what occurs when you get turned on.
And in fact, the increase in vaginal blood flow that occurs during some REM events is identical to the increase in vaginal blood flow that occurs during erotic stimulation when awake.
That also means that nocturnal emissions may not be the direct result of a sexual dream – it could just be the body reaching a physically aroused state during REM sleep, and using orgasm as a natural release of that arousal. That being said, typically sleep orgasms occur during sexual dreams.
The vagina may lubricate, which may be the only evidence that an orgasm occurred during sleep. Some women report that the orgasm wakes them from sleep.
Why Am I Having Orgasms in My Sleep?
Some evidence suggests that
“Positive attitudes toward and knowledge of nocturnal orgasms, sexual liberalism, and waking sexually excited from sleep (without experiencing orgasm) were the most important predictors of nocturnal orgasm experience”
So having sexy dreams that result in orgasm doesn’t mean you’re unhappy with your sex life, or that you’re not getting enough sex.
It could just be the result of your sexually liberal brain in REM sleep!
Either way, it’s a very common phenomenon. (And not to worry if you DON’T have sleep-gasms – they aren’t the rainbow unicorn of sex.)
A good vibrator is like a good pair of black pumps: a necessary (and sexy) investment.
I have found my Louboutins of the sex world, sans the excessive price tag: the Lelo Mona 2
The Mona 2 is a G-Spot vibrator, but it is oh, oh, oh so much more.
Reasons to Love It
Mona 2 is a gorgeous little number. It has all the basics covered:
- It’s waterproof: baths are now 100% more fun. Who needs bubbles when you can have orgasms?
- It is rechargeable: no cords needed.
- It is decently quiet, even on the most powerful setting.
- It is made of body safe, medical grade silicone: easy cleaning and safe for use with water-based lubes.
But the Mona 2 is so much more than that.
The shape is contoured perfectly to work either for either clitoral or G-Spot stimulation: the slight curve means you won’t get carpal tunnel massaging your G-Spot, and it hugs you deliciously on your insides. It has a very satisfying girth, which gives you an intoxicatingly full feeling when inserted - there is slight resistance as you start to slide it in, then the smooth shaft slips perfectly into place.
The smooth, rounded tip is just narrow enough to provide pinpoint stimulation on your clit - but with a slight tilt, it is easily angled to provide fuller, surrounding vibrations.
The Vibrations and Power
The controls of the Mona 2
It has 6 vibration patterns - I can honestly only speak to the first 4, since I never make it long enough to test the last 2. There is the standard straight vibration, several variations of pulsing vibrations, and several vibration patterns to ramp up the intensity only to bring it back down.
The patterns take all the effort out of having shattering, phenomenal clitoral orgasms: they combine intense pulsing vibrations with escalating, ramped rumbles to bring you right to the brink, then bring you back again. The buttons on the grip end are effortless to press and cycle through.
The Mona 2 has serious power: cranked up to the highest level, I can feel the vibrations throughout my whole body when it is inside me. I don’t even have to move the Mona 2 - the powerful vibrations stimulate my G-Spot in ways I didn’t think were possible. I would describe the vibrations more as rumbles that echo to every sensitive nerve ending possible.
This vibe is also great for couple play - it isn’t bulky enough to get in the way of anything, and it is intuitive to hold and control.
The only issue I’ve had with this toy is that it can be prone to slide just past my G-Spot if I don’t keep a firm grip on it. I think it has something to do with the shape: it naturally wants to slide in to the narrowest part, which puts the curved head just past the sweet spot. But if you keep it firmly in hand, it doesn’t slide.
The price may seem high to some at $160 - but it is worth every single penny.
This is a high quality toy that you will get many, many sessions about. It is the kind of toy you can’t wait to get home to. Keep it in your bedside table, you’ll want it close by.
Purchase the Mona 2 here.
Aka Spring Cleaning Your Sex Toys
Sex toys are wonderful things. (In fact, here are 6 toys that we think are particularly wonderful.)
But they can also be very, very bad.
Toys that aren’t kept nice and clean can harbour all kinds of bacteria. That makes sense - they go into some pretty juicy, flora-filled places. By not paying attention to the hygiene of your toys, you or your partner could end up with a yeast infection, UTI, and STI… not so sexy. So, clean your sex toys!
But before you bust out the bleach, you should make sure you’re using the best cleaning method for your particular toy. (Which, by the way, is NOT bleach.)
If you use lube with your toys, be aware of what type of lube you use.
- Water-based lube (like this one): Can be used on any toy! Easy on, easy off. It doesn’t degrade toys, is totally body safe, and still keeps things slick.
- Silicone-based lube: this can be used on toys made of hard substances (like glass, marble, and hard plastic). DO NOT use on silicone or jelly based toys - the silicone molecules will want to join together, resulting in the lube and toy melting together like goo.
- Oil-based lubes: Do not use on toys. Getting oil off of the toy will require using harsh, alcohol-based substances that not only degrade the toy itself, they aren’t good for the body!
The material of your toy will determine the best way to clean it.
- Jelly: Since jelly is extremely porous, jelly toys can’t be totally disinfected. Wash with lukewarm water (not boiling water, which can sort of melt the jelly), and mild soap with no fragrance. We definitely recommend using a body-safe sex toy cleaner.
- Rubber/Latex: Lukewarm water and mild soap. Ensure you get the soap off, because soap will degrade the toy if left on for long periods.
- Cyberskin: Same as jelly toys.
- Silicone: Wash with mild soap and pat dry - these toys are easy keepers.
- Stainless Steel or Pyrex: if the toy doesn’t have batteries, you can throw it in the dishwasher (just make sure you don’t use dishwasher soap, since that’s usually pretty harsh. The hot water is good enough!) Honestly, any cleaning method works for these babies.
Maintain your toys in good condition.
Cracks, chips, and scratches in your toys can turn into prime habitat for harmful bacteria. Inspect them regularly to make sure sure there isn’t any damage.
AKA ‘Vagina Farts’ & Why They Happen
You’re in the heat of the moment, legs in the air, writhing around in pleasure when the unthinkable happens: you fart. Except… it doesn’t come from your butt. It comes from your VAGINA.
What the hell was that?!
That, my friend, was a queef.
According to Dr. Jen Gunter, OB/GYN, there are only 2 reasons air would be expelled from the vagina:
1. The air that is normally in the vagina is pushed out (because of a cough, or because another object is inserted into the space and the air has to “make room”).
2. There is a “fistula”, or a connection between the bowels and the vagina that allows actual gas from the bowels to move into the vagina.
Reason #1 is absolutely nothing to worry about. In many women, air is normally in the vagina. The vaginal canal isn’t a smooth tube, it has wrinkles and folds, so there are lots of pockets for air to become trapped. And what goes in, must comes out!
Reason #2 is a serious condition. So if you notice you emit air from your vagina with an audible noise on a very frequent basis, you may want to go to your doctor to rule out a fistula. A fistula can be caused from sexual violence, inflammatory bowel disease, previous surgery, some types of bowel infection, or even childbirth.
Unless there is a fiscula, the air that is expelled is just that: air. It is not “gas” in the technical sense, since it hasn’t been expelled from bacteria, and it isn’t the result of a chemical reaction to break down waste (like the “gas” from fecal matter). It is just plain, non-smelly air.
In other words, there is NO reason to be embarrassed about queefing.
Nor are there any solid, scientifically-backed studies that suggest ways of preventing queefing. Doing Kegel exercises to improve your pelvic floor muscles likely won’t hurt you, but it also won’t stop you from queefing (despite what some people may claim).
So, queef away. Pay no attention to the harmless air being forced out of you, and continue to get your sexy on!
So what does “Free Your V” mean? It means we were tired of websites that talked down to us about sex, that showed us sex positions we’re 110% certain would only cause us to pull a muscle, and that didn’t discuss the things we actually want to talk about (like getting a boob job, or if vaginal wipes actually work, or what it’s like to be an escort, or porn that doesn’t involve facials). We wanted to “free” ourselves from those kinds of sites, and embrace our sexuality on a site that was by women, for women. Except… that site didn’t exist. We searched and searched, but in the haystack of the internet, there was no needle. So, “Free Your V” was born.
We want this to be the place that you go to for all things sex. We are unabashed, undaunted, and open to ideas: we want to create original content, and curate the best content already out there. There will be informative articles, interesting guest bloggers, videos, product reviews, tips, debates, news, and anything else we can dream up. Intelligent discussion about sexuality, from the perspective of women everywhere.
Join our movement. We want you to #ShowUsYourV . We want to see free, confident women expressing themselves and loving their sexuality – find sensuality in that little V at the top of your butt, or in tree branches, or your legs… whatever gets you going. Real women who are sassy, sexual beings, who want more from the Internet, and who want to free their V: show us what you got. We want to showcase your pictures on our website, because this is all about you (and a little about us, if we’re being honest). We love sex, honesty, and the internet. Let’s combine those things and banish the bullshit about sex.