Self Care Part 2: Secure your own mask

Miss part 1?  Find it here.

I talked in part 1 about how I came to understand the importance of self care.  I firmly believe it is a vital part of how we live, breathe, heal, and be.  But it’s one thing coming from me.  I’ve talked to other bloggers, sex educators, and writers to get their impression of self care and why it’s important.  I gave each of them a set of questions, and told them they could either answer the questions, or use them as a jumping off point and discuss whatever they need to in order to get their ideas across.  Here’s what they had to say.


 

Crista Anne, sexuality writer, rainbow colored pleasure activist, Cristaanne.com.  You may have seen the very talented Crista Anne featured on CNN for her extremely important campaign of self discovery (and may I say, self care), #OrgasmQuest.

What does self care mean to you?
It means any small or large action that one takes that raises their spirits, relaxes or recharges them. Anything that you do for yourself. Self care is a radical form of resistance to a society that thrives on our self doubt.

Why do you feel it’s important?
It’s vital to me. I think it’s vital for everyone now that the internet/technology has changed our lives to the possibility of 24/7 on call work. It reminds me that I am important. That my needs matter. I am worthy of doing things for myself.

How do you self care?
Self care can be anything from an extra bit of sugar of my coffee in the morning, sitting still for a few minutes, playing with my appearance, taking selfies, but most of the time self care for me takes the form of self pleasure. Masturbation is my main means of self care.

Why is self care important to mental health?
#OrgasmQuest!! You’d think I’d have a snappy answer for this by now, but my response is verbose. I have chronic PTSD. Self Care helps keep me from falling into the darkness, or helps raise me out.


 

Jillian Boyd, author and blogger, ladylaidbare.com and jillianboydauthor.wordpress.com

What does self care mean to you?
Comfort, in some form. An allowance of breathing space. Re-evaluation. Something I have to remind myself of that I am allowed to do when needed.

Why is it important?
It’s important to me because, as I mentioned, all too often I need to remind myself that it’s okay to take a bit of a break and take care of myself. It’s my body, my mind and my soul, and all these things have to collaborate to be able to do what I do. It’s like a domino system: one thing is interrupted, the rest falls with it. Without the occasional space for self-care, I wouldn’t be able to function to the best of my abilities.

How do you self care?
Simple things like taking a walk to clear my head. Showering. Reading. One of my most effective ways of self care, the one that’s gotten me out of many a dark moment, is making things. I mainly bake and knit, because the repetitive actions of knitting and concentration in baking help me center myself.

Why is self care important to mental health?
To me, it’s important because my depression and my anxiety can both get so fierce and physically demanding that I am often left feeling like there’s nothing left of me. Self care is there to build those bits back up. It may not be perfect, and I may not feel completely better afterwards, but it plays its part, and the part is important.


Victoria Reuveni, sexologist, SexologistVixenne.com

Self-care is, simply put, taking care of myself. Doing things to nourish myself physically or otherwise. Whether it’s making sure I get my manicures and pedicures, going to the theater, taking a nap, eating delicious, decadent food, or whatever, I need to give back to myself so that I can be present and be of service to others in my life both personal and professional.

In terms of mental health, I think self-care is a bit underrated. We don’t value taking time for ourselves (as a culture). We always have to be moving and shaking, doing something, chasing that buck. I think self-care often takes a backseat because of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). It’s okay to sit still and do nothing. It’s okay to stay at home if you prefer to not go out.


 

Miko Technogeisha, writer and educator, Lifeontheswingset.com and technogeisha.com

To me, self care is akin to putting on your own oxygen mask before helping others with theirs. If I’m not taking care of myself, physically and mentally, I can’t fully be there for others. Self care is letting go of the guilty feeling about taking care of myself first so I can do what’s necessary to heal and grow.

When I make time for self care, I find improvements across the board. I have a tendency to work myself into the ground which negatively impacts my health. Stress, anxiety and exhaustion diminishes how well I can work and take care of my family. It’s important to take time for myself so I can be a better parent and partner while also improving my work.

Things that improve my mood, that help me to feel grounded or releases stress are all part of self care for me. It can be as simple as a weekly dance class or my morning run. Taking time to read quietly, taking a dance break in the living room, or even singing along to my favorite songs works well. Turning off the phone and stepping away from the computer to focus on things I enjoy like playing board games, going to see a movie or even just watching a show that make me laugh out loud. Whatever I choose, the goal is to minimize input and rest my brain (I multitask way too much) and do things that feel good. Self care is also making sure I’m staying healthy. Making time to work out or even just taking a walk, meditating and being mindful, eating healthy but also treating myself from time to time to delicious food like my favorite Indian restaurant or sushi, and getting rest like a good night’s sleep which I don’t do often enough.

Lack of self care can really affect your mental health, this took me a very long time to learn. I’ve never put my need first; always family, work, friends, obligations but never me. When I was younger I didn’t notice the toll it was taking but now that I’m in cougar territory and raising two kids I feel the negative effects. I didn’t realize the constant stress of pushing myself and not taking downtime meant I had a non-stop feed of cortisol and other stress induced brain chemicals. I was experiencing the worst anxiety and depression ever while finding myself getting sick or hurt then not healing fast. Not to mention to always feeling exhausted. Since I made time to self care I find I’ve become more resilient mentally and physically. It helps to manage my depression and eases anxiety. I also think more clearly, helping to make better overall decisions. As an ambivert, self care helps the extrovert to not burn out and the introvert recover from the stress of dealing with the world. It’s regular maintenance that can improve your mental health.


JoEllen Notte, writer and educator, www.redheadbedhead.com

So to me self care is the day to day equivalent of securing your own mask first (like they tell you to do with oxygen masks on planes). It’s making sure your needs are met before you give of yourself to others. It sounds really simple but for a lot of us it’s incredibly hard.

To explain why it’s important I’m going to reference something called “the Spoon Theory.” If I use all my spoons taking care of everything everyone else wants done I have none left to take care of me and, being someone who deals with mental health and physical health challenges, I’m starting off a few spoons down so it’s important that I start by taking care of me first. Then it’s possible for me to be able be available for others.

A very recent self-care discovery that came courtesy of my friend Lauren Marie Fleming is that I have to make my default answer to every request on my time “no”. Otherwise I end up spreading my self way too thin, doing far too much for far too little reward and in the end letting other people down while making myself miserable. So moving forward, my default answer is “no” then I can take the space and make sure my “yes”es are genuine and doable.

As far as self care and mental health, when I’m practicing good self care I’m in a far better place. Just this week I realized I had slipped and taken on too much and I have been feeling the effects on both my physical and mental well-being. To me there’s no question, the self care-mental health connection is huge.


And there you have it, folks!  A little bit of self care 101.  From here on out, I will remember when I need to back out and go meditate, or go out to dinner, or just spend 10 minutes with a book, it’s not something to feel guilty about, but necessary.  Remembering to care for myself helps me care for others.  As Miko and JoEllen both said, sometimes I need to secure my oxygen mask first.  I won’t help anyone if I’m the first to drop.

Self Care (Part 1)

I find painting my nails relaxing and fun.  Totally counts as self care.

I find painting my nails relaxing and fun. Totally counts as self care.

I am bad at self care.  Like, really bad.  So bad that sometimes other people have had to step in and separate me from situations because I overload myself and don’t know I’ve done it until I’m a quivering ball of anxiety-ridden tears.  I don’t know how to step back.  I don’t know how to stop.  And I most certainly don’t know how to say, “I need a break!”

I carry a lot of guilt over saying no to people or taking time just for me.  I grew up with the idea that the hallmark of a good person was someone that gave everything they had and every bit of spare time to benefit other people.  Anyone that took time for themselves was selfish, especially anyone that had a vagina.  Free, unproductive time was for children, and then only if they were not at home.  The weird thing is it was never outright said.  It was lived.  It was in the way the adults spoke of my sisters when they came home from work after school and went to lie down instead of doing chores.  It was in the snide comments when my mother lay down with a migraine.  It was in the way as I sat down my parents would start with, “But have you done XYZ?”  It was in the way that fun time outside of the home was frowned upon for older teens and adults.  And horrifically, I started to think the exact same things.  I, too, started to frown on any relaxing time or projects not only in myself, but in other people.  Didn’t they know there was work to be done?

As I left the nest, the feelings of judgement of others died away.  I understood that other people needed time for relaxing, but I couldn’t grant myself the same.  When I went to college, I felt guilt over time I took for myself.  Any time.  If I took a ten minute nap before my next class, or dared to want to eat something decent before I started in on my homework, guilt, guilt, guilt.

As an adult, the feelings continued, and the idea was still pervasive.  When my children entered school, a teacher once asked me to bake a pie for a class party.  I did.  Big mistake.  That one, simple act signalled to the other parents and teachers that I was a willing parent that had time on my hands.  Neither was particularly true, but before I knew it, I was roped into being on the PTO board, class mom, reading tutor, teacher lackey, and bringer of baked goods.  Some of the teachers I volunteered under even lent me out to other teachers that didn’t have volunteers of their own!  And I couldn’t say no.  More and more was piled upon me, and I never said a word.  After all, that mom over there was at school helping way more than I was, and that mom down the hall ran the yearly festival, was a field trip chaperone, organized all the volunteers, and was still at every single school function.  How could I say no to taking just one more little thing?

At first Husband was supportive, but eventually, he saw the toll it was taking.  The other parents at the school were constantly saying that good parents helped.  Unselfish parents made sure they attended every program.  They were quick to name who they considered bad parents, and complained about them constantly.  “Can you believe little Johnny’s mom didn’t take off work to see him get his perfect attendance award?  How selfish it is of Timmy’s father to not take a half day to help with the festival!”  And I followed along, afraid to look bad.  Afraid to look selfish.  I even watched them absolutely rip apart another mom that had stepped down from so many hours, so many years of volunteering under the orders of her doctor for what the overload was doing to her health.  She, too, was apparently selfish and it was just so horrible that she had not given advance notice of stepping down.  In reality, she told them 8 months prior to the point where she would be stepping down, to give them time to find someone to replace her, and after that gradually stepped back.  Last I checked, she still devoted some of her time there, so as to not be one of those parents.  That’s kind of insane.

The next school year, when the volunteer paperwork came home, Husband, knowing what it was doing to me, snatched away all the papers, checked a big ole NO in every box, and sent it back.  He did it because I couldn’t say no.  So he did it for me.

At home, I still couldn’t get the whole self care thing down.  If I took any time for me, the guilt came back.  Big time.  The guilt was spurred on by family members, half of which had decided I was a failure for not doing anything at the moment with my college degree, the other half decided I was a failure because my home was not the sparkling white utopias their homes were.  Neither side was particularly afraid of telling me what they thought.

I spent a lot of time trying to get too much done in one day.  So much, in fact, that I pretty much mentally paralyzed myself to the point I was unable to focus.  A task that should have taken me 10 minutes suddenly took over an hour.  I would spend the whole day cleaning house only to realize I had accomplished nothing, but it didn’t matter.  I had to keep plugging along, devoting as much time as possible to being a good wife, a good mom.  Time for myself was not something I allotted.  If I crafted, I crafted for other people or things for me that had a purpose.  If I read, it was on useful topics.  Every bit of my day was for someone else.  If I sat down to read a pleasure book, or peruse an article, I felt a pervasive, heavy sense of guilt over what I could be doing with my time instead.

And eventually, I burnt out.  Being the good wife, the good mom, the good friend, the person that everyone always went to with needs broke me.  Every small request felt earth shatteringly stressful.  Every time the kids misbehaved, I felt like I failed as a parent.  If I didn’t get this or that done in the house, well, that’s clearly my failure as a wife.  It got to the point when I felt bad more than good, and I just wanted to give up.  My anxiety, which had been low level for such a long time, went through the roof.  I didn’t understand how other people were doing the exact same things that I was, and were perfectly fine.  What was I missing?

At the same time as I was feeling like a failure, my Facebook feed (not this one, my vanilla one.  The one where I actually don’t talk about sex.  I know, I think it’s weird, too) was filled with mom friends posting article after article, from different authors and different publications, all with the same theme: you should relish the chaos of motherhood.  You should be happy for those sleepless nights!  You should grab on to every single second of childhood, immerse yourself in it, because this will never come again!  Oh, and don’t forget to support your husband. He needs your love and care, too.  So go, Mom!  GO GO GO!  These posts would always be followed by my mom friends making comments like, “Oh, I needed to hear this!” and “So inspiring!” and “ABSOLUTELY TRUE!!!!”  And I felt even worse.  How could I possibly throw myself into this whole caring for others thing even further without absolutely collapsing?  And now, looking back, I realize all of those articles were missing something so very important: sometimes people need to stop and care for themselves, too.

The guilt I felt at taking care of myself robbed me of something so very fundamentally important for my mental and physical well-being.  It dawned on me that taking care of myself, and at times allowing others to care for me, saying no, or even backing out of situations and arguments when I felt too exhausted to continue wasn’t selfish.  It’s fucking necessary.  I started adding in little bits of self care here and there.  Nothing major, but just giving myself permission to do little things just because I want to do them.  Allowing myself to go out to dinner with a friend.  Taking a few minutes to paint my nails.  Spending twenty minutes on the yoga mat.  Going for a walk.  These small changes made all the difference in the world.  I’m healthier.  I’m happier.  I know that some times it’s OK to say no.  It’s OK to take time for me.  Not only is it OK, it’s SUPER IMPORTANT!  I am a better wife, better mom, better friend, better human when I take time for me.  I’m even more productive when I am!

I figure if I’ve had problems with this, it stands to reason that other people have, too.  So I did what any self-respecting blogger would do.  I interviewed some truly awesome authors, sex educators, and professionals to get their take on self care and why it’s so important.  I’ll be going through all of what they said in part 2 of this post.

In the meantime, lets get self care on the map.  Let’s remind people that self care is so important.  Get your typity-type fingers over to social media and use #SelfCare and #SelfCareIs (or any variation that you want that gets the idea across) and talk about what self care is to you.  Talk about what you do for self care.  Talk about why self care is so vitally important.  Let’s get the word out.  Let’s remind people that self care isn’t shameful, it’s not selfish, it’s not wrong.  It’s fucking necessary.

Good Clean Love Caribbean Rose Love Oil Review

~I received this item for free in exchange for an honest review.~Good Clean Love massage oil review

I love massages.  I have my own table, several books, several different oils, and I love them.  I give him massages, he gives me massages, and we’re that much happier for it.  I’m excited to review Good Clean Love’s Caribbean Rose Love Oil.

A little bit about it: GCL’s Carribean Rose Love Oil is a 100% natural massage oil made with a blend of apricot kernel oil, organic jojoba oil, tocopherol (vitamin E), and essential oils.  They bill their oils as aromatherapy aphrodisiacs.

What I loved: I was in love with this massage oil before I even used it due to its scent.  It’s not so strong that it’s overpowering, but not faint, either.  It’s a nice balance that I can definitely smell while I’m using it, but wouldn’t if I, say, walked ten feet away.  The scent is mostly sweet and floral, with a little bit of spiciness.  If I could make it into a perfume, I would be aaaaaaall over that.

In use, the oil is delightful.  Smooth, non-sticky, and glides over the skin.  It goes pretty far, so you don’t have to use a lot, especially if you are only using it on a small section of the body, like the shoulders.  It washes off easily, or you can just wipe off the excess and let the good skin oils absorb.  My hands feel so good after.

What I didn’t: A minor complaint, but the screw on cap doesn’t seem to fit the bottle quite right and pops off easily.

Final thought: Just under $20 will buy 4oz of GCL’s Carribean Rose, and it goes a pretty long way, and for a good massage oil, the price is totally worth it.  It smells amazing and leaves my skin feeling so good.

~I received this item for free in exchange for an honest review.~

SpareParts Hardwear Joque Harness Review

~I received this item for free in exchange for an honest review.~spareparts hardware joque harness review

Pegging is something he and I engage in.  Not often, but often enough that we want a decent harness with good toys to use.  Good toys isn’t a problem (yeah, hi, Tantus).  But finding a good harness was a little more of a problem.  Other harnesses were ill-fitting, hot, awkward.  Blah.  Enter the Joque Harness from SpareParts Hardwear!

A little bit about it: The Joque is an adjustable dildo harness.  It comes in two sizes, and several colors.  There is a pocket for a vibrator on the inside for the wearer.

What I loved: The first time I put on the Joque, I was all sorts of wowed.  It’s completely adjustable around the waist and legs, cute, and very, very comfortable.  SpareParts boasts that the Joque “feels like ‘virtual second skin’.”  They weren’t kidding.  When I put it on, it felt completely natural.

When I added a dildo to it, I thought I’d feel odd or silly, the way I had in other harnesses.  But, I was surprised to find just how unsilly it felt.  (Is unsilly a word?  Eh, I’m going with it.)  The dildo protruding from me actually looked sexy, like it belonged there.  It was stable, and comfortable, and awesome.

In practice, the harness was equally awesome for pegging.  The dildo held in place very well and I did not have to stop to readjust at all.  Unlike other harnesses that I’ve tried, I didn’t feel like I needed to make exaggerated movements or try to awkwardly hold the dildo in place.

It wasn’t just me that liked it.  He liked it, too.  In addition to it looking sexy on me, he thought it seemed more secure than other harnesses, and liked just how the adjustable the fit was.  As the receiver, it didn’t seem as awkward for him as other harnesses had.

What I didn’t: Two pretty minor complaints.  First, the material is a little bit stretchy where the dildo protrudes.  It makes it so I could feel the dildo moving *slightly* forward and back with the material.  That’s more that I wasn’t used to feeling it move in that direction than an actual complaint.  And let me be clear: when I say movement, I’m talking in milimeters.  It wasn’t moving all over the place.Spareparts hardwear joque harness review

The second problem I had was with the vibe pocket.  It runs horizontally, and hits both my legs.  When I tried the We-Vibe Tango in it, it was simply too long to fit there.  Maybe a shorter vibrator would work, but to be honest, I’d love to see a vibe pocket that ran vertically, on the innermost flap.  That way instead of the vibe laying across my labia, like now, it would lie between them, and hit my clitoris.

 

Final thought: I really, really like the Joque Harness.  I mean, I REALLY like it.  I’ve never tried one that felt so comfortable and natural!  If you are looking for a new harness, this one is definitely worth a look.

~I received this item for free in exchange for an honest review.~

Penchant Premium Silicone Lubricant

~I received this item for free in exchange for an honest review.~penchant premium silicone lubricant

I’m a huge fan of silicone lubricants, especially as it applies to anal play, oral sex, and hand jobs.  It can be a wonderful addition to many kinds of play time, and it’s my favored kind of lubricant to use for any sex act except penis-in-vagina sex.  Penchant was kind enough to send me their brand new silicone lubricant to try.

A little bit about it: Penchant Premium silicone lubricant is a basic, clear silicone lube without parabens.  It’s that simple.

What I loved: Long ago, I attended a workshop with renown sex educator, Ducky Doolittle (who remains one of my sex ed heroes).  In it, she made a suggestion that I had never heard of: while performing oral sex on a penis, add some silicone lubricant to the shaft and rub your hand along it while your mouth stays closer to the top.  It was a game changing suggestion and nothing like I had ever heard.  I tried it, and boy howdy did it make a difference.  It felt better for him, and felt like less work for me.

Penchant’s lubricant works fantastically for this.  It’s long-lasting, and so I rarely have to reapply it (maybe once or twice during a 30 minute bj).  The lubricant is slick and smooth, and isn’t sticky.  It doesn’t have any sort of taste or smell, so that if I accidentally get it into my mouth, it’s no big deal.

Its long life means it’s also fantastic if you like to do any sort of anal play whatsoever.  Not much is needed, it spreads easily, and it doesn’t need to be reapplied too often, cutting down on the time play has to stop in order to adjust.

What I didn’t: I don’t really like using silicone lubricant for vaginal sex, but that’s a personal preference thing, and nothing to do with the lubricant itself.  Also, remember that silicone lubricants can react negatively to silicone toys.  Always do a patch test first, or stick with water-based lubes for your silicone toys.

Final thought: At $25 a bottle, Penchant Premium is admittedly pricey compared to water based lubricants, but the price is pretty on par with high quality silicone lubricants.  I would definitely say this lubricant is completely worth it.

~I received this item for free in exchange for an honest review.~

Good Clean Love Almost Naked Personal Lubricant Review

Good Clean Love Review~I received this item for free in exchange for an honest review.~

I’ve only recently become aware of Good Clean Love and their products, with their simple but elegant bottles (I’m a sucker for green) and trendy scents.  I gleefully accepted an offer to review their Almost Naked lubricant.

A little bit about it: Almost Naked is a lightly scented (lemon & vanilla), water based lubricant.  It’s on the thicker side, and comes in a few different sizes.

What I loved: The lube didn’t smell anything like lemon and vanilla to me.  Actually, it smelled kind of like coconut.  However your nose interprets it, it’s a very lovely, light scent that is pleasant and not overbearing.

I tried the lubricant in a few different ways, including toys, hand jobs, and intercourse.  It performed fantastically, lasted quite some time, and not much is needed.  I needed to reapply it several times during the hand job, but really, you always need to reapply with hand jobs, don’t you?  Even silicone lubricants need to be reapplied then.  However, I didn’t need to reapply at all with toys or during intercourse.  It mixed really well with my natural wetness and didn’t feel unnatural, the way some lubes do.  The formula was very thick, and stayed exactly where we put it, unlike thinner lubricants that tend to run.  Runny lubricants, I’ve noticed, tend to take more to get the same effect as a little bit of thicker lubes.

Almost Naked sits proudly next to our bottles of Sliquid on the nightstand, really holding it’s own in the (mostly) natural lubricant category.

What I didn’t: Don’t confuse the word “organic” with “all natural.”  Good Clean Love stresses that while their formula is 95% organic, they wish to stay away from the label of natural.  If you are more comfortable with a 100% natural lubricant, stick closer to Sliquid.

Comparison: Speaking of Sliquid, how do they compare?  It seems (to me at least) that the market for Good Clean Love’s products would probably be similar to that of Sliquid.  So what’s the difference?  Two things, really.  The first is how they bill themselves (organic vs natural).  Sliquid claims to be 100% natural, while Good Clean Love says they are 95% organic.  However, with Sliquid, if you want organic, you must buy from their Organic line.  Good Clean Love’s base formula is already organic.

lubricants1

Lubes on a flat surface

Almost Naked Review

Lubes on a tilted surface

There’s only one other thing that is different, and in my opinion is a big difference, is that comparing the two base formulas (Almost Naked and Sliquid’s H20), Almost Naked is much, much thicker.  Whether that’s a good thing or not really depends on personal preference.  Sliquid’s thinner formula more closely mimics natural lubrication, as far as texture goes.  Almost Naked doesn’t feel quite as natural (but doesn’t really feel unnatural), but it’s thickness allows it to stay where you put it, whether on a penis or toy or whatever.  The thickness also makes it better for any sort of anal play.

Final thought: I like Good Clean Love’s Almost Naked.  It smells light and pleasant, is nice and thick, and doesn’t run all over the place when you try to use it.  They sent me a 4oz bottle, but if you aren’t sure whether you are going to love it or not, they also sell a much smaller 1.5oz bottle.

~I received this item for free in exchange for an honest review.~

Hot Octopuss Pulse II Duo Review

~I received this item for free in exchange for an honest review.~pulse review

I will be the first to admit that the first time I saw Hot Octopuss’s Pulse long ago, I sort of laughed at it and then ignored it.  Most of the time when I see a new toy come on the market that I find ridiculous, my suspicions are often proven correct.  This time, though, I was very wrong.  Sort of.

OK, here’s the deal.  Husband recently discovered that he likes vibrations on his penis, where before he did not.  He tried the Pulse II Duo, but was so meh about the whole thing that there was no way I could write an accurate review off of it.  He gave notes on the way it could improve and be awesome for him, but as it was it just wasn’t going to do much.  So, I did what any self-respected sex blogger would do.  I pulled in more people!  Well, one person.  I grabbed one of my male, sex positive friends and made him try it, too.  Both men had very different experiences with the Pulse II Duo, and have very different anatomies and pleasure spots and need different types of stimulation.

Also, I have friends that will gleefully test sex toys for me to give me extra info.  And none of us find that weird at all.  I have the best friends ever.

A little bit about it: The Pulse II Duo is a vibrator for guys.  A guybrator!  It has two independent motors.  The first is on the under side, which makes contact with the penis.  The other is on the top, that a woman could straddle and grind against her clitoris for foreplay, if they want to use the Pulse as a couple’s toy.  This second motor is what’s controlled by the remote, while the penile one is controlled by buttons on the vibrator itself.

They guys’ experiences:

Both the gents liked the novelty of it.  A vibrator for guys is a new thing to both of them.  Both of them found them pleasurable, but for different reasons.

Husband: The vibration definitely felt pleasurable, and he didn’t feel the need to increase the speed from the lowest setting.  The vibrating knob that sits against the frenulum hits exactly the right spot in the right way.  It feels good, but it’s not quite the right stimulation for him.  He’s used to using a closed hand technique, masturbating face down or using Tenga eggs for masturbation.  Since the Pulse Duo is so open, both on the top and on the front (or back, depending on your point of view…The side that would be closest to the belly), it doesn’t provide enough stimulation for him.  He needs to have his whole penis, including and especially the head, covered and making contact.  It doesn’t help that he isn’t what you would call super duper sensitive, and yet his skin goes numb easily.  He tried both holding it still and rubbing with lube.  The rubbing was better, but still not enough.

His conclusion: In short, if the Pulse Duo was more enclosed, Husband would like it more and would have no trouble having an orgasm from it.  As it is, it makes a nice foreplay toy, but will never be the main event for him.

Guy friend: Guy friend is always up for trying new things.  Like Husband, he was intrigued with the idea of a vibrator for guys.  His skin is more sensitive than Husband’s, and doesn’t numb as quickly.  His pleasure spots are a little less specific than Husband, and when he masturbates, he tends to use a more open-handed motion, with contact only happening at a few points on his shaft.  Yes, I asked.  We’re good friends.  And my friends are awesome and don’t even flinch telling me stuff like that.  They often follow up these conversations by asking for lube and toy recommendations, but that’s beside the point and I’m getting off track.

Anyway, his experience was different than Husband’s.  Although he, like Husband, found that the best way for him to use it was with lube and a slight stroking motion, the outcome was far better.  Since he tends to use a more open-handed motion when he masturbates, having an open top and back didn’t bother him in the slightest.  He didn’t have the feeling that anything was missing.  The vibrations hit the right spots, and he was able to orgasm in under 5 minutes.  For comparison, his orgasm time during intercourse is roughly 30 or more minutes, on average.  And no, he’s not fibbing.  I checked with his wife.

His conclusion: The Pulse II lives up to it’s reputation.  He would use it if he owned it, as a quick and pleasurable way to masturbate.  Easy to use, quick clean up, and allows him to come faster.

My experience: I tried it for foreplay on my clitoris as the company suggests, but the vibration is spread across too wide of an area for me to get anywhere near orgasm from it.  I prefer either pinpoint accuracy, or broad but very, very strong.  The Pulse is strong, but just not quite enough for my clit-o-steel.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s pleasurable, it feels pretty dang good, but not right for me to come with.  It is strictly a foreplay thing.

Final thought: I’m going to have to say worth it, but, it seems to depend on the way a man masturbates.  If a penis-haver is used to a closed hand, or eggs and masturbators that tightly fit, it may be harder to come with the Pulse.  However, if he is used to a more open hand or varies the way he masturbates, or knows that he likes vibration, the Pulse II is so, so worth it.

~I received this item for free in exchange for an honest review.~

Liberator Wing Review

~I received this item for free in exchange for an honest review.~

Liberator Wing reviewI’ve been in love with position aids since I first purchased the Liberator Wedge and Ramp to help save my wrists and joints.  I haven’t regretted it.  In fact, I’ve been on the lookout for other cushions that would offer some extra options (and comfort) to happy fun time.  Liberator is probably the most well-known sex cushion company, and there’s a good reason for that.  They offer everything from plain cushions, to cushions with bondage attachments, toy mounts, and furniture.  They even have a giant floor pillow!

Liberator was kind enough to send me the Wing, a combination dildo mount, vibrating pillow, and sex cushion, and I am in love.

A little bit about it: The Wing is a fairly stiff cushion covered in microfiber.  It has two pockets: a deep one for dildos, and a horizontal one for vibrators.  The cover can be removed for washing.

What I loved: Holy moly.  I knew when I looked at the Wing, I was probably going to like it, but I didn’t think I would be absolutely in love with it.  If I had known of it’s existence, I probably would have tried to get my hands on it sooner.  It is my new favorite thing.

As a sex cushion, it does an amazing job at doggy style.  I can lay my torso along the length of it (so my body is parallel to it), and rest there, while my hips are still high enough for receiving.  It’s also fantastic for man-on-top, as I can lay on my back but tuck it under my hips, raising me up slightly.  This position allows my partner to hit me just right and gives me fantastic G-spot orgasms

As a toy mount, it is no less spectacular.  When using a dildo on the top side, I can adjust the angle and the cushion will hold the dildo in place so I can fully customize the exact angle of entry.  I can then lean forward, and either grip the cushion, or rest my whole torso on it, allowing me to ride the toy however I’m in the mood (or have energy) for.

Liberator Wing ReviewOn the other side of the cushion is a pocket that runs horizontally.  You can place straight-ish vibrators in there and cause the whole cushion to vibrate.  I, however, like to put the vibrator in and leave a good deal of it hanging out.  Then I can lay across the pillow and have the exposed portion of the vibrator rest against my clitoris.

What I didn’t: The one and only thing I didn’t like about the Wing is that although I followed the washing instructions for the cover, it shrank slightly.  Not so much that I couldn’t get it on the pillow again, but definitely a little harder than the first time.  I dried it on low, but I think next time I need to use the extra low or air dry setting.  I suggest you do the same.

Final thought: The Wing runs at about the $100 mark, and in my opinion, totally and completely worth it.  If something were to happen to mine, I would pretty much immediately want another one.  It is currently my favorite position pillow.

~I received this item for free in exchange for an honest review.~

Minna Life Ola Review

~I received this item for free in exchange for an honest review.~minna ola

Minna Life is one of my absolute favorite companies.  Not only do they make the totally nifty interactive Limon, but also the very responsive Kegel fitness tracker, the kGoal.  Today I’m reviewing the Ola, another interactive and customizable toy.

A little bit about it: The Ola is a waterproof, silicone, rechargeable vibrator.  Instead of buttons that increase or decrease speed, the Ola has an air cushion on the end.  The harder you squeeze it with your fingers, the stronger the vibrations.  You can also create your own pattern in record mode, or set it to constantly vibrate when you let go of the pillow.

What I loved: Just like it’s little sister Limon, the Ola’s air cushion allows me to decide just how much power I want, or what pattern I like.  If I know a pattern that I’m sure works for me, it’s very easy to just program it in.  I also like that I can set it to vibrate constantly if I don’t want to bother with continual squeezing.

The Ola’s vibrations are deep and rumbly.  No sign of the surface buzziness that often accompanies the cheaper vibrators.  These vibrations go deep, and, for me, provide better orgasms, but not vaginally. Clitorally.  I’m not a huge fan of it in my vagina.  If I use it on my clitoris, though?  I love it.  It’s one of the better clitoral vibrators I’ve tried, and would highly recommend it on that alone.

Plus, it’s silicone!  And it’s waterproof!  Shower fun!  I’ve seen a lot of new companies lately come up with some amazing toy, only to fail in the waterproof department.  Minna does it right.

What I didn’t: The only thing I didn’t like about the Ola is the shape.  It seems somehow, I don’t know…wrong?  When I use it internally, no matter how I turn it (right side up, sideways, upside down), the head of the dildo part just doesn’t seem to hit my G-spot, or anything else pleasurable.  I’ve tried different orientations, positions, speeds of the vibrations.  Nothing.  Way better as a clitoral vibrator, I think.

Final thought:  Worth it.  The Ola costs about $140, and comes in pink or violet.  If you like the idea of the Limon but didn’t like the shape, or if you want something along the same lines but want a toy you could use internally and externally, the Ola is definitely worth a look.

~I received this item for free in exchange for an honest review.~

May is Masturbation Month

Let’s talk the big M: Masturbation.  May is International Masturbation Month, formerly National Masturbation Month.  Sex positive business Good Vibrations started the first National Masturbation Day and Month in 1995, after former Surgeon General Dr. Joycelyn Elders lost her job for having the audacity to suggest that maybe we should be teaching our youth about masturbation as a possible way to curb more risky behavior.  The horror.  Clutch your pearls, ya’ll.

Personally, I just don’t get the still-present icky feelings that people have around the word.  Like self pleasure is bad, and wrong, and scary.  That we should be terrified of knowing what our parts look and feel like, or knowing how to please ourselves.  I’ve noticed that those that are staunchly anti-masturbation usually make a big deal about sexual pleasure being reserved for partners.  But here’s the thing: how can you communicate with your partner about what you like if you don’t know and are afraid to find out?

I love having sex with the Husband, but let’s be honest here.  Life is life, and he’s not always available or in the mood.  Further, sometimes, I just feel like masturbating.  And I’m not ashamed of that, thankyouverymuch.

So in honor of Masturbation Month (I’m over a week late, I know, stop judging me), I’m giving you the lowdown on some of my favorite shops’ sales.  Go.  Buy.  Learn about yourself.  Don’t have the funds for happy time fun toys?  Use your fingers and explore.  Learn about the geography of your body.  I will not have you being one of those people that can’t find their clitoris and think they pee from their vag.  Nossir.
Shevibe has several sales going on.  They typically do, and right now you can get these deals:
-15% off Fuze toys through 5/26/15
-20% off select Tantus toys while supplies last
-Free shipping when you purchase a Traz Rhino, which isn’t strictly a masturbation toy, but according to Rhino’s site can be. (See my review)

Tantus remains one of my most favorite manufacturers ever, and with good reason.  Their toys are body safe and a-maz-ing.
-Maybation sale: 20% off when you buy lube+any solo toy.
-Use code BUNS to get 15% off their new Vibrating Progressive Beads.
-Up to 30% off classic rings and slings.  Again, not specifically masturbation toys, but still.

Sensual Intelligence is a Canada-based shop that serves both Canada and the US.  Here’s what they have going on:
-Use code SEXYFUN to get 5% off your entire purchase.
-Use code TANTUS15 to get 15% off all Tantus toys.