Intimate Melody LAVA 3 in 1 Vibrator

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

I’ve never seen toys with interchangeable parts before.  I’ve seen toys that can be used for both anal and vaginal, or vaginal and clitoral, even double ended toys, but interchangeable parts is not something I’m familiar with.  Enter the LAVA 3 in 1.

A little bit about it: The LAVA is made of silicone and plastic, is waterproof, rechargeable, and comes with 3 interchangeable heads.  It is multi-speed and multi-pattern, and has with a built in heating function.

What I loved: I didn’t think the bullet vibe attachment was going to really be my thing.  My experience with wired bullets have been lackluster, at best.  This little bullet, though, impressed me and I had no problem reaching climax from it.  The vibrations are strong, though not as strong as, say, the Tango (but approaching that level), and a strange mix of buzzy and rumbly, stimulating both the surface and down deeper.

The two vaginal attachments are great for G-spotting.  One has a bulbous head, which I love for my G-spot.  The other is curved with a ridge.  I can’t really feel the ridge in use, but the curve is perfect for me reaching vaginal orgasm.  Out of the two, though, I much prefer the the purple attachment with the more pronounced head.

My favorite thing about it is that the LAVA is 3 toys in one: two velvety dildos and one clitoral vibrator for roughly the price of one toy.

What I didn’t: The heating function bores me.  It takes 5-10 minutes to heat up the dildo attachments, and it’s programmed to heat up to roughly body temperature.  The bullet never warms up. Running a waterproof toy under warm water for a few seconds would do the same thing, and faster.  And once it reaches body temperature?  It doesn’t feel like anything special, really, because it’s, ya know, body temperature.  Most toys will warm up to body temp fairly quickly without the extra warming feature.

As a minor note: the colors.  Pink and purple.  Why always with the pink and purple.  Sigh.

Final thought: The LAVA retails for roughly $100.  Now, it is most definitely a decent toy, but don’t buy it because of the novelty of a self-heating toy.  The bullet is pretty good, the dildo attachments are great for G-spots (although I would still prefer the Pure Wand or Comet G because of the larger heads and more extreme curve).  I’d recommend this toy for someone new to toys, especially new to higher end toys, as sort of a sampler pack, in order to get a better feel about what does or does not work for you.

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

Eva Review

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

eva vibrator reviewI’m always on the lookout for the next couple’s toy.  It’s not that there aren’t any, but more like most of the ones that exist are just so…blah.  The most notable exceptions, of course, are toys that can do double duty for single and partnered play, like the We-Vibe Tango and Touch.  I haven’t mentioned this week how much I love those, right?

Anyway, the Eva had potential.  It’s definitely a design I had not seen before, and after my awesome last time with a new design, I was happy to give Eva a try.  Unfortunately, it’s just as meh as most other couple’s toys.

A little bit about it: The Eva is a rechargeable clitoral vibrator.  It’s made of silicone-covered plastic, and is billed as being a revolutionary hands-free vibrator.

What I loved: It’s new.  Seriously.  Unique designs are sometimes hard to come by in the sex toy world, and as reviewers we often see the same designs copied over and over and over.  The Eva is unique in it’s design, or at least, I haven’t seen another like it.

What I didn’t: The Eva simply did not live up to it’s hype.  It’s cute, yes, but really, that’s about it.  Let’s start with a little talk about the vibrations.  There are three settings (low, medium, high), and none of them are good.  The low setting is so low, I can’t really feel it.  That’s OK.  Me not liking the lowest setting on a toy is not exactly new, and perfectly fine if the higher settings are better.  They aren’t.  The medium setting is more buzzy than the low setting, and are definitely not the deep-penetrating, rumbly vibrations that I (and my clitoris) love so much.  The high setting is just a loud, buzzing mess.  It feels good on my clitoris for a moment, and then the buzziness makes me go numb and it becomes useless.

I like a little pressure on my clitoris when I use a vibrator, and the Eva sits right on the frustrating edge of not enough contact.  I can fix that with a firm finger push, but then it doesn’t live up to the hands-free name, and the vibrations are so poor the extra pressure doesn’t fix the core problem.

I at least wanted to like the design.  It seemed, at first at least, to be a good idea.  If they can design something that truly is hands-free, then other improvements could be made.  They could change the motor type, or…or something.  If the design is solid, the motor can be dealt with.  So I tried it several times, in different positions, but unfortunately, it wouldn’t stay in place reliably.  I was ready to chalk it up to anatomy differences or something of that nature, but fellow blogger Dangerous Lilly already did a little experiment with a few different vulvas, with not great results.

Final thought: I had high hopes for the Eva, but it simply doesn’t do it for me.  At bare minimum, the vibrations need to be rumbly, and then I may be convinced to give it a second look.  If you are looking for a toy that is intercourse friendly, I would stick with We-Vibe’s Tango or Touch and make liberal use of the cowgirl position.

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

My Life on the Swingset Book Review

My-Life-on-the-Swingset-Book-CoverYou might notice that I didn’t add the normal “received this item for free in exchange for an honest review” disclaimer.  That’s because in this case, I did a rare thing: I bought what I’m reviewing.  I did that because, knowing what I know of the author (I’ve been listening to his podcast and reading the articles from him and his compatriots for a long while), I knew it was going to be awesome.  I was not disappointed.

A little bit about it: Cooper S. Beckett’s My Life on the Swingset is a hilarious and touching book about swing, polyamory, and ethical non-monogamy in general.  It’s part memoir, part how-to, and part how-to not when starting or continuing along the path of an open relationship.  It’s not linear, but instead is a collection of essays on many different topics in ethical non-monogamy.  This book covers a lot of ground on a lot of topics and does it very, very well.  Just a sampling of things that are touched on: body image, jealousy, making the decision to be open, society’s unfair judgement of male bisexuality, first date jitters, losing relationships, finding relationships, intimacy, STIs, giving yourself (and your partner) permission to be your authentic selves, experimentation, quiet dates, orgies, condom use, orgasms, common problems, personal comfort, swinging in general, polyamory in general, and on and on and on.

What I loved: Like all informational books, not everything is going to appeal to everyone.  He’s been a lot of places, done a lot of things, had triumphs and made mistakes.  Even parts that may not be applicable to the reader’s life are touching, funny, entertaining, or all three.
There are already books on this subject, of course.  Opening Up and The Ethical Slut are generally the big ones that are recommended by those under the umbrella of ethical non-monogamy.  These books, of course, are very, very important, and as wonderful as Mr. Beckett’s writings and rants are, they are not a replacement for those info-packed tomes.  However, MLOTSS adds something they don’t.  It’s quintessentially human.  While the other books give solid information and do talk about real people, they are more like case studies with the proper academic emotional detachment, as they should be.  If you could compare Mr. Beckett’s work and others’ works with something more banal, say, a woodworking manual, the already well established books would say something like “Always keep your chisel sharpened, because otherwise it may skip across the wood and cut you.”  MLOTSS would say something more to the tune of, “I once didn’t sharpen my chisel because I was sure I knew what I was doing.  I cut the fuck out of my hand and ended up with eight stitches and a week of antibiotics.  The lesson, folks, is sharpen your damn chisel.”  The other books are like learning history by looking at maps, while My Life on the Swingset is more like notes from the trenches.

There is a lot about this book that I loved.  Geek references sprinkled in like seasoning of course always entertains me.  Anyone that quotes Doctor Who is going to have my attention for at least a moment.  It made me feel like I was not being talked to by this voice of some alpha-swinger with a body that was far better than mine, reaching levels that I could never hope to touch, but instead like a real person who just happened to have experienced things I had not and had a larger knowledge base than me.

But the best part about My Life on the Swingset is what it says about fucking up.  Other works seem to be missing what to do if you are afraid to screw things up, or what you do if you do screw up.  Other books are more about just avoiding the fuckups, which, in my experience, leaves a huge hole.  I’ve known a lot of people, and a lot of people that practice non-monogamy (it’s far more common than you might think).  Here is something I’ve noticed happens a lot: Tom and Susan decide they want an open relationship via swing, poly, what have you.  Someone screws up and/or gets their feelings hurt, so Tom and Susan get confused.  The books never say what happens when a problem arises.  They talk about communication, of course, but that’s often not specific enough advice.  The problem is often one they never even discussed, never saw coming.  Or, it’s something they thought they would be ok with but in practice were not.  They followed the books’ advice, but had a setback.  Since they weren’t perfect, they quit, the end.  Ethical non-monogamy should be easy, and if it’s not, then they aren’t meant for it.  Right?

Wrong.  What Cooper includes in detail that other books just barely touch on is that people are human, and they do screw up.  What really won my heart in this book more than anything else is the chapter The Safe Zone: Giving Yourself Permission to Screw Up.

My Safe Zone idea is about giving yourself permission to make those mistakes and fuck up, because it’s those potential mistakes, those things that could backfire so greatly, that wind up being the absolute best things about the lifestyle.

He acknowledges that a person might fuck up, their partner might fuck up, and that it’s part of this lifestyle.  And that, I think, is the best part of My Life on the Swingset.  He gives the reader permission to fuck up, to know they will, to know that their partner will, and not be the end of the world.  He goes on to talk about some of his own fuckups.  And that’s one of the endearing things about him.  He’s not pretending to be some sort of perfect non-mon god that has always done it perfectly.  He’ll tell you what he did, and what he learned from it.

And of course, mixed in with all his personal stories, anecdotes, and shenanigans are the real nitty-gritty how-to stuff.  All the things that people practicing non-monogamy really need to know.  Compersion, jealousy, practicing with condoms, erection problems, body image, finding people, communication, the importance of not taking one for the team or being pressured.

What I didn’t: The only thing that caught my attention was mentions of time.  Occasionally there was a “yesterday” or “last week” that I personally find a little jarring since there’s really no date to speak of.  But that’s probably more of a me thing than a readership at large thing.

Final thought: Worth it.  If you are thinking of looking at ethical non-monogamy, this book is a must to buy alongside other books on swing/poly.  If you are not interested in different relationship styles or are completely monogamous, I would say this is still worth a read because it’s just so entertaining.  You can grab a copy at Cooper S. Beckett’s site.

Bettie Page Longing for Leather Bullwhip Review

~I received this item for free in exchange for an honest review.~Bettie Page Bullwhip Review

BDSM is something I explore when the mood strikes me.  I would not say I’m an expert, not anywhere close.  More like a very interested amateur that also happens to be a bit of an information whore, but my real world experience with BDSM tools is fairly limited.  That’s why I was so delighted to receive the Bettie Page Longing for Leather Bullwhip.  Takes forever to say, fun to use.

A little bit about it: This pretty little whip is made of braided leather with a slight stretch.  It is roughly 34″ from handle to tip, 28″ if you exclude the handle.

What I loved: I’ve had experience with paddles and other impact toys, and limited experience with floggers.  A whip is a completely different experience.  While an impact toy could either sting or thud depending on how it’s used, the sensation generally radiates across a wide area.  This bullwhip, though, creates a very localized and intense sensation where contact is made.  Or at least that’s how it seems to me.

Right out of the box, the smell of the leather is intoxicating.  The whip is visually attractive and seems well made, with a little bit of a stretch along the braids.  The handle is comfortable and fits very nice in both his and my hands.Bettie Page Longing for Leather Bullwhip ReviewIn use, the whip takes a little bit of practice, more so than a paddle or a flogger, or even a cane.  With other impact toys, you can test them a little bit on yourself to get a feel for the kind of sensations you are causing, and then warm up with light taps before swinging harder.  That’s still true for the whip, but with an extra layer of difficulty: aim.  Most impact toys are short (ish) and aside from an occasional misplaced blow, they are fairly easy to control, or at least it seems to me.  A whip, however, is long and flexible, and you can easily miss your mark or misjudge the intensity of a swing.  It’s far, far better to practice first.

It may seem that having a learning curve to a toy is a bad thing, and shouldn’t be in my love section, but in fact, it kind of makes me love it all the more.  Things that are easy are, well, easy.  A clitoral vibe goes on the clit, a dildo goes wherever (depending on the type and safety features), but a BDSM toy that takes skill adds more, in my opinion, to a power play session, injecting confidence and excitement after practice and making a scene that much more erotic.  To be at the hands of someone I love that actually knows how to use the tool he’s about to use on me?  Yeah, I’m all over that.

Bettie Page Longing for Leather Bullwhip reviewThe whip is easy to swing, and it doesn’t take a whole lot of elbow room to get a good impact with it.  And, since it’s a short whip, it doesn’t take a lot of room to practice with, either.  Just a note for newbies, though, that you will not get the snap sound with a whip like this.  It’s not made for that.  Don’t think that because you aren’t hearing a crack means you are doing something wrong, and certainly don’t take it to mean that you aren’t hitting hard enough, especially if you are using it on a person.  It’s not that kind of whip.

The short length of the whip also adds a little extra feature that would be more difficult to achieve with something longer.  We found that if we fold it over, so our hands are holding both the tip and handle in the same hand, it can be used as an open center paddle, which is yet another new and different sensation.

What I didn’t: There is only one thing we really didn’t like about it.  The loop on the handle is too small.  We assumed it was meant to go around your wrist for stability, but it’s too short for that, but too long to assume that it’s meant to be a loop to hang it with.  So we really don’t know what that loop is for, but we’d like to see it be a little bit longer.

The last thing was not a problem with the whip, but more a problem with how we used it, and wanted to warn others against making the same mistake.  In the middle of a scene, we got a little too into it and used the whip as a restraint.  Nothing was tied, and it was only for a moment. [Cautionary note: if you play with restraints in any fashion, always have a way for the sub/bottom to communicate discomfort and always have a way that they can be immediately released from restraints, and never bind someone tightly or leave a retrained person alone, to name just a few safety rules.]  That one moment, however, was all it took to cause damage.  The braids left strange, stretchmark-like creases on my skin, and it took a week before they were gone.  I hid with them make-up to make them less noticeable to prying eyes.

Final thought: You can pick up the Bettie Page Longing for Leather Bullwhip at shevibe for about $80.  If you are interested in impact play, it’s well worth having in your collection, and with proper care, should last a long time.

Thanks to shevibe for sending me this to review!

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

Womanizer Vibe Review

~I received this product for free in exchange for an honest review.~womanizer vibe review

I’m always so very, very wary when a company claims to have new, better technology or information, guaranteed to give you the perfect orgasm.  Usually, these fall far, far short of their claims.  I’ve seen it in everything from books to vibrators.  In my experience, the more they claim to be the be-all, end-all of all things orgasm, the worse they end up actually being.

The first email I received from Womanizer company reps talked about their new, amazing technology, and how women are coming within 60 seconds, blah blah blah, and I thought, “Well, I haven’t done a negative review for a while.  Why not give it a whirl.”

I will be the first to stand up and admit when I am wrong.  For once, someone that claims to have new, amazing technology actually has it.

A little bit about it: The Womanizer is a combination gentle sucking/vibrating toy that attaches to the head of your clitoris.  Not the shaft.  The head.  It is multispeed and rechargeable, but it is not waterproof.  The soft heads that make contact with the body can be removed for cleaning.

What I loved: Let me start here by giving you a little background about me.  It can sometimes be difficult for me to reach orgasm.  I need strong(ish) vibrations, at the very least.  My favorite toys are the We-Vibe Touch, Tango, and the Magic Wand for this reason.  Little, barely felt toys?  Not my thing.  It can sometimes take me 20-40 minutes before I reach orgasm, sometimes an hour (although on a good day, 10 will do if the conditions are right and I really concentrate).

I didn’t expect to actually be able to reach climax with the Womanizer.  I felt the vibrations in my hand, and although pleasant, could hardly be described as strong.  I felt just a slight little suction on my fingers.

Then came testing time!  The suction needs to lay right on the head of the clitoris.  I’m usually not a fan of anything touching my clitoris directly for a few reasons.  One, even when erect, my clitoral hood keeps it covered.  You know how some female-bodied people’s clitoral heads poke out when they are aroused?  Yeah?  I’m not one of those.  Because of that, my clitoral head is insanely sensitive, and not in the touch-me-and-I-orgasm way.  More like touch-me-and-I-punch-you-stop-that-really-hurts kind of way.  So generally speaking, my clitoral head is a no-fly zone.  My clitoral shaft, however, is aces, and that’s what I usually stimulate to reach orgasm (and possibly why I need stronger vibrations and it takes me forever and a day).

I tried the Womanizer on my clitoral shaft.  It felt…nice, I guess?… but not much else.  I turned it on low and carefully placed it on my clitoral head.  It actually felt good.  Like, really good.  The combination of slight suction and mild vibration was the best feeling I ever had from a toy.  In under 2 minutes, I reached climax.

And it was a surprise climax, one I did not expect.  By all accounts, it should not have worked.  The whole idea sounded so very hokey.  I held it in my hand and demanded it to tell my why it works.  When it didn’t answer, I threw it at Husband and demanded the same thing of him.  He asked me to let him watch so he could see it in action.  I obliged, and afterwards he scratched his head and said, “Huh.  I’ve never seen you come that fast.”
It shouldn’t work.  But it does.  Toe curling, quick orgasms like I’ve never felt.  And more than that, the orgasms are…I don’t know how to put it…different?  They feel more localized to the clitoral area as opposed to the deep ones I would get from another vibrator.  Not better, not worse, just fascinatingly different.  And if you’ve been reading me for a while, you know I’m all about different.

But, all this could be a fluke, right?  Maybe my anatomy is just right or something.  Fortunately, I have a small circle of really, really good friends I can rely on to help me when I need a second opinion.  I grabbed a gal pal of mine and handed it off to her.  Same affect.  Orgasm in less than 5 minutes.

BIG, MAJOR, IMPORTANT THING I LEARNED WHILE USING: For me, if I used too much pressure, or much pressure at all, all the sensation deadened, and it took forever to orgasm.  When I went back to barely there pressure, it went back to fast orgasms.  Bear that in mind if you try this toy.

What I didn’t:  Oh, geez, can we just talk about the name for a minute?  Like, seriously.  To be perfectly honest, if I was walking through an adult boutique and saw Womanizer written on the box, I would have rolled my eyes and walked away.  Who wants to think of the creepy guy at the club that won’t stop hitting on you and has you running for cover when you reach for your vibrator?  With that name, I would have looked no closer.  If someone thought that was a good name for a toy for women/female-bodied persons, then they probably would not understand female anatomy, either.  Ew.  Looking at the box still makes me shudder a little.  Someone in marketing seriously dropped the ball on this one.

I told the name of the toy to a dear friend of mine who also happens to be the least politically correct person I know.  Even he raised his eyebrows and said, “I’m sorry, they called it what?”

Anyway, let’s talk briefly about the function.  It is quiet, for the most part, but my gal friend and I both noticed the same problem.  The control button rattles very, very loudly when in use, and it’s best to keep your finger lightly on it to keep the noise down if you don’t want your neighbors or housemates to hear you.  A minor issue, but certainly worth a note.

Final thought: I’m not going to lie to you.  The Womanizer’s amazingness (is that a word?  I’m going with it) comes with a price tag to match.  On Good Vibrations, it sells for $189.  Usually, with a toy price that high I try to give my readers similar, quality toys for less if they don’t like the price tag, but there simply is nothing else like this.  This is probably the first time since I tried the Mona 2 that I can say the price tag is most certainly worth it.  I highly recommend this toy.

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

Bswish Bcurious Review

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

I’ve been eyeing the Bcurious vibrator for a few years, since way back when I still worked with the company that must not be named.  It seemed perfect for me.  Unfortunately, it should have stayed on my wishlist instead of taking up room in my toybox.

A little bit about it: The Bcurious is a small, ergonomic clitoral vibrator.  It is also waterproof and rechargeable.

bswish bcurious reveiwWhat I loved: The Bcurious is small, light, and fits nicely in the hand.  Many vibrators I’ve tried eventually cause hand cramps because they are slightly awkward and I end up holding them too tight, but this one is comfortably narrow and also has an indent for resting your fingers. The texture is very velvety and feels luxurious against my fingers.  It’s one of those toys that I just want to stroke for a while.

The vibrations are strongish and pleasurable.  Notice I said pleasurable, not orgasmic.  There is a huge difference here.  We’ll get to that in a minute.

What I didn’t: I really wanted to like this vibe.  I’ve lusted it after it for such a long time, but I just can’t give my approval.  Don’t get me wrong, it has a lot of things going for it.  Its compact shape and ergonomic form is fantastic, and it’s light so your hands don’t get tired.  But all of this, all this, becomes somewhat useless in the face of the vibration levels.  And that, dear friends, is why this one pretty much fails.

The vibrations feel nice.  They feel good.  But they just won’t get me there.  They never will, and that is so very disappointing.  This little vibrator has everything going for it, except for the right kind of vibrations.  At this price point, it should have amazing and rumbly vibrations, but instead the vibrations are very buzzy like a cheap bullet vibe, but slightly stronger.  I’m very disappointed in this little cutey.

Final thought: I had such high hopes for the Bcurious, but I can’t recommend this one except for those that have a strong preference for buzzy vibrators.  If you want another compact vibrator with a velvety texture, stick with something like the We-Vibe Touch.  It’s still small and easy to hold, but with better vibration.

Thank you to Shevibe for sending me this one to try!

Scandal Bed Restraints Review

Scandal Bed Restraints Review~I received this item for free in exchange for an honest review.~

I’ve made no secret that I tend to dabble in BDSM and that I love to try new things, so when the Scandal Bed Restraints by CalEx came up for review, I jumped at the chance.

A little bit about it: The Scandal Bed Restraints are fairly simple.  Each set comes with a long strap with a loop on each end, four straps for arms and legs and four cuffs.  The long strap goes vertically under the bed or between the boxspring and mattress (what I did), and the arm and leg straps clip to it.

What I loved: The cuffs have a velcro closure.  I thought that if I just gave them a good yank while wearing them, they would simply pop off, but they held tight.  I had him try the same thing, but he also couldn’t easily free himself, but feels that if he really had to, he could with a fair amount of effort.

The cuffs fit a huge range of sizes.  My wrists are 5.75″ and ankles are 8″, while his are 7″ and 9.5″.  It fits both of us very comfortably, with lots of room to go much bigger.  I’m fairly confident it would fit most, if not all.

The cuffs themselves are very comfortable.  The tops are a very lovely red, brocade-like fabric that looks both sexy and classy at the same time.  The undersides are a black, velvety fabric and very comfy against the skin.

scandal bed restraints reviewThe straps that hold the cuffs to the bed are very long and adjustable, so the users can shorten them to spread arms and legs wider, or make it longer to give more room for movement.   You can also not use the long attachment strap under the mattress and tie the straps directly to bedposts or head and footboards instead.  If you don’t want to use the straps but still want to be restrained, the cuffs can hook directly to each other.

What I didn’t: When I opened the box, it felt like I was looking at a maze of straps.  There was just a bit of paper with a semi-confusing diagram of what I was supposed to do with them.  It took me a few minutes to figure it out, but once I did, it was obvious.  Better instructions would be helpful.

Final thought: I enjoyed this set immensely.  It’s small enough to be hidden away, but fully customizable to suit a variety of needs.  At nearly $50, it’s a bit pricey, but a far better quality than other bondage items that I’ve seen.  I was honestly surprised that this was manufactured by CalEx.  I’m going to say the Scandal Bed Restraints are worth it.

Thank you, SheVibe, for giving me the opportunity to review this!

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

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,  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, and

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,

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, and

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,

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.~