Tag Archives: sex education

Wendy Strgar: Growing Up Sexually

Growing Up Sexually (original article here on Elephant Journal).

“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” ~ E.E. Cummings

sexy tree

I have been making love with the same man for some 30 years, and although I can honestly say it has gotten amazingly and increasingly better over the decades, it is important to add that this improvement was in direct proportion to the work and willingness we brought to growing up sexually.

To be fair and honest, my earliest memories of sex hold as much frustration as they did passion. I longed for the romantic, sexual combustion that would not only fill me up, but also unite me with my partner. However, without any real skills to get there, much of our sexuality became an exercise in approach-avoidance.

Most of us don’t know much about sex when we first start doing it. If we are lucky we have correct names for body parts and, these days, have probably seen enough free porn online to have an idea about the fiction of sex, but the actual vulnerable exchange of our sexual selves remains shrouded in mystery, or worse still, shame and embarrassment. Even though we may still reminisce about youthful sexual exchanges that literally took our breath away, though we may long for the passion of ripping clothes away, and desire the carnal hunger that gave us no choice but to submit to the will of our sexual body, we forget how often the magic imploded.

We repress the memories of when someone came too quickly or someone else’s passion dried up with not enough lubrication and burning genital tissue. We did not know why it worked when it did or how to make it work again. Often times, just to approach our sexuality, we relied on substances to reduce our inhibition that also inhibited our ability to remember and learn. Our sexual immaturity made us pout, made us blame each other and wait angrily in another room for the other to apologize. Initiating sex and keeping score about who said “no” more often took us far from the connection we both longed for. Moving toward our sex life felt risky even with the random good orgasms we happened upon on this bumpy path.

We were green not only with each other, but even more within our own sexuality. Growing up sexually happened in my marriage as we stopped holding each other responsible for both generating and fulfilling our sexual desires. When I stopped expecting my mate to make me feel sexy and committed to finding the sexy place in myself, I stopped saying no when the conditions weren’t like the perfect ones I held in my imagination. As I became more willing to meet him in the mystery of what might happen, he became more willing to, as well.

Even more important, was when I began learning about the many ways that I didn’t know about my own sexuality. As I found the erotic spots that sang for me and what kinds of touch made me light up, I had a language to share how I wanted to be touched. As I took responsibility for the sexual discoveries that were mine to make, I had the epiphany about how much more successful penetration was after an external clitoral orgasm.

This practice also helped me get over the shame of touching myself in front of my partner. Getting over the fears about saying what I liked, asking for what I wanted inspired the same in him. A new freedom was breathed into the narrow routine of sexual behaviors that we limited ourselves to. Even though we were relying on sex positions and practices that worked, our inability to go beyond them made our sexual times predictable and rote. This is how people unwittingly get stuck in sexual ruts—they limit themselves to a few safe moves and avoid expanding their repertoire out of their comfort zone.

These immature ways of dealing with our sexuality and the various mythologies that pervade about passionate sex that overwhelmed us in our youth persists for many people late into adulthood. We continue to resist the idea that we have to take responsibility for tapping into our sexual desire and that someone else does not have the magic to make us feel sexy. We delude ourselves into thinking that real love is supposed to feel like falling in love all the time. Not only couldn’t we physically sustain the intense out-of-our minds euphoria of early biological attraction, but it distracts from the more mature forms of loving. Discovering our capacity of arousal and finding a safe haven to comfortably push our boundaries is how sex evolves into the amazing and transformative relationship glue that it is. It is also the path to finding out who we really are.

Wendy Strgar, founder and CEO of Good Clean Love, is a loveologist who writes and lectures on Making Love Sustainable, a green philosophy of relationships which teaches the importance of valuing the renewable resources of love, intimacy and family. In her new book, Love that Works: A Guide to Enduring Intimacy, she tackles the challenging issues of sustaining relationships and healthy intimacy with an authentic and disarming style and simple yet innovative advice. It has been called “the essential guide for relationships.” The book is available on ebook, as well as in paperback online. Wendy has been married for 27 years to her husband, a psychiatrist, and lives with their four children ages 13- 22 in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

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How To: Picking and Shopping for A Sex Toy – Part 1

Why in the world would we want to use sex toys?

There are many reasons to try and use sex toys. We use them mainly to add a little “pizzazz” to our ongoing sexual routine, but there are plenty of other reasons, such as increasing the intensity of orgasm, therapy, masturbation, and even for male penetration, which is becoming more popular among heterosexual couples.

What, exactly, constitutes a “sex toy?”

Well, that depends. A sex toy can be anything from a piece of furniture or kitchen utensil to an elaborate machine costing thousands of dollars. Anything you use to enhance or add something to your sex life qualifies! Sex toys come in literally thousands of shapes, sizes, colors, and materials for every imaginable purpose. A feather for tickling? A spatula for spanking? A back massager for vibrating your private areas? Certainly! We’ve seen examples ranging from gerbils for Gere to the wild contraption pictured above to a headache massager for your finger that found its way south. Almost anything goes and almost any object can qualify as your next favorite sexual device!

Great, I want to try a sex toy! How do I introduce sex toys to my partner?

Whoa there, you! Slow down. This is a VERY complicated question and requires one basic task before you proceed – COMMUNICATION!!! Though we’d all like to think we know our spouses/partners better than we know ourselves, talking about sex is usually one thing we do NOT know how to and don’t DO well. For example; fifteen years ago (when we were having sex three times a day) Eddy and I had never even considered a sex toy and, quite frankly, didn’t even know what they were or how to use them. Sure, we’d seen dildos and vibrators in sex shop windows or in magazines, but they were always something we laughed at! Why, we wondered, would anyone need these (mostly) ridiculous looking objects to have sex?

Then, one X-mas, some friends in our apartment building gave Eddy a Pocket Rocket, which caused everyone to laugh, but resulted in its being shoved into the back corner of one of her drawers, probably to never see the light of day until I finally, through much cajoling, convinced her to give it a spin. Why was she so hesitant to try something so simple? The answer was very deep and complicated and opened up a discussion that touched to the heart of her very sexuality – her inability to “let go” of her conservative upbringing which told her sex should be ONLY with her partner and that her enjoyment should be based on MY enjoyment. It was at this point that I was startled to find out she had never masturbated – ever.

The point of this long-winded story is that you just don’t know how your partner is going to react when you ask to introduce a foreign object into your most intimate situation. Your partner may feel threatened or, worse, think he/she’s inadequate and not fulfilling your needs. Men seeking anal stimulation run the risk of being questioned about sexual orientation (which is crazy). Remember, there are a great many folks who get upset at the mere mention of Playboy magazine or internet porn, so tread lightly. NEVER just bring a toy home and unveil it in the middle of making love. NEVER!!!

Instead, it’s best to approach the subject sensitively or humorously, such as “Hey, I saw this funny looking thing on ‘Sex in the City’ and thought it might be fun…” or “I was reading this woman’s magazine in the waiting room of (dentist, doctor, lawyer, etc.) and it mentioned a product that…” Once the IDEA of getting a sex toy into your relationship is accepted, discuss what type of toy you want and PICK IT OUT TOGETHER.

Yeah! He/She is interested in getting a toy – which one should I get?

Indeed. Which one to get. As you can see in this website, the choice(s) is not easy. However, here are some guidelines to help you filter through the many options:

1. Clearly define what it is you want. Are you trying to generate some extra sparks? Do you wish to try to experience some new sensations? Are you trying to get “over the hump” to experience an orgasm? Figure out exactly why you want to try them and then figure out…

2. Are you looking for a toy for her, for him, or for both of you. Once you figure that out…

3. Do you want one to use the toy together, alone, or both? Sanitation issues aside, do you wish to introduce the toy into a partner situation and also use it solo? If so, you should be conscious of the design so that using it solo requires as little effort as possible.

4. If for her, do you want a toy that focuses on the clitoris, penetration, g-spot, anal, or some combination of all four? Most toys serve specific purposes and once you know what areas you want to stimulate, your choices will be narrowed and your search made easier. After you know what you want you need to know…

5. What type of power (if any) are you seeking? Most sex toys manufactured today run on batteries, due to the convenience of using them without the need to be confined to the length of an electrical cord or proximity to an outlet. Technology has evolved to the point of extracting lots of muscle from just a few batteries and most will adequately stimulate whatever area you wish. Electrical powered toys, however, do have their advantages as well, such as never having to replace batteries (it’s a bummer to run out of power in the middle of a hot sexual encounter!), more power than even the strongest batteries can generate, and a tendency to last longer over time (no covers to break off, no battery acid to eat through sensitive parts, etc.). Once you’ve solved your power dilemma, decide…

6. What kind of material should I get? Most vibes and dildos for penetration are made from either latex (rubber), silicone, jelly (gel), or glass. In the case of latex, you’ll find this material confined mostly to dildos, though even dildos are now leaning more toward silicone, which has many of the same properties (flexibility, pliability), but is more sanitary due to its non-porous composition. This means you can boil toys made from silicone or use alcohol-based cleaners without worrying about damaging them. Jelly toys are also very popular as they are the most life-like of all sex toys and are known for their great pliability and realistic feeling. Glass, also called Pyrex, has become very popular in the manufacture of sex products due to the many beautiful designs and colors available, while also possessing the ability to be heated or chilled to create different sensations. Glass is also very sanitary and can be run through a dishwasher and completely submerged to kill any bacteria that may be present after use. The sanitation benefits make glass toys very good for anal penetration as well.

Sheesh, guys, we did all that and now we want to buy one! Where do we find them and how do we get the best pricing?

Believe it or not, our first choice would be for you to find a local sex shop and patronize them in your home town or city. It’s important to show your support and, just as importantly, that it’s OK to go into a well-run, classy sex shop. Here in LA, we have several great ones to choose from, such as Grand Opening, Hustler Store, Naughty by Nighty, and Pleasure Chest. Try to find one near you and take your partner there. It can be great fun and a liberating experience! Remember, you have nothing to by ashamed of or shy about – sex is a GOOD thing and learning and experimenting together is a BETTER thing.

Of course, since you’re here, we’d obviously like you to go to our online store or our shopping links page. If we don’t have what you’re looking for, there are now thousands of websites all over the net selling toys of all kinds at great prices. Get on the computer together, do some research, and start having fun!

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Sex Positions 101: The Smooth Operator

Type of sex position: Standing
Degree of difficulty: Easy to intermediate.

Embrace in this standing sex position and dance your way to love. Some couples may have difficulty achieving proper penetration due to height differences (us, for example), but it’s never a bad idea to get naked and hold each other closely, right?

Clasp your hands tightly together behind his neck. Grip her bottom to bring her closer. Height differences can affect love making while standing. Raising up on toes can make it easier for shorter person.

smoothoperator

 

 

 

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How To: Choose and Use A Cock Ring

What is a Cock Ring?

A cock ring is a device worn around the penis, used to enhance the appearance of the male genitals and extend love making by keeping blood trapped inside the penis. The first documented use of rings were believed to be in China, made from the eyelids of goats, with eye lashes intact. These flexible eyelids were tied around men’s erections and the hardened lashes were said to increase the pleasure from intercourse.

Another version of their history is that the use of cock rings began many centuries ago, developed for a rich prince who did battle bravely and took many women prisoners. Incapable of satisfying his women captives, he took his problem to his kingdom’s man of medicine, who fashioned him a cock ring.

How does it work, exactly?

An erection occurs when the penis is filled with blood after arousal. Simultaneously, muscle spasms occur at the base of the penis causing the blood to be trapped and the penis to become hard. When there is a dysfunction of the muscle spasms, the blood flows out and the penis remains soft.

A cock ring applied snugly to the base of an erect penis will help prevent the blood that is keeping the penis hard from returning to the body. In this manner, the cock ring helps maintain a firmer erection!

Of what kinds of materials are cock rings made?

Cock rings come in every conceivable form and material known to humankind, including rubber, silicone, leather, metal, cloth, etc. We’ve even heard of them being made of Kevlar, but we’ll believe that one when we see one!

What are the BEST cock rings made from?

This depends on what you WANT from a cock ring. If prolonged sex and a harder erection is what you seek, you’ll want a cock ring that holds blood inside the penis most effectively, which means binds the tightest. For this, you should use either rubber or silicone, which stretch the most and constrict blood flow the most effectively. If you wish to wear a cock ring for longer periods of time, you should acquire a ring with a fixed size, such as one made from metal or leather. In the case of leather, most can be adjusted tighter via metal snaps or buckles, so you can get the best of both worlds. There are also versions of cock rings called “cock and balls,” that both wrap around the penis and balls, AND have an extra ring attached to wrap around the shaft only (see picture below).

How do I know what size cock ring to get?

Whoa there, stud! Though we’re sure you (or your partner) is the biggest thing since John Holmes and Ron Jeremy, we can assure you that most silicone rings will stretch to accommodate even the largest johnsons. In the case of metal rings, measuring is quite simple; take a strip of paper about 8″ long and a quarter inch wide, and wrap it around the area, marking where the two ends meet. Measure the length of the paper and divide by 3 and you’ve got your size. For most men, a 1.75-2 inch ring will be sufficient to wear comfortably.

OK, I got a cock ring, how do I properly wear it?

The proper way to wear a cock ring is behind the balls, and around the top of the shaft against your body (see picture at left). With a silicone or rubber ring, you can also place it around the shaft only, but you run the risk of it slipping off during sex or when things get wet and slippery. No matter which one you choose, it should fit comfortably and cause no pain. IN ALL CASES, A COCK RING SHOULD BE PUT ON WHILE NOT ERECT!!!

To put on a stretchy ring, simply stretch the ring with the index and ring fingers of both hands, bringing it underneath and behind the balls, then back toward your body, slowly allowing the tension to bind the area securely. A metal ring is a little trickier; start with one testicle through the ring, then the other, then fold the penis and point it downward, pushing it through and pulling the ring back against your body, above the shaft. For a demo slide show, click here to see what we’re talking about.

That sounds sensible, can these things cause damage to my privates?

The answer to this question is a resounding YES. The penis is composed of millions of blood vessels and constricting blood flow into, or out of, the area is not something your genitals are designed to do. Some of the pitfalls of using a cock ring improperly (too tightly) are numbness, discoloration, and severe pain.

For safety and pleasure, a cock ring needs to increase the size of the erection only slightly. If you notice more pronounced swelling, then the fit is too tight. In that case, take the cock ring off immediately. It’s also vital for men to take off their cock ring at the first sign of pain or if the genitals feel cold. In addition, it’s dangerous to leave a ring on for too long, including wearing one to sleep when spontaneous erections are all the rage. An erection of several hours can cause blood coagulation in the penis, making it difficult to lose the erection. This is called priapism, a prolonged erection. Since new blood cannot enter the penis, this can be severely painful and cause permanent damage to the erectile tissue. If this happens to you, seek medical attention as soon as possible, and don’t worry — the staff at the ER has seen this before.

Where can I get a cock ring?

If you want a metal or silicone ring, we sell them in our online store (you can find reviews of both in our Product Reviews category). However, the BEST places with the widest selection are, believe it or not, gay adult shops. Apparently, cock rings have been a staple of the gay community for years and are just now becoming popular among the heterosexual demographic, to which we belong. If you don’t have a gay adult shop in your area (or, as is more likely, you’re not adventurous enough to go into one), then cruising through the various adult shops online will yield great results. Typing “cock ring” into Google, for example, will generate literally thousands of good resources.

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Infographics: Sex In America – Myths and Facts

Myths and Facts About Sex in America Infographic

From Infographics Showcase.

SexInAmerica

I’m wary about infographics about sex.  For one, people really do read them, so if the information isn’t accurate, people get misled.  For another, often times the information isn’t accurate.  I’m not saying this is the case with THIS infographic.  I’m just saying it happens.  And digressing…

Myths vs. Facts

I’m just going to go over the facts in this section – they are very easy to read on the infographic itself, but I’m going to word it in a different way.  So, here’s the rundown:

-people pretty much everywhere in American have the same amount of sex, which counters the theory that people in big cities do it more.
-not as many American teenagers are having sex as you would think.
-there may be more gay women in America than gay men.
-European kids don’t necessarily have more sex than American kids, they are just safer about it.
-women are more proactive about contraception than the myth leads us to believe.
-men are pretty serious about birth control.
-men care more about their partner’s pleasure than the stereotype indicates
-American internet use is 50% devoted to sex in one way or another.  So much for saying Americans aren’t sexually adventurous.
-Americans are pickier about their sexual partners than the rest of the world thinks they are.
-Only 75% of American men are interested in having a threesome, instead of the 100% that is assumed.
-The average sexual encounter lasts 5-10 minutes.  Hardly any guy can go all night long.
-American men cheat on their wives mainly because they don’t feel like their wives care, not because they think they have the right to cheat (um?)
-America is more uptight about infidelity than other countries.  (um?)
-Americans have almost as much sex as French people, who have the most amount of sex.

Wrap Up

Assuming all this is true, you have now learned something.  If something strikes you as way out of left field, use the resources at the bottom to look it up.  I think some of the information is subjective, based on subjective data and polls, which aren’t scientific enough for me.

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Abstinence Education Seeks $550 million to Keep Teens From Having Sex

Let’s cut spending on programs that aid the needy and spend $550,000,000 on abstinence only programs that don’t work. Real smart…

Abstinence Education Reallocation Act Seeks $550 Million To Keep Teens From Having Sex

The Huffington Post  |  By Posted: 03/04/2013 5:19 pm EST  |  Updated: 03/04/2013 6:08 pm EST

Abstinence Education Reallocation Act

How much could it cost to keep teenagers from having sex? More than $100 million per year over the course of five years would be a good starting place, according to a bill introduced last month by a bipartisan duo of congressmen.

The Abstinence Education Reallocation Act, brought forth by Reps. Randy Hultgren (R-Ill.) and Daniel Lipinski (D-Ill.) on Valentine’s Day, seeks to award $550 million in Affordable Care Act grants over five years to programs that provide teenagers with abstinence-only education.

The Hill reports that Hultgren invoked his experience as a father while addressing the legislation Monday on the House floor, citing a Centers for Disease Control report about teenage instances of sexually transmitted diseases.

“This caught my attention because as a father, with two of my four kids in their late teens, I want them to avoid such risks,” he said.

According to the text of the bill, sex education programs would need to be “medically accurate” and teach the “skills and benefits of sexual abstinence as the optimal sexual health behavior for youth” in order to qualify for grant money. The bill also calls for applicable programs to focus on the “holistic health, economic, and societal benefits that can be gained by refraining from nonmarital sexual activity,” as well as to provide an “understanding of how drugs, alcohol, and the irresponsible use of social media can influence sexual decisionmaking and can contribute to risky and often aggressive sexual behavior.”

Twelve GOP co-sponsors have announced support for the measure. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) is expected to introduce a companion bill in the Senate, following up on a similar unsuccessful effort last year.

The abstinence-only effort stands as an effective counter to the Democratic-backed Real Education for Healthy Youth Act. Introduced the same day as the Abstinence Education Reallocation Act, the bill seeks to “expand comprehensive sex education programs in schools and ensure that federal funds are spent on effective, age-appropriate, medically accurate programs.” As Think Progress reported last month, the legislation would also set down guidelines calling for sexual health programs that receive federal funding to feature LGBT-inclusive language on a variety of issues, reject gender stereotypes and provide accurate information about HIV.

To view the original post on Huffington Post, click here.

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