Steps for Introducing ‘Sexual Aids’ in Your Relationship

Steps for Introducing 'Sexual Aids' in Your Relationship

There are a lot of different ways for you and your partner to enhance sexual enjoyment. Some couples prefer to use what is often referred to as a “sexual aid”. Sure, sex toys such as dildos and vibrators probably come to mind, but the term includes a lot more than that. A sexual aid is anything that will either create or increase sexual stimulation or pleasure. This can mean special clothing, lubricants, sex toys, erotica, restraints for bondage, and more. Read on to learn how you can incorporate sexual aids into your sex life.

Choose What You Want
Be sure to take some time to consider what you want to add to the bedroom. Include your partner in the decision-making, especially if you’re going to be using it with them. Keep in mind that it’s OK to choose something that either of you are open to trying, but might not be sure about. You won’t know until you try.

Be Free of Expectations
You’ll only set yourself and your partner up for disappointment if you anticipate that adding something new to your sexual routine will have a certain result. Keep an open mind going into the experience.

Try it Out On Your Own
There are some exceptions, but most sexual aids can be used while you’re masturbating, so you can try them out on your own first. Trying it out yourself may increase your chances of success when you introduce it to your partner.

Experiment
Find out the variety of things you can do with your sexual aid and be creative, using your entire body, if possible. Allow yourself plenty of time to discover a few ways to make use of your new toy or other aid.

Share
Share your knowledge with your partner. If you want to incorporate this new sexual aid into sex, let you partner see how you’ve been using it to pleasure yourself. Invite your partner to explore on their own and then show you what they have learned.

Explore
Now is the time to try it out with your partner. Have fun playing and discovering ways you can use your new sexuall aid during sex. This might involve new activities or positions that you haven’t ever tried, depending on what you’re using.

Communicate
Be sure to express how your prefer that the two of you use your sexual aid and encourage your partner to communicate this, as well. Enjoy!

 

6 Things Only Someone Coping with Infertility Understands

6 Things Only Someone Coping with Infertility Understands

Did you know that one in eight couples have trouble conceiving? That means you’re not alone if you have been having infertility problems. Read on to learn what only someone with infertility issues will understand:

It Can Be Very Expensive

Infertility procedures and medications are very expensive. On average, each attempt for in vitro fertilization (IVF) is $11,000 or more. Only a minority of people have health insurance that helps with those costs.

It’s Normal to be Disappointed Each Month

IVF is the most successful and drastic fertility procedure, but it is not a guarantee at all. The CDC compiles rates of success from nationwide fertility centers into one report each year and the latest one shows that 40 percent of IVF attempts in those under the age of 35 who use their own fresh embryos resulted in a birth. But that outcome becomes as low as 11 percent in 41 and 42 year olds.

Timing is Everything

Just missing a dose of fertility medication or taking them at the wrong time can be a disaster. Timing is everything. If you go against the medication schedule your doctor gave you — in the case of IVF — your eggs may not be ready to be retrieved or you might not have your intrauterine insemination during the time where it would be most successful.

It Can be an Emotional Roller Coaster

Usually women with infertility begin taking medications a few days after the start of their periods…and then they wait. “For the next 4 weeks you get your hopes up, you dream, you wish, you tell yourself, ‘It’s going to happen this month,’ and then when the stick says you’re not pregnant or the doctor tells you your embryo didn’t take, it’s soul-crushing,” says Laura Saltman, a woman who has been going through fertility treatments for three years.

It’s Painful

The medications have significant side effects that cause pain, inside and out. It can feel like the worst PMS experience combined with the amount of pain you typically feel on the first day of your period.

It’s Difficult to Hear Friends’ Pregnancy Announcements

“You want to be truly excited for them, but deep down it makes you hurt more for yourself,” says Monica Higgins, who underwent fertility treatments on and off for three years. Be careful not to judge a friend if she is not as enthusiastic about your pregnancy as you hoped she’d be. Give them some space and then attention if she does become pregnant.

 

5 Myths about Anal Sex

5 Myths about Anal Sex

Are you new to anal sex? Have you been thinking about trying, but find yourself scared due to the unknown? There are a lot of myths about anal sex that are out there and you may feel better seeing some of them debunked. Read on to learn five anal sex myths and the truth behind them.

Myth #1 – It Must be Painful

Anal sex should not be painful as long as you use lubrication, relax, take it slow and do not have hemorrhoids. You have to be gentle — especially in the beginning — because the anus is much tighter than the vagina. Take it slow and warm up. The chances are good that you haven’t followed the above instructions completely if you have experienced some pain in the past or have heard horror stories from friends.

Myth #2 – It Can’t Feel Good Because Women Don’t Have a Prostate

Pleasure during anal sex involves way more than a prostate, says Alyssa Dweck, M.D., assistant clinical professor at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine. “The anus is rich in blood vessels and nerves and thus highly sensitive, making anal play popular and erotic for some women.” Actually, one study published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine showed that 94 percent of women who received anal in their last sexual encounter had an orgasm.

Myth #3 – You Do Not Need a Condom

The chance that there is nearly no chance of pregnancy with anal sex makes it that much more pleasurable for many women. But it does carry a risk of STD transmission, so you need a condom. Also, condoms can not only prevent STD transmission they also reduce friction and make for a more smooth entry. Be sure to change condoms before switching from either vaginal to anal or anal to vaginal sex.

Myth #4 – It Will Literally Be Dirty

While it is possible to get feces particles on his penis or letting loose, it is highly unlikely. “Most waste is sitting in the lower intestine where a finger, sex toy, or penis is not going to reach,” says sex therapist Tammy Nelson, Ph.D. Your rectum only contains small fragments of feces. If you’re worried about getting anything dirty, wash your anus with mild soap and water and/or empty your bowels before having sex. This is another way a condom is useful as well.

Myth #5 – Your Butt Hole Will Stretch Out

Just because you receive anal sex does not mean you’re going to end up with a penis-sized hole. “Tissue is elastic, and the anal sphincter muscles are tightly toned, so unless you are receiving ‘larger than life toys,’ this shouldn’t pose a problem,” explains Dweck. “In fact, please ensure all toys have an easy ‘retrieval’ mechanism, like a string or base. You don’t want to lose toys inside.” It is that tight, which is one reason it feels so great for men to give it.

 

Diet May Help Those with Endometriosis and Fibroids

Diet May Help Those with Endometriosis and Fibroids

Many women in the U.S. are affected by endometriosis and fibroids. Fibroids are benign tumors that grow in the uterus and endometriosis happens when uterine lining cells grow outside of the uterus. These conditions are both potentially painful and can trigger issues with infertility. It is likely that your doctor will recommend traditional treatments for both conditions, but there are also some foods you can eat that combat both fibroids and endometriosis. Be sure to speak with your doctor before altering your diet if you have or suspect you have either of these health conditions. Read on to learn what types of foods you may want to include in your diet if you suffer from fibroids or endometriosis.

Fatty Fish

You may be able to reduce your risk of endometriosis by including fatty fish in your diet that are high in omega-3 fatty acids. You can benefit from eating omega-3 rich foods if you have fibroids, as well. These fats reduce scar formation and inflammation that are associated with fibroids. Fish that have the highest omega-3 fats include mackerel, albacore tuna, herring, and salmon.

Cruciferous Veggies

In an effort to avoid fibroids, include cruciferous vegetables such as brussels sprouts, cabbage, or broccoli in your diet. These vegetables contain compounds that combat changes in tissues in your body, which can prevent noncancerous growths, such as fibroids, from forming. The author of “Endometriosis”, Mary Lou Ballweg, points to cruciferous vegetables as being beneficial for both fibroids and endometriosis, as they have estrogen-lowering qualities.

Fiber-Rich Foods

Eating a plant based diet that is high in fiber may help protect you from endometriosis. The recommended daily intake of fiber is 25g of fiber for women and 21g if you are 51 or older. Johanna Skilling, author of “Fibroids: The Complete Guide to Taking Charge of Your Physical, Emotional and Sexual Well-Being,” suggests that upping fiber intake to 30 g per day brings down the amount of estrogen in your body, which is a hormone that triggers the growth of fibroids.

Lycopene-Rich Foods

Research featured in Nutrition Research suggests that a diet that includes lycopene can reduce the growth of fibroids. Foods high in lycopene include tomatoes, watermelon, and pink grapefruit.

 

3 Vaginal Skin Disorders, Explained

3 Vaginal Skin Disorders, Explained

Invading microbes may cause vaginal skin disorders. The Mayo Clinic says that vaginal discharge consists of fluids, cells, and bacteria that shed from the vagina. This discharge serves to protect and clean the vagina and can be of different consistencies, such as clear and watery or sticky and white. If you have an unusual discharge with an unfamiliar appearance and odd odor, it can be a sign of an infection, an STD, or cervical cancer. It’s important to have regular appointments with a gynecologist to maintain your vaginal health. Read on to learn more about vaginal skin disorders.

Allergic Contact Dermatitis
Anyone is at risk for allergic contact dermatitis, according to Dr. Summers, Associate Professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Utah School of Medicine. This is especially true for women. Allergens like latex, a dry climate, fabric softeners, detergents, and fragrant soaps and body lotions may trigger this skin disorder. Symptoms may appear as flaking of the skin and chronic yeast infections.

Erosive Lichen Planus
This is an autoimmune skin disorder that affects the entrance to the vagina and the labia minora. The area experienced pain and looks red and raw. Erosive lichen planus is one of three clinical variants that the vulva is affected by, according to an article that was published by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP). The most common of the three is erosive lichen planus, which is seen as a severe form of the disorder and can cause erosions, leading to erosion that is more extensive and even ulceration.

Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
HPV is acquired when particles enter through skin that is minimally traumatized on the vulva. This virus results in genital warts, dysplasia or cancer. People who take immunosuppressant drugs and smokers are at a higher risk for developing HPV. Genital HPV infections are extremely common. In fact, almost all sexually active women and men get it at some point in their lives, but most people who have the virus don’t know it.

 

6 Factors That Affect a Woman’s Fertility

6 Factors That Affect a Woman's Fertility

As a woman becomes older, her fertility decreases. However, even during her most fertile years there are external factors and lifestyle choices that can affect her chances of having a baby who’s healthy. Read on to learn some factors that affect a woman’s fertility and what you can do about them if you’re trying to get pregnant.

Obesity
Hormone production can be affected by carrying around extra pounds, which can make it more difficult for a woman to conceive. “The more weight a woman gains over her healthy weight, the more she tends to experience decreased ovarian function,” says William Schlaff, MD.

Being Too Thin
Not having enough body weight can also affect fertility. This may be because women who have BMIs that are very low are deficient in leptin, which is the hormone that controls feelings of satiety and hunger. Low leptin levels can contribute to not having menstrual periods.

Smoking
Smoking can drastically affect a woman’s chances of conceiving. It causes up to 13 percent of all infertility cases, says the American Society of Reproductive Medicine. According to Dr. Arredondo, cigarette smoke disrupts hormones and does damage to DNA in both women and men. “And it doesn’t have to be heavy smoking, either,” he says. “Even women who smoke moderately or who are exposed to secondhand smoke have disrupted endocrine function and can experience significant fertility issues.”

Alcohol
Doctors tend to caution against more than one drink a day for women (which has been connected to a higher risk for ovulation disorders). Also, a Swedish study that tracked over 7,000 women for 18 years found that those who drank the heaviest were more likely to have sought out fertility treatment. It’s important to remember that you should stop drinking if you think you could be pregnant.

Extreme Exercise
Of course working out helps to keep you in shape, which is important when you’re trying to get pregnant. But you can overdo it: “If you’re exercising too much it can have a negative impact on ovulation,” says Dr. Schlaff. If there is potentially a problem, the most obvious sign is a change in menstrual cycle. “If you notice that it becomes lighter or shorter, you should talk to your doctor about the implications for your fertility and your health,” says Dr. Schlaff.

Certain Medical Conditions
Health issues such as thyroid disease, endometriosis, uterine fibroids, and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) can affect a woman’s chances of becoming pregnant or successfully carrying a pregnancy to term. Also, women with autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis or lupus may have issues conceiving since their bodies might reject a fertilized egg or attack her partner’s sperm. This doesn’t mean you can’t get pregnant, but it’s important to work with a medical team to improve and manage symptoms.

 

6 Reasons Your Vagina Might Itch

6 Reasons Your Vagina Might Itch

Gynecologists commonly see vaginal itching as a symptom their patients are experiencing. The reason your vagina itches can be a number of things, from your choice of underwear to an STD. So, it’s important to figure out what’s going in. Read on to learn some possible causes for vaginal itching.

Yeast Infection

These are common infections. In fact, three-fourths of women will have one at some point. Extreme itchiness and an odorless white discharge that is thick are well known symptoms of a yeast infection. “We suggest you at least call your doctor to discuss your symptoms rather than going to the drugstore to buy an OTC treatment,” says Julianna Schantz-Dunn, MD, an ob-gyn at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. “If you randomly self-treat and it’s not a yeast infection, you can make the problem worse,” she says

Irritation

This can be caused by certain products and fabrics. Avoid wearing scented panty liners or wearing any for too long, scented soaps, douching, and using scented feminine powders and sprays. Your vagina also needs to breathe, so wear cotton underwear. Synthetic fabrics can trap moisture against your skin. Gently wash yourself down there with unscented soap, only on the outside.

Trichomoniasis

This is a common STI caused by a parasite called Trichomonas vaginalis. The CDC says that while 3.7 million people–mostly women–are infected, only 30 percent are aware of it because it often causes no symptoms. Be sure to see your doctor right away if you experience burning, itching, a change in discharge, or external white cracking of the skin. Don’t assume it’s a yeast infection.

Bacterial Vaginosis (BV)

This is a vaginal infection that can cause some itching, but it more likely to show up in the form of foul-smelling discharge. Be sure to tell your doctor all of your symptoms, so they can more easily identify your issue.

Herpes

Not everyone who gets herpes gets large lesions that are easy to see, so you won’t necessarily spot it. “You may feel some itching or painful urination, but the symptoms may not be as severe as you’d think,” Dr. Schantz-Dunn says. “I’ve seen people try to treat herpes with a topical yeast medication—and that doesn’t do much.”

Hormones

Your vagina may be changing along with your hormonal changes if you’re post-menopausal. A dip in estrogen can thin the mucosal lining in the vagina. This can be treated with vaginal estrogen cream or tablet, thankfully!