Q&A Ask Sh!

Q&A: Sex & Arthritis

Over the last 4 years, I have had issues with my joints. Despite this,
until last year I was still able to enjoy sex and masturbation. Last year, after developing pain in my hip, I was diagnosed with arthritis in my right hip and knee. Since this, I have been unable to orgasm. I want to, I try too, using all the usual methods I would. But I get put off by pain in my joints. I’m currently not in a relationship and the few times I have tried to have sex since this, I have had to stop for the same reason. This is really getting me down – I’m only 35 and have always had a healthy attitude to sex. I don’t feel ready to not have a sex life. Any suggestions as to how I can get past this? Thanks in advance.

Hey there,

Thanks for getting in touch.

We’re so sorry to hear how arthritis is affecting your ability to enjoy pleasure and sexual activity, but we have a few suggestions that we hope you’ll find helpful.

Planning Ahead For Sexual Pleasure

Planning sex may sound like a passion-killer for those who love nothing better than spontaneous encounters in random places, but when it comes to pain-free, pleasurable sex planning ahead is your best bet.

First of all – when is your pain least intense? If it’s in the morning, then this is the best time for you. Or if the evening is generally kinder to aching joints, opt for play sessions later in the day.

The Spanish tradition of an afternoon siesta is a great practice for storing vital energy before sex. Napping is activity that shouldn’t be frowned at – we could all do with a li’l rest every now and again.  🙂

We are guessing you are taking medication for the pain? Taking pain killers 30 minutes before sex will make sure the pain level is at its lowest and most manageable.

Having a warm bath or shower a short while before your play session will help keep your body and joints feeling warm, relaxed and more supple. If you choose to relax in the bath, you could use the time wisely by bringing a sexy book with you as reading erotica will help get you in the mood. The brain is really our biggest sex organ, and this should definitely be utilized!

Rethinking Sex

It may be that you’ve enjoyed a certain type of sex in the past, but the time has come to rethink what sex means to you. It could be that some positions are now out of the question, and that’s ok. Discovering new ways to play can really enhance intimacy and sex, and there’s potential for undiscovered pleasures!

Sex can be all manner of activities – kissing, touching, rubbing bodies together, mutual masturbation, masturbating each other… Great pleasure can be had from having something inside to squeeze against, for sure, but if bodily movements are too painful to contemplate it’s time to look at something different.

Massage and erotic touching are incredibly sexy ways of enjoying each other. For this, we’d recommend using massage candles. The wax melts into a lush, warm oil that can be drizzled directly onto skin, with the added benefit of keeping you warm.

Propping up yourself with pillows will help take some pressure off parts of the body that might  find sex extra stressful.

Pacing yourself: slow sex is very erotic, so forget about sweaty sprints and go for the long haul instead.

We have a couple of excellent toys for solo pleasure too:

Ruby Glowrocks-off-ruby-glow-ride-on-vibrator1 is a ride-on toy, and as such needn’t be held in place. This is a fantastic option if your hands get tired easily. Placing the flat base of Ruby Glow on a chair, bed or directly on the floor means you can watch or read something sexy at the same time… Perfect for anyone with mobility issues, Ruby Glow doesn’t require much in terms of hand or leg movement.

Womanizer Plus and Satisfyer Pro 2 clitoral toys are exceptionally reliable when it comes to orgasms. They belong to the very latest generation of sex toys – they ‘suck’ at the clitoris and with 8000 nerve-endings at its very tip, this goes down a treat!

We recommend looking into Wand vibrators too. The vibrations are deep and rumbly, and tends to wake up sleepy nerve-endings in next to no time. The Wands are usually of a longer size, so should be easy to hold and maneuver. A cordless wand means you ‘re not tethered to a wall socket and can position yourself in ways that works for you.

We hope this helps!

Love, Team Sh! xx

If you’d like any tailored advice or recommendations, please feel free to drop us a line at advice@sh-womenstore.com and we’ll answer you privately.

We may also share Q&A’s so others may benefit, but if we do it will always be anonymous, with nothing left in to identify you – promise!



Silicone dildos vs rubber dildos advice

Q&A: Why Can’t I Orgasm?

I’m looking for a new sex toy. I have the Fun Factory Stronic Bi Fusion and although it worked for me at first,  it’s now not doing the job. I now have a partner who’s happy to use sex toys so that’s not a problem but I’m finding it impossible to have an orgasm. I’m 58 and wondering if that’s the problem although I think I have strong vaginal walls etc. I would be grateful if you could give me some ideas.

Hi there,

Many thanks for your email!

The Stronic Bi Fusion is a toy that offers deep vibrations and pulsing, thrusting sensations, so we’re guessing that this is the kind of intensity that works best for you.

Wand vibrators are super-popular with women who find it difficult to reach orgasm and we think this could be a good option for you. Sexologists like Betty Dodson often recommend this type of sex toys.

The vibrations are exceptionally deep and reverberates through the body, most often with joyous results!

The Sh! Magic Wand massager offers 10 different settings, all designed to knock socks (or panties) off.


The Wand is rather big, but surprisingly light to hold and maneuver. Place it on or near the lower part of your stomach before moving it closer to your clitoris – it’s important to build up desire before attempting an explosive climax.

The strength of you vaginal walls should be  a positive – the stronger the PC muscle, the stronger your orgasms usually are. Your age should not be a problem either – orgasms are ageless!

What could play in is your general health – are you taking any medication that could effect libido, for example? If so, it could be an idea to discuss this with your doctor. There might be other, more suitable options.

Best of luck!

Love, Team Sh xx

Q&A: The Truth About Hymens & Sex

Q&A: The Truth About Hymens & Sex

Hi Sh! Team!

I’m from Indonesia. I am very interested in women empowerment, especially in sexual empowerment. I’d been brainwashed by my family’s custom and religion; leaving me sexually devastated cause I haven’t found a husband to channel everything yet. I actually had a boyfriend (whom I broke up with last August) that was interested in the same stuff I was. Anyway, we did some heavy petting and fingering. And I think my hymen was kinda torn? It’s not fully gone but I’m pretty sure the (used to be) small hole had gotten bigger. If only the tip of the penis and two fingers (index and middle ones) had entered the lobby (?) of my vagina, can I still be considered as a virgin?

Thank you so much.

Patiently waiting for your input (ha),
Moderately religious girl.

Hello there, 

Many thanks for your question – it’s an interesting one. 

A virgin is someone who has never had sex, but this is quite a tricky concept as people define “sex” differently.

There is no one definition of what sex is or isn’t. For some people, sex is penis-in-the-vagina. For others, it’s oral sex, or anal sex, or kinky sex… A woman who has satisfying sexual activity on a regular basis, but chooses to not have anything inserted into her vagina, is she a virgin? She probably wouldn’t label herself a virgin as she is having the kind of sex that she wants to have, instead of the kind of sex she doesn’t want (penis/toys/fingers inserted into her vagina).

There are others who believe that it depends on consent, i.e wanting and agreeing to have sex. This means that women who have been forced to have sex can still be virgins, and will remain so until they choose to have consensual sex.

And yet another version: a woman who has never had penis-in-vagina sex, but regularly masturbates with an insertable vibrator or dildo. She may have had the toy inside, but for her, this may have no bearing on whether she defines herself to be a virgin or not…

Is virginity a state of mind?

The hymen is a membrane that surrounds or partially covers the outside of the vaginal canal. The hymen can be thin and stretchy, or thick and somewhat rigid; or it may also be completely absent. The hymen can stretch or tear as a result of a range of activities such as gymnastics, horseback riding or inserting fingers.

It is quite possible that your play has stretched your hymen, but it is equally possible that it has been “broken” by other activities – and it is just as possible that it is still intact. 

With all this in mind, if we were to ask you if consider yourself to be a virgin, what would your answer be?


We understand that your background may require you to (seemingly) remain a virgin until you marry, but in our opinion, it is up to each individual to make a choice about having or not having sex and defining their virginity.

A woman’s body should always be her own, and it is not shameful to find sexual play intriguing and pleasurable. Quite the opposite – it is something to be celebrated! 

This YouTube clip is both funny and informative, and sheds light on what the hymen really is.

We hope this helps!

Love, Team Sh! xx

If you’d like any tailored advice or recommendations, please feel free to drop us a line at advice@sh-womenstore.com and we’ll answer you privately.

We may also share Q&A’s so others may benefit, but if we do it will always be anonymous, with nothing left in to identify you – promise!



Cafe V – Feeling Safe When Exploring Bondage Play

Before we start, we’d like to highlight that some readers may feel triggered by this article. If this is the case, please stop reading and practice self-care. Maybe have a cup of tea or phone a friend – or both! You can always come back to this page at a later point.

Many of the guests at Cafe V has told us they’d like to try bondage play, but feel worried it might be too scary or triggering. And this is completely understandable.

In this piece, we’ll talk about ways to create scenes that helps you stay in control and feel safer. The aim of this blog piece is to help you navigate your way around what can be tricky before it’s fun.

What Is Bondage?

sh-bondage-rope-10mBondage is the practice of (and this is the most important word in this whole blog piece) consensual restraining, tying or binding a partner for erotic or aesthetic pleasure. Bondage is part of BDSM, but you don’t have to be a BDSM practitioner or identify as a kinkster to enjoy bondage – it can just be a part of what we like to call “fun sex”!

Bondage can be done for many different reasons – for some it’s sexual, for some it’s purely aesthetic, or they like feeling tightly hugged with rope. It can involve a whole group of people, but for the purpose of this article, we’re going to assume it is a scene between two mutually consenting people.

A customer once said to us: “Wow, I thought BDSM had to be humiliating – I didn’t realize it could be fun!” This is a pivotal comment.

BDSM needs to involve trust, respect and negotiation long before any actual play happens. If humiliation is your thing, you and your play partner can absolutely enjoy humiliation play – as long as the both of you respect and trust each other, and have negotiated what kind of humiliation will be involved. Also, it’s important to note that most people don’t opt for humiliation play straight off – if anything, it has been a long, gradual journey to get there, stopping and reassessing along the way.

BDSM is not one size fits all. This article will help you think about what it is you’d like to try, which is a great starting point.

Trust, Respect, Negotiation & Communication

Trust and respect are essential when it comes to any play. If it isn’t, it really should be.

Opening a discussion on what will, and more importantly what won’t happen, is essential and must be done before cuffs, rope or tape are introduced.

You’ll need to make time to sit down together out of the bedroom for this conversation. Being dressed and sober will help you feel more in charge of your feelings surrounding the experience, and what’s being said and agreed upon.

Before negotiating with your partner, you need to have a discussion with yourself.

Think about what it is you want to achieve: do you want to try bondage for erotic reasons? Or because it looks beautiful? Do you like the idea of being tied up and taken care of? Or maybe you want to do the restraining and have your partner submit to you? You may gain pleasure from the feeling of the temporary transfer of control and power. Ask yourself what it is you desire.

Red Leather Wrist Cuffs £30

Think about what bondage equipment turns you on. Would you like to try bondage tape, or leather cuffs, or soft rope? Do you want wrist or ankles to be restrained? Or maybe you like the idea of soft bondage rope framing your breasts? Where do you want to the scene to take place? (Bear in mind that using a space familiar to you will often make you feel safer).

Talking about erotic desires out loud can feel tricky if you or your partner are feeling shy. If that’s the case, why not write down your bondage play wish-list and swap lists with your partner – find out what they fantasise about trying!

There may be a few things on each list that you both want to try – great! That makes this a whole lot easier.

However, it could be that there are things on your partner’s list that you don’t want to try. And that’s absolutely fine.

Don’t do anything you don’t want to – it’s consensual, remember?

But, if you say no because it’s new and you feel out of your depth, why not take some time to try visualising what it is your partner wants. It could be that once you think about it, you might find it becomes a turn on or you may be willing to try a different version of the same fantasy.

power-finger-rechargeable-1For example: your partner wants to try an insertable sex toy on you whilst you are restrained, but you don’t feel ready. Instead, how about trying a small finger vibe intended for clitoral play?  That way your partner gets to play with a sex toy and you can lie back, relax and enjoy the new sensations.

What If It Is a Trigger?

It is your responsibility to make your play partner aware of triggers. This doesn’t mean you have to tell them about past trauma –  but it isn’t is fair on a partner to cause a triggering situation that could have been avoided had they only known you dislike certain touches, words or positions. This goes for everyone practicing safe, consensual kink. Your play partner doesn’t need to know what happened to you – unless you choose to tell them  – but they need to know what to avoid.

Words – remember to include any triggering words in your no-no list. It’s easy to get carried away with language, so better safe than sorry.

If something on you partner’s list really is a no-no, you need to say so – but keep it polite. Just like they should be polite when declining something you’ve suggested if it isn’t for them. It always goes both ways.

Being assertive with your wants and want-not’s can be hard. This is something you can practice every day in a whole number of situations: “No thank you, I don’t want vinegar on my chips .” “Yes please, I definitely want an extra-strong injection before my tooth is pulled out .” The more you practice, the easier it gets!

Positions for Bondage

If certain positions are triggering, tell your partner that you don’t want to play in that position. Instead, suggest other positions that you feel comfortable with. Be creative! If you don’t want to lay face down, suggest standing up against the door post. If you don’t enjoy missionary position, suggest kneeling on a chair. Once you start thinking about it, you might find there are lots of different positions you’d like to try!

advice bondage

It’s important to pay attention to how your body reacts to being restrained throughout a scene if you are the person being tied up or cuffed. If you feel that you’re getting pins&needles, it’s importation to let your partner know so they can untie/uncuff and re-position. Same goes for feeling too hot or too cold – keep communication open and honest. Although, saying that, the partner doing the restraining should be checking in with the person being restrained too: “Are you feeling comfortable?” “Are you enjoying this?” “Do you need a drink of something?” These are all questions to ask at regular intervals.

Equipment for Bondage

Think about what kind of bondage you’d like to try and then build up slowly.  This will ensure you stay in your “safe zone”.

Buy some party streamers or paper strings. Try wrapping loosely around your wrist and see how that feels. It may feel ok and quite fun – great! But if you don’t like it, all you need to do is unroll and you are free of the restraints.

Practicing by yourself is a good way of finding out how you feel about the equipment you are using, and also finding out how it works.

When you feel utterly at ease and comfortable in paper restraints, you could move up a step.

Quickie Cuffs are soft, safe and super-easy to use. You can easily slip in and slip out of these by yourself as there are no locks or keys. Try them out whilst relaxing in front of the TV with a cup of tea, for example. Keep it relaxed and don’t put pressure on yourself. At this point it is really just about feeling comfortable and safe.

Tape for bondage play is soft, stretchy and sticks to itself.  Try wrapping loosely around one wrist, and then see how easy it is to unroll again. The tape won’t stick to body hair or skin, so it won’t be painful. Make sure to keep a pair of medical scissors handy, just in case you want to get out of the bondage tape quickly. A couple of snips and you’re out!

Word of warning: don’t use duct tape or any other tape you may have laying around at home. Bondage tape has been made specifically for sexy play, whereas duct tape has not. Only use equipment that is safe and made for play. It is sometimes fun to improvise, but at this stage you want to make sure you stay feeling safe and relaxed.

Satin Ties are long, silky ties for sensual restraining. They feel beautiful against the skin. These ties come with D-rings for safe play, but again – keep medical scissors hand just in case.

Leather Bondage Cuffs Satin Ties: Hot Pink or Black– these are comfortable and safe. They can be used as they come, or you can attach chains or rope if you want to be able to tie someone to furniture.

Try putting a cuff on one  wrist only (so not both; you still have one hand free). Leave the cuff relatively loose so that you can wriggle your hand out if you want to. Get used to the feeling and the weight of the cuff before tightening a little bit. Always make sure you leave space for one or two fingers between the cuff and the skin. Blood flow is important, people!

Pottering around at home with the cuff on will help you get use to wearing it.

Always use safe wrist and ankle cuffs – i.e never use those very cheap metal ones you can buy in joke-shops. If you get stuck and can’t get out, you may have to call someone to come help cut you out of them…

Rope is another option for bondage play. Choose soft rope and make sure to have medical scissors handy. If it feels “too much”, you can just cut the rope and you are no longer restrained. Rope bondage doesn’t have to involve complicated knots and we recommend starting off with simple bondage that doesn’t need tying. There are many books available on the subject.

Safe Words

A safe word is a word that you wouldn’t normally use during sex. The words “stop” and “no” can often be part of the game and therefore are no good. For example: you might enjoy a spanking every now and again, and it’s very common to become very giggly as the brain start pumping out endorphins into the body. There may be delighted squealing and the word “stop!” may be used, but on this occasion the word “no” doesn’t mean “no” – it means “please don’t stop because I’m having a great time!

Using a word like “pineapple” will let your partner know you want the game to stop and on this occasion “pineapple” means “no”. Confusing? A little bit maybe, but once you start practicing it, it’ll make a lot of sense.

We are also big fans of “grading” – using a scale of 1-10 to check in with yourselves and each other.

1-4 is your green zone –  you’re having excellent fun!

5-7 is your amber/yellow zone – time to pull back or maybe take a break. 

8-10 is the red zone, which is not a zone you want to be in. If you enter the red zone, play must stop and care is needed.

These rules are easy to remember and gives you a tool to keep on top of where you are in yourself.


Bondage and kink can bring up feelings you thought you had worked through, or feelings you didn’t even know you had. It’s upsetting and unsettling when unwelcome thoughts and feelings sneak up on us. If this happens, immediately stop the scene by using your safe word, and then communicate the situation to your partner. It is not uncommon and it can happen to anyone. For this reason, always have a self care plan ready and remember to be gentle with yourself.


Aftercare is absolutely necessary. This is the time for the two of you to go back to status quo, especially if there has been an exchange of power. There might be stroking, or kissing, or just gentle cuddling.

Take time to work out what you think you might need. Might you be hungry after all that fun – maybe you’ll need a snack?  If so, make sure you have your favourite foods in the fridge. If you think you might like a long soak in the bath – stock up on lush products for a li’l pamper.

Your needs may be different from those of your partner, so find out what your partner thinks they might need too. Just like the play itself, aftercare needs to go both ways.

Maybe you’ll want a debrief – talk about what went well and what could have gone better or felt differently.

Don’t rush the aftercare. Take time to slowly and gently come back from the intense sensations you have just experienced.

advice sexual etiquette

Experiencing Drop

Also be aware that one or both partners could experience “drop”. This is when you feel sad, empty or deflated after a scene. Drop isn’t unusual, but it can be a very lonely place to be. It will pass, but until it does, please be gentle with yourself and each other.

Drop can be very much like short term withdrawal, and in a sense, it is: much of Drop is an emotional experience due to hormone imbalance. An intense scene causes a spike in endorphins and adrenaline – it’s like the body’s own, natural high. And when we say ‘intense’, we don’t necessarily mean whips & chains. The intensity, for a survivor, is likely to lie within any sexual activity. Trusting someone to staying within the agreed parameters can be hard, trusting oneself to stay present for the experience can be hard, handing over power can be hard… Once the scene is over, your body experiences a drop (hence the name) in endorphins and adrenaline, and you may feel as if your balloon has been well and truly burst.

Severity of Drop and symptoms will vary between those that experience them. It could be that you find it difficult to concentrate, or you feel fatigued, or perhaps you become restless and irritated for no apparent reason. Symptoms could present as flu-like; headache, cramps and/or poorly tum.

Maybe you need to reach out to the person you played with, letting them know how you are feeling – or perhaps you have a good friend you can call. Other ways of combating Drop could be curling up on the sofa with a favorite blanket and some ice cream, relaxing in a quiet, calm atmosphere or going for a walk in the fresh air. Be aware that Drop can happen so you can prepare for it.

The Don’ts of Bondage Play

There are a few ‘don’ts’ you need to be aware of before you start exploring this new, fun way of experiencing pleasure.

  • Don’t drink and kink. Staying sober ensure you are awake and aware of feelings and sensations at all times.
  • Don’t play with anyone you don’t feel comfortable with.
  • Don’t ignore your gut instinct – it’s usually right.
  • Don’t go further than you feel comfortable with.
  • Don’t let anyone put pressure on you to do things that have not been explicitly negotiated in advance.
  • Don’t invite a complete stranger home for kinky play (or agree to go to their home).
  • Don’t let anyone tell you it’s uncool to change your mind mid-way through a scene. You have the absolute right to change your mind any time you want.

Over time, you may find your confidence and curiosity grows. You may want to try new things. Or, maybe you’ve tried them and you don’t want to do them again. Either of those are absolutely fine. This is perfectly normal and to be expected. All it means is that it’s time for re-negotiations.


Q&A: I think I have vaginismus? What now?

Q&A: I think I have vaginismus? What now?

Hi Sh! Team,

I find this really difficult and awkward to talk about but I’m guessing you are probably very used to it. I went through an almost 2-year long dry spell before meeting my boyfriend. When we first started having sex it felt uncomfortable and painful.  He’s definitely on the bigger side but I thought I would get used to it, however instead it has gotten worse. I don’t think I have ever had this happen before. From what I have read it sounds like vaginismus.

I’m not quite sure what to do. I know I should probably see my gp about it but I’ve previously had bad experiences with NHS services especially where mental health and other delicate matters are concerned. I’ve recently had a check up as well as an STI test and there is nothing wrong physically.

Do you have any advice on how to work on this? I’m worried it’ll get worse and don’t know what to do.

Many thanks,


Dear A,

Thanks for taking the courage to write in. I understand that medical professionals can sometimes be dismissive of mental health issues. Their first call is usually to keep people alive and fertile. But there are some good places out there; it can take a bit of shopping around till you find one.

Many hospitals have sexual health clinics, so you might want to try there.

Ask them if they have heard of vaginismus. It can be a way of gauging what they know and how they feel about psychosexual issues.

In the meantime, there are certainly things you do on your own and with your fella to help. From your letter it sounds like this could be an arousal or performance anxiety issue that has possibly led to a vaginismic response.

You haven’t said much about your relationship and how you feel about your two-year dry spell. It could be that you were lonely and finally meeting a lovely chap who you want to do saucy things with has put a lot of pressure on your bits. Or that, if he is a lot bigger than you’re used to, you and vagina got a bit freaked by it.

Either way, if you have penetrative sex when you aren’t fully aroused – so if your vagina isn’t lubricated, open and you ready for sex – then it will hurt.

If you then carry on having sex, it could be that your Kegel muscles are spasming in a vaginismic way because they are protecting you from pain.

Have you talked to your boyfriend about this? If you are open about the fact that you have been sore, then you can agree to both take time touching, kissing and having a sexy time so you feel more relaxed and ready for penetration. And some sessions where penetration is completely off the table could help you have fun without worrying about.

vaginal-dialator-setIf you are aroused but still sore during sex, you can try inserting fingers, vibrators, dildos or Sh!’s marvelous vaginimus kit.

Start with something smaller and build up to insertibles that are the same size as your boyfriend. Depending how difficult you find this – it may make you feel anxious – will dictate how long to do this for. You may insert the smaller toy a few times a week for a few weeks and build up. Or it might be that, away from the pressure of sex, bigger devices go in easily.

During sex, even if you’re aroused, it’s hard to tell if a vagina is open or not without putting something up it. If you insert the device, or fingers, just before you have sex – this can even be a fun part of foreplay – you will know if you are ready. If it feels tight but goes in without pain, your vagina will settle to accommodate the insertible. Otherwise you could try a smaller one and build up.

Masturbating while having sex can help you and your vagina to stay relaxed. Also you might both find different positions cause less pain. It isn’t clear exactly how big your boyfriend is but if you find that you can’t take his whole length, he could insert the tip and then either of you could masturbate the shaft.

Do let us know how you’re getting on and consider coming along to our Vaginismus Awareness event in September. I wish you lots of luck!


Best wishes,


Q&A: What sex toy should I buy my wife?

Q&A: What sex toy should I buy my wife?

Hi, my wife’s birthday is soon and I’m thinking of buying her some new toy (for both of us to enjoy). I’ve seen porn where people are using  wand massagers and I have read that they are the best toy to stimulate the clitoris, which is the only way my wife cums. However, I am a bit worried it might be too intense? It’s a lot of money to spend on a toy and I want to be sure it’s the right thing. Will she like it? It’s not like I can take it back if she doesn’t. 



Hi Chris

Many thanks for your email.

Wand vibratorsMost Popular Wand Massagers are hugely popular and many sexuality educators, like Betty Dodson, swear by them.

Their deep, throbby vibrations are very reliable for pleasure, and as Wands were originally designed for all-over body massaging, they have many uses.

It’s impossible for us to guarantee that your wife (or any woman) will love the vibrator you buy for her. We can guarantee that the cherry-picked sex toys we sell are toys that deliver pleasure to thousands of women, but as each woman is individual and unique, we simply cannot guarantee every toy will work for every woman.

Fun sex is all about discovering what’s enjoyably and pleasurable for you and your partner, and a Wand can certainly help with this.

Wand massagers come in an array of colours and sizes, there are plug&play versions, there are cordless ones, and there are smaller-sized ones for travelling and ease of use.

Wand massagers are very intense, and this is why they are so popular.

To start off with, we recommend using the vibrator on the area around the vulva, so not directly on it. Placing a Wand vibrator on the lower part of the stomach can be incredibly sexy – the rumbly vibrations can be felt into the knicker-area. Or, place a small pillow between the clit and the Wand; the whole pillow vibrates!

It may be an idea to find out what type of vibrator your wife might like; it could be that she dreams of a Wand, or perhaps she’d prefer a smaller-size clit vibe… It can be tricky to buy a vibrator for someone else, which is why getting Sh! Gift Vouchers is such a great idea – that way you’re sure to get her something she’ll enjoy!

If you have any other questions please contact us at advice@sh-womenstore, include the subject line ‘Ask Sarah’ if you’d like your advice from our new sex and relationship expert.

All names have been changed for the purposes of anonymity.

Good luck!

Team Sh! xx

Q&A: Help! I can’t relax enough to orgasm with my partner.

Q&A: Help! I can’t relax enough to orgasm with my partner.

Hi Sh!

I am having trouble relaxing enough to get off with my boyfriend. I can masturbate to orgasm but with my boyfriend it feels like sometimes I get close but I just can’t relax enough to fully enjoy it.

The only time I feel anything close to how it feels when I masturbate is from intercourse and then it’s not nearly as intense. I’m not even sure if it counts as an orgasm. Also he wants me to masturbate in front of him which is something I’ve never done and am not completely comfortable with, it seems weird to masturbate with him just watching. Especially since I prefer to lay on my stomach when I do.

What’s wrong with me?  Any tips to help me relax and just enjoy things?



Hi Carol

Many thanks for your email.  This is a question we get asked all the time – it’s very common for women to be able to orgasm by themselves, but not with a partner. Nothing is “wrong” with you – in fact, your vagina is reacting in a very normal way.

When is Your Happy Hour? Where around your clitoris feels best?

First of all, touch. You touch yourself in *just* the right way – not too hard, not too soft. Not too fast, nor too slow. When a partner goes to touch the clitoris, they are often coming at it face-on, ie. almost like they are ringing a door bell; they just press. Bearing in mind that the very tip of the clit has 8000 (!) nervenedings, this can end any pleasure sharpish.  It is very difficult to teach a partner how we need to be touched for optimum pleasure – they can’t feel what we’re feeling so they don’t know when it’s too hard, fast, or slow.

We recommend thinUntitled design (3)king of the clitoris a a clock face, 12 at the top and 6 at the bottom. When is your happy hour? What “time” is  the most sensitive?  This is the time to teach your partner to focus on – with plenty of lube and patience, of course. It’s not a magic fix, but it’ll help.

Many women report that they are most sensitive at 10-11, or at 1-2, so these are good times to try out first.

Best Position for Pleasure

Secondly, position. We’re guessing that you are on your back, knees or all fours when your partner is touching you? If you need to lay on your stomach when you masturbate, this is your go-to position for orgasms. This means you need to lay on your stomach when your partner touches you too – maybe it tenses your thighs in a certain way, or maybe you can grind against the sheets… Whatever it is, this is the position that needs to be replicated. Some women can only orgasm on their fronts, some women can only orgasms when they lay on their backs… this is perfectly normal. Some women flex their feet, some women have to have their legs wide apart – or close together.

Watch Me: Being watched while you masturbate.

And on to being watched. Being watched can be very intimate and it can sometimes put us off our stride. Or, it can be a tremendous turn on! For your partner, it is probably a combination of two things: he wants to learn how you do it AND he wants to watch you enjoy yourself; these sessions are probably crazy sexy for him, and something he re-visits in his mind when he’s enjoying some alone-time.

There are a couple of things you can do to make this easier: ask him to masturbate alongside you. This way you get to enjoy the view and sounds too! Or, place a blindfold over your eyes, and you can relax into your own pleasure and you needn’t think of him watching you…

(Names Have Been Changed for the Purposes of Anonymity)

If you have any other questions please contact us at advice@sh-womenstore, include the subject line ‘Ask Sarah’ if you’d like your advice from our new sex and relationship expert.

We hope this helps!

Love, Team Sh! xx

Ask Sarah - Sh! Sex & Relationship Therapist

Meet Sarah, Sh! Sex & Relationship Therapist

Team Sh! are highly trained to give advice that’s always individually tailored; from choosing the right sex toy to more complex questions around female pleasure, health and orgasm.

More than that, everyone who  passes our interview process has to have the ‘special something’ that makes us good listeners, easy to talk to, warm and  emphatic.

Giving advice will always be at the core of what we do. In a world of pressure, myths, generalizations and hype around sex and sex toys, we see Sh! as an honest, relaxed beacon, where people can be open about both the pleasures AND the pitfalls…

Whilst we ace the sex toy advice part, are whizzes with the complexity of female sexuality, and  know we do a great job in creating an atmosphere where anything and everything can be asked, we wanted at add a lovely someone who was specially trained to help with some of the more tricky questions we’re asked….

Someone who can delve deeper into the mental drawers, whilst being totally in tune with the Sh! ethos…

Meet Sarah Berry – Sh! Sex  & Relationship Therapist

Sarah Berry
Sarah Berry, Sh! Sex & Relationship Therapist

Sarah Berry is a qualified and experienced psychosexual & relationship therapist. She is also an ex Sh! Girl so we know that she’s down to earth and can deliver open-minded advice in an accessible way.

Having trained with the College of Sex & Relationship Therapists, Pink Therapy and The Marylebone Centre which specialises in addiction/compulsive sexuality, Sarah works as an integrative therapist with a diverse toolbox. She helps couples, singles and poly groups mange or overcome their sexual or relational difficulties.

Issues Sarah works with include sexual dysfunction, orgasm issues, loss of attraction, compulsivity, loneliness, issues with sexuality or gender, volatile/stagnant relationships, loss of attraction, opening up relationships, concerns over BDSM fantasies or practices, abuse and trauma. She has a wide knowledge of sex toys, kink practises and ways to increase intimacy.

Sarah has been featured in many publications including Marie Claire, The Daily Mail, Metro, Look, Pick Me Up, Diva, Forum, Fiesta, Bizarre, Scarlet, The Evening Standard, The Huffington Post, BuzzFeed, Time Out and Company. She has also been a guest on Radio 4’s Women’s Hour and various shows on LBC. For two years Sarah ran Fannying Around, a support group for cis and trans women to rant about, celebrate and share tips on all things vaginal.

If you would like to Sarah to answer your question on our ‘Ask Sarah’ page, email her  at advice@sh-womenstore.com, putting “Ask Sarah” in the subject line. Please note letters are subject to editing and ALL names changed for complete anonymity. 

For more info on Sarah visit www.sarahberrytherapy.co.uk.



Q&A Your Sex-Questions Answered

Q&A: Help! I’m worried about hurting my partner during sex.

All Names Have Been Changed for the Purposes of Anonymity

Dear Sh!

I’m getting to know someone at the moment with romantic and sexual interest building on both sides. She confided in me that she has problems because as a small child she fell/sat on a hot iron and suffered 3rd degree burns in the genital area.

Funny I’m so busy being sensitive and OK about this while talking to her, I realise I feel very upset writing about it now. I feel like weeping. I suppose that’s normal enough.

I’ve always been a reasonably gentle lover anyway and feel reasonably confident that I can listen to her but the last thing I want is to hurt her or cause her damage. That would be very distressing and the last thing I would want.

I’m a practical soul and visiting your website for associated reasons and I just thought I’d ask (which took a bit of doing).

I am desperate not to hurt her and would be most grateful for your assistance.



Hi there,

Many thanks for your email.

It’s lovely to hear that you are both ready to move on to this new, exciting part of your relationship.

In order for us to give more detailed advice, we’d need to know more about the types of problems that your partner is experiencing.

For example, is there pain?

Pain is the body’s way of telling us that something is wrong, and it is important that we listen to this. We always recommend seeking medical advice if pain is experienced. We never recommend sex where it is painful. If you experience pain during sex it is important to stop and try to address the problem or you could cause further damage.

Is there a lot of scarring?

Does the scarring affect the whole genital area, or some parts of it? How deep is the scarring? Are the areas super-sensitive, or are they numb? All of these factors will affect the kinds of sexual play you are able to enjoy and finding out about these aspects will help you and your partner develop a successful sex life.

Is there a vaginal canal?

The vagina may may have shrunk and/or closed. This may place limitations on what type of play you can enjoy together. Saying that, even if there is some shrinkage, there is a vaginal training process called dilation that can work very well when practiced with suitable toys over time. You may want to talk about this with a gynecologist or medical professional. At Sh! we are currently developing our own dilation kit which incorporates vibration for a more effective and enjoyable treatment.

Has the clitoris been damaged?

The clitoris has around 8000 nerve endings on its very tip and if it remains undamaged, your partner has the potential to experience great pleasure from the right kind (for her) of clitoral stimulation.

Psychological  damage could be an issue – how does you partner feel about the way her outer parts (vulva) look? She may be absolutely fine with any change to the appearance and colour of her genitals, or she may feel  very sensitive about it. Follow her lead – ie. lights on vs lights off, having a good look vs a less intrusive view of her genitals and so on.

Has she had sex before? If so, how did she feel about it? If she has had good experiences, this will be helpful for both of you as she’ll view sex as something pleasurable.

If she hasn’t had sex, or if it was painful, she’ll need time to build up her confidence. Let her take the lead and give her plenty of time to discover what is and isn’t pleasurable for her.

Take time to discover each others’ bodies, find out what triggers pain (avoid) and what triggers pleasure (yes!).  Sex isn’t just one body part slotted into another – sex can be whatever you want it to be. Gentle caresses or kissing, and touching in ways that feel good for both of you.

Sexuality, and what it means, is different for everyone, “Normal” (and we use this word very loosely) sex is different for everyone.

Make sure to use a really good lubricant, and lots of it. We recommend Sh! Pure Plus as the thickness of the lube will add a nice padded layer between fingers and damaged skin.

Perhaps try a gentle finger vibrator, as the vibrations can help relax tense nerve endings.

If you are based in London, or if you ever find yourself in our part of the world, you are most welcome to stop by the shop for more detail advice.

Best of luck to you both!

Love, Team Sh! xx



Q&A: I’ve only had an orgasm once in my life: what toys should I try to change this?

All Names Have Been Changed for the Purposes of Anonymity


I’d like to ask for your help in a serious matter: I’ve been married for 20 years and have only ever had one orgasm when I was much younger. I’m desperate to put things right and think that I need help by buying a vibrator and any books on the subject that might help me. I had one once before but didn’t get on well with it, it was noisy and although pleasant never helped me reach orgasm. I might need something like the Lelo Ina but I was really hoping to get some advice!

Many thanks


Hi Anna,

Thanks for getting in touch!

First of all, we’d like to say that this is a very common question. We meet so many (so many!) women who find it near-impossible to have an orgasm. 

For a woman, having an orgasm is very much a learned thing. It involves the whole woman, body & mind. We recommend taking some “me-time”, learning how to have an orgasm is easier done without a partner present.

Clitoral Pleasure GelYou need to be properly aroused – a sexy book or dvd can help get the juices flowing. And talking about juices – a good bottle of lube is essential. Lube makes everything nice and slick, and heightens sensitivity. A clitoral enhancer can make also make a huge difference – this gel increase blood flow to your bits, plumping everything up.

Next on the tick-list for orgasmic pleasures are vibrators. Vibes oscillate at around 200 oscillations per minute, and this prolonged stimulation can work wonders when it comes to  tipping a woman over the orgasmic edge.

Lelo do produce some fantastic and beautiful products, like Ina. Lelo Ina is a rabbit-style vibrator, which means there is a shaft for internal pleasure and an extra “prong” for clitoral stimulation. For a first time buyer, we might suggest starting of with something a bit more purse-friendly, like our popular Jessica Rabbit vibrator. That way, you can find out if vibrators are for you without spending £££. 

If you live in or around London, you may be able to visit our shop in person? This can sometimes make the process of choosing a toy a little easier – you’re able to test the different type of vibrations.

Additionally, having good control of the pc muscle can help – learn more about kegel exercises here.

We really hope this helps the start of your sexual journey!

If you have any further questions or queries, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Love Team Sh! Xxx