Sexual Health Week

Sexual Health Week: STI’s

Sexual Health Week takes place from 14th September until 20th September and during this week we’ll make your vagina (or penis) our focus. We want your juicy bits to stay healthy.

We all know that we should go for regular check-ups, and that we should use condoms if we’re lucky enough to pull a hottie on a night out. But how many of us actually adhere to this, 100%? There are definitely occasional slip-ups, right?  Too busy, too drunk, don’t like getting our kit off in front of nurse in case she laughs at our oddly-shaped labia lips… There are many excuses and you may even have used one of them yourselves. And by doing so, you’re doing your vagina (or penis) a massive disservice.

Sexually Transmitted Infections, or STI’s for short, can happen to anyone who is sexually active.

It doesn’t mean that you’re playing fast and lose, and it doesn’t mean that you’re in some way “dirty”. It’s a risk we all take if and when we aren’t practising safer sex.

Safer sex means using condoms, dental dams and latex gloves during all sexual encounters where a partner’s STI status is unknown – this is by far the best way of avoiding unpleasant itching or frothy discharges in delicate areas.

Sexually transmitted infections are passed from one person to another through genital and/or sexual contact.

The good news is that most infections can be cleared up quickly.

The bad news is that many aren’t aware of carrying an infection, as they show no symptoms.

ribbed-condomsChlamydia is the most common STI in the UK, and worryingly, most people don’t experience any symptoms. This means you may be infected for a very long time, and could unknowingly be passing it on to partners.

Women may experience a burning sensation when peeing, vaginal discharge and bleeding in between periods. For men, symptoms may show as burning when peeing, a cloudy discharge or pain in the testicles.

Untreated Chlamydia can lead to infertility, so it is important to get checked out regularly.

Genital Warts are small, fleshy growths around your genital area, including the anus. They are caused by the Human Papilloma Virus and the second most common STI in the UK. The warts are usually painless, but you may notice some redness or itching.

Gonorrhoea is a bacterial STI easily passed on during sex. About 50% of women don’t experience any symptoms at all. For those who do experience symptoms,  pain when peeing or a watery discharge is common. Other symptoms can be pain in the lower abdomen after sex, or bleeding in between periods.

Dental DamThricomoniasis is caused by a teeny-tiny parasite, and is passed on easily. Most people don’t know they’re infected.

Thric can cause a frothy, yellowish discharge in women, and men may experience burning after peeing or an inflamed foreskin. Thric can be difficult to diagnose, and your GP may advise you to go to specialist clinic for a swab test.

Pubic Lice crawl from hair to hair (but don’t jump from person to person) so up close contact is how they are passed on.  They can live in all body hair, and it may take weeks before you realise you are infected.

HIV is most commonly passed on through unprotected sex, but can also be transmitted via infected blood. There are no cures for HIV, but there are treatments that allow the infected person to live a long and otherwise healthy life.

If you experience any of the above symptoms, we recommend you book yourself an appointment at your local GUM Clinic for further investigation. There is no shame in having an infection – but it is important it gets cleared up…

 

For more info on sexually transmitted infections.

Sexual Health Week 3

Sexual Health Week: Safer Sex & Toys

Today we’re going to share some important information on how to keep up the safer sex stuff when using sex toys. Keeping your toys clean is just as important as keeping your bits happy & healthy. No one would deliberately set out to catch an STI and attitude should be the same when it comes to toys.

The Safest Sex Toy Material is Silicone

Cupid 3 Silicone DildoSilicone is the best material for all your sex toys, be they clitoral vibrators, rabbit-style vibes or butt plugs. Whatever you’re into, choosing body-friendly and safe toys should be a priority.

You may have heard of phthalates? Phthalates are chemicals that are often mixed into cheaper materials in order to make them softer and more transparent. Whilst studies into the damaging effects of phthalates are limited, we do know that there is some evidence linking phthalates to interference with sperm production, for example.

Other safe materials are glass and stainless steel, but as these toys are super-firm and unyielding, they are not to everyone’s taste. Silicone is soft, strokeable and bendable, thus ensuring a very comfortable ride.

A word about silicone sex toys & lube…

We recently came across an article that had us furrowing our brows with disapproval. This article stated that silicone lube could and should be used when playing with silicone toys. If there had been an social media-style “dislike” button, we’d have hit it.

Silicone-based lube is great for a number of things, like when you want long a session in the bath or if skin-on-skin anal play is on the menu… But it’s not great for use with sex toys made out of silicone.

We argued this point with a well-known supplier of (very good) silicone-based lube a few years ago. They shipped us vats of the stuff and we dunked silicone toys into it, before leaving the lube to do it’s thing.

The silicone lube damaged the surface of the toys, shapes were distorted and dildos ended up resembling a colourful collection of Loch Ness Monsters. The supplier had to agree: it’s advisable to use water-based lube when playing with silicone toys.

 

Ribbed Condoms

Sharing Sex Toys Safely

You can absolutely share your favourite sex toy with one or several partners – as long as you either wash it, or cover it with a new condom between each partner.

Our trick is to cover the vibrator or dildo in several condoms, and then you can just whip ’em off one by one as your games progress. Easy!

Going From Back to Front

Make sure toys are washed thoroughly, or covered with a clean condom, before being dipped into a new orifice. This is especially important if you are planning on going from back to front, as you may otherwise end up with an unpleasant vaginal infection.

Always make sure any toys used for anal play are safe.

By “safe” we mean that the toy must have a handle or flared base.

The anal muscle is strong and if something gets sucked in, your only option is to head to nearest A&E…

Best avoided for so many reasons!

Cleaning Your Sex Toys

Using a sex toy cleaner is the easiest way to keep all your favourite toys squeaky clean. Simply spritz, wipe down, rinse under warm water and leave to air dry.

Another good way to clean your sex toys is to use anti-bacterial hand wash and hot water.

Our own-brand  silicone dildos can be boiled in a pan of water for up to 5 minutes, or put through the top rack of a dishwasher. Again, there are sex toy companies out there who will tell you that the dildos will melt, but this isn’t true. At Sh! Towers, we regularly sterilize demo dildos by putting them through a hot cycle. (Just make sure to remove the small bullet vibe if you have a vibrating dildo).

 

 

 

 

Sexual Health Week

Using Sex Toys Safely

Sexual Health Week is upon us, and as always, we’ll be doing our bit by separating facts from fiction. We’ll share information on how to choose sex toys wisely, how to keep your bits & bobs bacteria-free, and we’ll also squeeze in a shortie about sexually transmitted infections. Highlighting sexual health is important for so many reasons.

Did you know that sharing toys with a lover could mean ending up with an infection? Or that forgetting to wash your favourite vibrator could have dire effects on your vagina? It’s true.

Today we are focusing on how to use sex toys safely. It might sound self-explanatory, but ask any A&E nurse and you’ll find they have a long list of things gone wrong during play time.

We’ve all heard about the light bulb that disappeared up someone’s bum, or the vibrator that was sucked up…still vibrating. Most recently, a story about a toy dinosaur being removed from a lady’s  cave made the rounds on social media.

These stories may elicit a giggle from most of us, but we guarantee the person who ended up in A&E didn’t think it much fun. Such trauma is enough to put anyone off toys for life!

First rule of safe sex toy play:

Use toys that have been designed for what you have in mind. Light bulbs may look enticing, but you’ll regret it. Likewise wine bottles (ouch!), coca cola cans (really?) or fish (borderline bestiality).

We have heard the most horrendous stories of things gone awol inside a person and we can’t stress this enough; it’s a lot less embarrassing to go to a sex shop to purchase a sexy toy than it is to go to A&E with a spatula up yer bum…

Butt Plug 2
Butt Plug 2 £19

Use Anal Toys Safely

We’re going to start off with anal toys as this seems to be the most popular orifice for inserting a wide range of unsuitable things.

Anal play is a whole lot of fun – as long as you play safely. The anal muscle is stronger than you think, so ensure any toy used for anal teasing or insertion has a flared base or handle.

Our range of handmade silicone butt plugs are perfect for safe anal play. The plugs have all got wide bases, meaning there is no chance of them getting sucked into the rectum. Start off with small-size butt toys, and add a generous squirt of a thick anal lubricant for comfy, pain-free play. The anus isn’t self-lubricating so added lubrication to keep all moves sensual, smooth and pain-free is essential.

Vibrator Safety

Sh! Easy Egg
Sh! Easy Egg £22

Some vibrators, like Sh! Easy Egg bullet vibrator, are designed for external use only. Play with the softly textured egg on your nipples, labia and clit, but avoid slipping it inside. The main reason for this is removal: you’ll have to pull on the cord to remove the egg and over time,  this will weaken the connection. This will not only shorten the life of the vibe, but also put you at risk for internal scratches and difficult removal.

Tip: if you do want to play with  a bullet style vibe vaginally, we recommend slipping it into a condom first. You can then pull on the condom for easy removal without damaging the cord – or  more importantly – your delicate parts!

If you want a toy that can be used for safe insertion, we have a stunning selection of G-spot vibrators and Rabbit-style vibrators to choose from. These toys have been designed for internal play.

Waterproof Sex Toys

Some vibrators are 100% waterproof, some are shower-proof and others not safe for use in the water at all. If you like to splash around in the hot-tub full of bubbles (who doesn’t?), make sure your vibrator is waterproof. Always check the instructions before submerging.

Safety with Rechargeable Toys

Rechargeable sex toys are fabulous, but you need to pay attention when plugging them in for a boost. Use only the correct charger, and make sure to unplug when done.

Also pay attention to voltage – make sure your toy is compatible with national voltage. Espesh important when going abroad!

sexybattery-aaa
Sexy Batteries £4.50

Batteries – power up your toys safely

Using the right kind of batteries for your toy is imperative. Protect and prolong the life of a cheaper-style vibe with low-power batteries like Panasonic. Or even better, stock up on Sexy Batteries, which are designed specifically for sex toys. Extra power but kinder on motors!

Don’t mix new and old batteries, and always remove batteries before storing your toy.

We know of one woman who chose to go against advice when it came to storage, preferring to carry her favourite vibe in her handbag at all times. She eventually ended up with an overheated vibrator and the batteries caught fire – on public transport!

Safe Sex Toy Materials

Whilst we don’t sell the, lots of sex toys are made from  Jelly, which to a greater or lesser degree has been softened with Phthalates – a type of chemical which has raised heath concerns.

There has not been much research on Phthalates in sex toys but our advice choose body-friendly materials for your play things. Above all other materials, we recommend silicone.

Silicone is hypo-allergenic, non-porous and phthalate-free. It’s super easy to keep clean and you can even sterilize non-vibrating silicone toys for sharing and ultimate safety.

Vibrators made from Elastomer TPR/TPE are a great alternative to Jelly as they are Phthalate-free, but they are likely to be porous, so better to not share these toys or cover them with a condom if you do…

Other super-safe materials are solid glass and stainlesss steel, but these hard and inflexible toys are more of an acquired taste.

Cleaning Your Sex Toys

Yes, you do need to wash your sex toy.  Regularly. Not cleaning your toys will ensure that bacteria grows, causing all sorts of itchiness in delicate areas.

Use a special sex toy cleaner, or wash with antibacterial hand wash and hot water.

Leave them to air dry ( drying them with a towel or tissue could leave tiny particles which you probably don’t want transferred to your muff) and store them in a clean, dark place, away from other toys ( direct heat, sunlight or proximity to other sex toy materials can cause strange melting/fusing  to sex toy surfaces)

We don’t recommend storing any sex toys, including those made of leather, such as strap ons or bondage gear, in a sealed plastic bag, as this doesn’t protect them but actually creates a culture-growing environment. A  cardboard storage box or fabric bag is better – let your sex toys breathe!

Sh! Pure Lube £10
Sh! Pure Lube £10

Lube

We always advocate for the use of lube, but it’s equally important to choose the right lube for both you and your toy.

Water-based lubricants are  body-friendly and usually our first choice. They are often very similar to your natural juices in consistency, with no scent or flavour. If you are concerned by parabens, choose a Praben-Free Lubricant or if you are prone to thrush, opt for a Glycerine-Free Lube.

Silicone-based lubes are great for when you need long-lasting glide, but the downside to these lubricants is that they’ll damage the surface of silicone toys. Silicone-based lubes are best left for skin-on-skin play.

Playing Safely with Temperature on Sex Toys

Putting toys in the microwave to “warm them up” before inserting isn’t a good idea. Neither is putting them in the freezer and then directly on to the delicate skin of your down-belows.

If you like to play with temperatures, there are much safer ways: warm toys by rubbing back and forth in your hands, run under warm water or cool by leaving in the fridge for an hour or two.  Or, go super-safe by warming or cooling the lube instead of the toy…

Advice Anal Play & Pleasure

Enhancing Anal Play and Pleasure

Before you get down to some really pleasurable anal play, there are a few things to think about, so here we’ll take you through what you may need to stock up on before heading in through the back door…

Lubricant is essential to ensure ALL your anal play is pleasurable

Lube is the most important thing when it comes to a pleasurable anal experience – a necessity.  The anal canal isn’t self-lubricating, meaning that the necessary moisture needs to be added – by you.

Many customers come to us, asking if anal play “has” to hurt, and we always give the same answer: anal play should not be painful at all. It should only be pleasurable.

When asking these customers, we usually find they all have one thing in common: they don’t use lube. (dry friction – no wonder it hurts, peeps!)

Lashings of lube will make all anal pleasure, with or without toys  so much more comfortable and sensual. It also ensures that everything stays nicely slidey, throughout the long, slow journey of anal arousal (if you’re going too fast, no wonder it hurts peeps!)

Here, we have two options for you:

Silicone Lube is slick and long-lasting for the slow pace of arousing anal play....
Silicone Lube is slick and long-lasting for the slow pace of arousing anal play….

Silicone lubricant for anal play

Silicone-based lube is great for skin-on-skin play; when you use fingers or a penis, or if you use sex toys made from glassplastic, or steel. It is slick and long-lasting, and a little goes a long, long way…

Silicone lube is also perfect for anal play in the bath or shower – which is a good place for beginners to anal sex to start their journey as many people are hesitant around ‘feeling clean’.  Water will wash away regular lube.

It’s worth noting that silicone-based lube could damage the surface of any silicone toys you may have, so we recommend covering these toys with condoms if you opt for silicone lube.

Sh! Pure Plus (£10) Paraben-Free Thick Anal Lubricant
Sh! Pure Plus (£10) Paraben-Free Thick Anal Lubricant

Water-based lubricant for anal play

Choose a thick, viscous water-based lube for anal play

The thicker, the better! It will coat fingers, penises and toys much better than runny versions.

Customers often ask how much lube they should add, and our reply is always this: Add as much as you think. Then add a bit more!

Water-based lubes are very body-friendly, and work well with any toys  you have. Water-based lube evaporates/sinks into the skin, so you’ll have to reapply, or reactivate your lube with a  couple of drops of water or saliva, which works just as well.


 

A word about anal enhancers and why you should never use anal numbing products…

Intimate Organics Anal Relaxant £18
Intimate Organics Anal Relaxant £18

Here at Sh!, we do not sell any products designed to numb the anal area.

We have many customers asking for these (it’s that old ‘anal sex always hurts’ myth again!) but we always explain why using anal numbing creams or sprays could actually be harmful.

The anal canal is very delicate and the skin there easily torn.  Pain is your body’s  way of staying ‘stop’ or ‘slow down’. If you have numbed your body (with a special numbing product, or with alcohol or drugs) you will be unaware of being hurt. Staying present and in-tune with your body’s sensations is the only way to safely enjoy anal sex.

What we offer instead, are anal enhancing sprays, which are naturally formulated to relax the anus for easy penetration, whilst still keeping the bottoming partner fully aware of all sensations in their tush.


 

Pasante Extra Condoms (£7)
Pasante Extra Condoms (£7)

Using Condoms for Anal Play

Using condoms is a great way to take care of any hygiene-worries you may have. Also, a necessity, for safer-sex. .

Because of the delicate skin in the bum,  anal sex with an uncovered penis is the easiest transmission route of many STI’s. Pasante Extra, are specially created for anal sex; extra lube for friction-free moves and extra thick latex for a strong barrier.

Whether for safer-sex purposes or not, using condoms for anal sex makes clean-up a doddle:  just whip the condom off and dispose of. Easy peasy!


 

 

Using Latex Gloves for Anal Play – Turns fingers into smooth operators…

Black Latex Gloves
Black Latex Gloves £4 for 10

Using latex gloves for anal sex (or non-latex gloves, if you are allergic) not only easy, but also very sexy.

Snapping on a glove and drizzling some lube over your gloved-up fingers can be a hot image, raising anticipation of things to come..

It  can also add frisson to kinky medical role-play…

They also make a sexy barrier, if you are a bit squeamish about probing your partner’s tush…

Gloves are essential if you have long nails (long nails and delicate tushies don’t go together), nails that aren’t smooth (ouch!) or if you are concerned about hygiene (easy to whip off and dispose of).

If you have long nails, it’s a really good idea to pop some cotton wool into each finger of the glove  before putting it on. This will protect your nails – and your partner’s bum!

If you’re not keen on wearing  whole glove, you could easily cut the latex fingers off, and cover your own fingers with them – finger cots!

 

Using Dental Dams for Anal Oral Sex (aka Analingus or Rimming)

Latex Dam (£2) for anal oral sex, aka 'rimming'
Latex Dam (£2) for anal oral sex, aka ‘rimming’

Dams are squares of latex (also available in non-latex, if you are allergic) that you place over your partners bits to perform oral sex through. They are a barrier, much like condoms and can be used for vaginal as well as anal pleasure – though always  use a new dam, each time.

The offical word for anal oral sex is analingus, but it’s more commonly called  ‘rimming’.

Rimming is when you pleasure your partners anus with your lips and tongue. It may sound shocking to some, but the anus has tons of nerve-endings, just begging to be licked, kissed and touched, and this can be intensely pleasurable.

Drizzle a touch of lube on to your partner’s side of the dam before placing it over their anus – this will make your licking feel moist and sexy – just like your tongue!

So there’s the run-down on the essentials (lube!), as well as additions to pleasurable anal play, but 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.

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!

coregasm advice

Phthalates in Sex Toys

Phthalates (pronounced “thall-eights”) are a family of chemicals that are used to soften plastic in things like shower curtains. They are also used as  solvents and can be found many uses in our daily lives,

Jelly (PVC) sex toys contain phthalates – it’s the chemical that makes then soft and squishy (and often smell very chemically).

The US heath regulating body (FDA) says that phthalates are a ‘probable human carcinogen’ ie they could cause cancer.

There have been studies that suggested that phthalates could cause fertility problems in rats.

Other studies seem to contradict the above.

We don’t stock toys made with phthalates

You can be sure any toy you buy from Sh! is safe, but we want you to be safe with any other toys you might buy.

If you’ve ever unwrapped a sex toy and been overwhelmed by strong chemically smell – this is the toy off-gassing large amounts of phthalates.

There are different grades of phthalates and different amounts  can be used, from a very little amount…to lots.  

This is why  food storage containers don’t smell, whilst cheap trainers can stink before you’ve even put your feet into them! 

The basic rule to follow is;  the stronger the smell, the more phthalates have been used.

The problem is no studies have been done on sex toys, and of course you tend to have a more intimate relationship with a sex toy than a shower curtain!

Until there’s more research carried out on whether jelly sex toys pose a risk, it’s impossible to give conclusive answers, but we think it’s  always wise to have a cautious relationship with chemicals.

This is why, if you do own any PVC Jelly sex toys,  we recommend covering it with a condom, just to be extra safe.

 

 

How to use Nipple Clamps Advice

Nipple Clamp Safety Tips

Tips for Playing Safely and Sensually with Nipple Clamps:

Check sensations regularly

The pinch of nipple clamps is one thing but the real sensation comes after the clamp is released.

Once you’ve got over the initial sensation  when nipple clamps are applied, feelings may turn quite mild until the clamps come off and then ‘OUCH!’

Start out only for a minute or so, then release, to restore circulation and to address the intensity factor before moving on to longer periods…


Clamps can make nipples incredibly sensitive

When nipple clamps are released, blood rushes back into the traumatized area making the never-endings zing with sensation.

How much will, of course,  depend on how sensitive your nipples are in a ‘regular’ state.

If you’re nipples go crazy at the brush of a blouse, stand back to be blown away at a mere whisper of breath across them…

If your nipples are not very sensitive, you may find nipple clamps are just the thing to make them stand to attention.

A lot of pleasure and imaginative sensation play can be applied after the clamp is released; ice, a warm tongue, vibration, the stroke of a feather stroked across or sting of a mini whip will all feel super magnified on freshly unclasped nips.


 Don’t play with nipple clamps for too long

Especially if you’re a beginner.  As the nature of a clamp  to cut off blood supply, it’s  best not to play with nipple clamps for  a few minutes at first.

Even if you’re a seasoned player, clamps shouldn’t be left on for more that 30 minutes without a break and chance for circulation to be restored.

It depends on the type of clamp used and how total the ‘cut-off’ , but no blood flow to an area can mean tissue damage, so don’t take this tip lightly.


Home-made clamps

Your local hardware, DIY  or beauty shop  can reveal some interesting home-made nipple pinchers; clothes pegs, hardware clamps and even hair clips can be brought into play.

However check their surface very carefully, running your finger ( or better yet, your tongue – as that is one of the most sensitive feeler on your body) over the surface.

Feel firmly for splinters or anything that could nick or cut. Clearly, don’t use a clamp with serrated metal teeth as these can obviously break skin.


Apply nipple clamps behind the areola

The areola is the circle of darkened skin surrounding the actual nipple. Pull the nipple out and apply the nipple clamp toward the back – almost behind the nipple.

Nipple clamps that are applied too closely to the front of the nipple can be frustrating as they slip off in the heat of the moment.  Clamping as much as possible behind the areola will give you a much more secure pinch.


Advice about breasts & nipple clamps

Breast and nipple sensitivity changes throughout the  menstrual cycle – what feels good one day may be excruciating the next – be aware of this and don’t try to ‘stick it out’ just because it felt good last time.

During pregnancy and breast-feeding is also a time when nipple sensitivity can go through the roof.  There’s no reason why you can’t play whist expecting or feeding a baby, just listen and follow your body’s signs.

Women with cystic breasts and silicone implants should be cautious when it comes to nipple clamp play.


Nipple clamps aren’t just for nipples!

Anything that is pinched hard for quite a while and then released becomes super sensitive – so image what a clamped clit could feel like…

Perhaps too much for some, but if you struggle with clitoral sensitivity, a clamp on your clitoris could wake her up – a lot!

Labia don’t have the same amount of nerve-endings, but can enjoy tugging , spreading and weighty sensations that a clamp clipped here can bring.


Our Top 3 Nipple Clamp Recommendations:

Tweezer Nipple Clamps (£13) Easy Adjustable Squeeze Clips: Ideal for Beginners
Tweezer Nipple Clamps (£13) Easy Adjustable Squeeze Clips: Ideal for Beginners

Best Nipple Clamps for Beginners – Tweezer Nipple ClampsAn excellent set for newbies exploring first-time nipple play, the V-shaped clamps open wide to go behind the nipple and are totally adjustable – you simply slide clip upwards until the desired level of pinch is reached. The connecting chain add weights and is ideal to tug and ‘wake-up’ the nipples  and looks look hot between the breasts…


 

 

Adjustable Nipple Clamps (£11) Screw-Type, Rubber-Coated with Chain
Adjustable Nipple Clamps (£11) Screw-Type, Rubber-Coated with Chain

Best for Intermediates – Adjustable Nipple Clamps

2 large rubber coated clamps, fully adjustable with a screw  on each clasp with can be used to limit the pinch-effect. clamps. They are heavy, so will need to be pinched quiet hard to keep them from slipping off.

A connecting chain adds to the weighty sensations and can be tweaked and tugged to increase sensations.


 

 

Nipple Chain Clamps (£16) Simple Clip Clasp Type with Heavy Chain
Nipple Chain Clamps (£16) Simple Clip Clasp Type with Heavy Chain

Best for all-round clamping Nipple Chain Clamps

A pair of simple squeeze-open clasps with a broad, flat pinching area to diffuse sensations and rubber-coated interior tips for stay-put pleasure. Like a flat pair of modern clother pegs, these are the best clamps if you’d like to explore clit-clamping.

 

 

 

Read more nipple play advice to help you explore the delightful sensations of your or your partner’s twin peaks…

 

advice bondage

How to Play Safely with BDSM

BDSM stands for Bondage, Domination, Sadomasochism and Masochism.

It’s meant to be a little scary but never in a way that’s unsafe.

BDSM can involve as much, or as little bondage, domination, or submission as you like, ranging from a little light bondage to a full-on dungeon scene.

Leather Paddle
Leather Paddle

BDSM can be incredibly intense because it allows the submissive partner the freedom to give up power completely and the dominant partner to take full control.

If you would like to explore power-play, there are a few rules to follow to ensure both players physical and emotional safety.

Listen & Trust Your Instincts

This is our number one piece of advice.

You know how far you want to go. Never push your own or your lover’s limits in a BDSM scene.

Agree on Safe Words to use with the BDSM scene

Safe-words to control or stop a “scene” are an essential part of BDSM safety.

Agreeing on the safe-words, before you start playing and honouring them within the scene, is the only way to ensure the physical and emotional safety of the submissive player. Safe words shouldn’t be any words that you might use during your game.

Using words such as ‘stop’,  ‘no’ or ‘please’ are not recommended as BDSM safe words.

A common set of BDSM safe -words are: ‘YELLOW’ which means ‘Ease Up’ – I’m not ready to stop but am feeling a bit unsafe’ and ‘RED’ which means ‘Stop now’.

Good communication is crucial

Honesty is the best policy is good advice, and never truer than in a BDSM scene.

Any BDSM scene based on power can resurrect buried feelings, especially in someone who has been abused or raped.

It’s important to communicate any no-go areas and vital that boundaries are agreed upon before the a BDSM scene commences.

The emotional safety of both players is as important as the physical safety.

Physical Safety with BDSM Scenes

 Never restrict your submissive’s nose AND mouth within a BDSM scene. Never tie your submissive face down on soft furnishing.

Never leave your submissive tied-up alone. This is basic safety advice to ensure your submissive can breathe.

Rubber Wrist Cuffs
Rubber Wrist Cuffs £20

Check regularly throughout the BDSM scene that extremities such as toes and fingers are not numb or cold as these are signs that blood has stopped flowing to the area and its time to untie.

Use wide, strong bonds like these Wrist Cuffs and Ankle Cuffs. Silk scarves may seem less threatening but they can tighten in the throws of a BDSM game, without anyone noticing, and can cause pinched nerves, or even permanent nerve damage.

Get Informed & Inspired

There are plenty of great BDSM advice books that tell you how to keep your BDSM scene safe. The internet is also a great resource for BDSM advice and ideas to keep your BDSM play both hot AND safe.

Anal Sex Toy Safety Tips

Anal Sex Toy Safety Tips

We want your tushie to stay safe so here are the 3 rules for anal sex toys to be safe to go near your delicate nether regions.

  • Anal toys must be smooth
  • With an anal-safe base
  • And be an anal-safe size.

All anal toys at Sh! meet this criteria (as we reject all that don’t) so  you can be confident of that. But we’ve all heard tales of emergency visits to A&E, so if you’re thinking of improvising ( please don’t!) or have any toys you’re unsure of, please check them against these 3 safety rules;

Anal sex toys MUST be absolutely smooth and seamless

Anal tissue is very delicate (much more so than the vaginal tissue) so always check toys for any rough edges that could scratch or cut the skin there.

Cheaper toys made with hard plastic can have a seam running through them where the 2 parts are joined together – check that yours doesn’t before letting it anywhere near your precious bottom.


You must be able to keep a firm grip on any anal toy

An anal toy must feature either a:

  • large or flared base
  • safety ring/ loop
  • very long handle.

This ensures that you can keep a a firm grip on the toy. These safety features prevent your anal toy from slipping all the way inside.

Unlike the vagina, sex toys lost up the ass really can stay lost and could cause damage ( as well as an embarrassing trip to the A&E dept!) so this is not advice to take lightly.

 

Sh! Vibrating Silicone Beads feature a a loop handle to keep a grip on...
Sh! Vibrating Silicone Beads feature a a loop handle to keep a grip on…
Sh! Silicone Butt Plug featuring a wide base to prevent it slipping inside
Sh! Silicone Butt Plug featuring a wide base to prevent it slipping inside

 


 

Crystal Flex Wand Vibrator features a long handle to keep a tight grip upon.
Crystal Flex Wand Vibrator features a long handle to keep a tight grip upon.

Anal sex toys 10cm (around 4 inches), or longer,  MUST be flexible

This ensures that they are able to  bend with the natural curves of the anal canal, which loops back, inside your body around 4 inches inside.


Other than this, only you can judge the best size of anal toy for you so experiment with fingers and don’t be afraid to think small!

If your just starting out, read our beginners guide to anal toys and rest assured that at Sh! we stock a wide selection of anal-safe sex toys and safe butt plugs, (the vast majority of them in silicone which is soft, sensual and easy to keep clean) so there is anal toy to suit everyone.

advice safe sex

Anal & Safer Sex

Why you should always use condoms during anal sex…

Anal sex is the most risky transmission route for many STD’s, including the HIV virus,  and penises must be condom-clad anytime they are involved in anal play.

Pasante Naturelle Single Condom
Pasante Naturelle Single Condom

The great thing is that condoms also turn toys and penises into sleeker playthings for the delicate art of anal pleasure.

Using condoms for all types of anal sex (with toys or penises) make it easy and quick to clean-up. Simply slip off the condom and most of the work is done!

So, whilst using condoms for anal is vital for safer-sex, they also have added benefits!

Other Barriers for Safer Anal Play

Latex gloves are great for ensuring hand-to anal contact is as safe as can be.  The skin in and around the anus is thin and more easily torn, than regular skin. Long or sharp nails, or bitten/bleeding cuticles can be a transmission route for HIV virus.

Coated in lube, latex gloves turns your hands into sleek, safe playthings and makes clean-up super quick and easy.

Dams are the  safer-sex choice for anal licking as they form a barrier between mouth and anus.

Many people, both the ‘do-ers’ and the receivers, prefer to use dams during anal licking, simply because they allow everybody to relax more, without hygiene-worries.

 

 

advice safe sex

National HIV Testing Week

In 2010, an estimated 91,500 people were living with HIV in the UK. Of these, around a quarter were unaware of their HIV infection.

The overall proportion of people living with HIV in the UK is estimated to be 1 in 650; with the proportion of men living with HIV in the UK is estimated to be 1 in 500, while the proportion of women living with HIV in the UK is estimated to be 1 in 1000.

So, why is it so vitally important to test for HIV as soon as possible?

The sad fact is that hundreds of people a year die because they test for HIV too late. The earlier you know you have the virus, the more you are able to do about it to ensure you stay healthy and get the medications you need. If caught early enough, most people with HIV can have the same life span as someone without the virus. It’s also important to test as soon as possible because HIV treatment reduces your ability to pass along the virus to others.

Pasante Naturelle Single Condom
Pasante Naturelle Single Condom

Ways of contracting HIV are HIV can be passed on through infected blood, semen, vaginal fluids or breast milk. The most common ways HIV is passed on are:

– Sex without a condom/Dental Dam with someone who has HIV

– Sharing infected needles, syringes or other injecting drug equipment

– A HIV-positive mother can pass the virus to her child during pregnancy, childbirth or breastfeeding if the right steps to prevent infection are not taken (the steps that can be taken to reduce the possibility of the child contracting HIV to less than one per cent, include giving the mother and child anti-retroviral HIV drugs, delivering the child by Cesarean and not breastfeeding)

You cannot contract HIV through sharing utensils, kissing/cuddling, coughing/sneezing/spitting, toilet seats, pools, saunas etc.

To keep yourself safe and minimise the rise of catching HIV or any other STIs/STDs, always use a condom when having vaginal or anal sex. You also may want to use a condom or dental dam during oral sex. We carry a wide selection of condoms and dental dams here at Sh!, so you can find the right ones to suit you!

If you use needles/syringes/piercing or tattoo equipment for whatever reasons, then make sure they are sterile and have not been used by anyone else.

It is completely free for everyone to get tested for HIV in England and many clinics now offer rapid testing where they use a finger-prick or saliva to determine your HIV status. There is a 4 week window between contracting the virus and it being detected by testing, but it is still important to go straight to your GP/Sexual health clinic for help and advice.

Be happy, stay safe and look after your sexual health.

 

 

For more information on HIV/AIDs:

Terrence Higgins Trust
HIV Aware
National AIDS Trust

Statistics taken from the National AIDs Trust website.