All names are changed for the purposes of anonymity.
I wonder if you could advise me or whether this is outside your advice area.
I have never bought a vibrator or any sex toy as my first relationship was with a very controlling, abusive man who even thought touching yourself was cheating (me, not for him) and my second and current relationship is with a fairly shy man (husband) who has only just decided to let go and open up on experimenting and communicating openly about these things. Before both relationships was a rape and before that nothing (I was brought up on nothing before marriage rule which it took a while to break). I’ve had a baby in the last 9 months with a painful episiotomy and am just starting to feel back to normal sex drive and comfort levels. I am generally pretty experimental and adventurous in other areas of life so it seems a shame to miss out here.
Despite this not awesome start to my sex life, I am very positive about broadening my horizons and interested in vibrators, silver balls, etc but no clue where to start. Any idea how to choose the right toy?
This is an extremely open email to a stranger so a bit scary!
Many thanks for your email, and many thanks for being so open. We meet many women in similar situations, and we hope we can offer advice that will be useful for you.
It is really great that you are thinking about your pleasure. Sexual arousal often starts in the brain, so this is an important step in the right direction.
Before introducing a toy, we’d recommend exploring yourself using just your fingers and some lube. Lube is the most amazing thing, and a drizzle over the fingers and vulva can make a huge difference in how things feel. It’ll make things smoother, but also heighten arousal. It could also be a great idea to download some great erotica written by women for women (no offence guys – but we find female erotica authors often have a way with words that can really get the juices flowing…)
There are no right or wrongs when it comes to choosing a toy – it’s all about what the individual person might enjoy. For you, a small toy for external pleasure may be a good starting point. We have a great selection of vibrators for clitoral pleasure on our website and in our shop. These are designed to stimulate and tease the clitoris (and with 8000 nerve-endings on it’s tip, it does like stimulation!). In terms of vibration, it’s always a good idea to choose a toy with more than one speed, as this gives you variety and options. You might find that you like just plain vibration, or you might find that you like fancy pulses and patterns.
Love balls (silver balls) are great fun, and can be used for toning the pc muscle (especially important after having given birth) and also as sex toys. You can pop the balls inside whilst you explore the outer vulva with your fingers or vibrator. Having something to grip onto can feel super-sexy, so we recommend exploring what feels best for you.
If you’d like a toy to use with your husband, we have a fun selection of couples toys, like vibrating cock rings. These rings are great for newbies, and a gentle way to introduce sex toys into a relationship.
If you live in or around London, you might like to come along to Cafe V sometime. Cafe V is a support group for female survivors of sexual violence and assault. We talk about sex and sex toys, and we drink tea and eat pastries. It’s set up by My Body Back Project in collaboration with Sh!, and it’s definitely worth checking out.
All Names Have Been Changed for the Purposes of Anonymity
I saw your tweet about advice and thought you might be able to help with a problem. I have quite a low sex drive. Most of the time I can’t be bothered with it, but just before my period when I’m flooded with hormones, I can’t get enough. This effects my relationships quite badly as my men types are very much of the anytime, anywhere ilk and I feel I can’t keep up with that. Are there ways to spread my general horn around a little bit more, so I’m much more interested for a much greater length of time than just a
couple of days?
So, the first thing that springs to mind are a couple of questions to ask and rule out.
Are you on libido-effecting drugs?
Medication can have a negative effect on libidos, and in many cases “the horn” may even be completely blocked. Antidepressants are the biggest culprit. The Pill, too can mess with your hormones and effect libido. If you’re taking any prescription drugs, have a chat with your doctor about other options available to you, such as a lower dose, a different brand or an alternative to pills all together.
2. Do you have children?
Children are notoriously bad for your sex life (although it is so much fun creating them!), as they’ll wear you out without thinking twice about it. If this is the case, we recommend getting a trusted babysitter for a weekend, so you and your partner can book into a hotel for a some sexy downtime…
3. How things generally?
Are you tired , stressed-out, run down? Are you grieving, even from a loss a long time ago ( grief, is a big libido-killer) 101 things can come together to have a massive effect on your mojo. Take a look at your life. If you’re not feeling 100% tickerty-boo, we’d recommend giving yourself a break! Rather than focusing on taking care of, or keeping up with your man, take care of yourself and schedule in regular ‘me-time’.
4. How is sex when you do have it?
Does it satisfy you mind and body? Do you orgasm? What is going on in our brain appears to effect women’s libido and desire, much more so than for men, requiring us to feel safe, confident and connected to really get off. Without that flood of hormones that’s responsible for your unstoppable horniness around ovulation, it maybe that your own head is blocking your libido – Argh! How IS/ARE your relationship/s? Do you trust them and feel the necessary confidence and connection?
So, with all that out of the way, it could be that you just have a lower libido by nature and you are certainly not alone.
Lot’s of women ‘complain’ of low sex drive, but as you write, this only becomes a problem your partner wants more sex than you do…
It may seem like everybody else is constantly hot-to-trot, Sex in the City style, but this simply isn’t the case. In one study, 43% of women claimed they have no sex drive. There’s also a myth that dwindling libido affects mostly older women, but actually women in their 30s tend to be the ones who have their libido knocked sideways, due to stress, working, young families and lack of time.
Testosterone is the main horn-vamping hormone, so take a mooch around Google to see how you can boost it naturally, with certain foods or supplements such as Gingsen, Ginkgo biloba and L’Arginine
Exercise also boost testosterone and other feel-good chemicals in the body, so get your blood pumping – a fast walk, 20 minutes on the treadmill or a bounce on the trampoline will all help you feel better, healthier and sexier.
‘Use it or lose it’, as the saying goes, and this is SO true for your libido
You may find that you desire more sex, just by having more sex. Getting jiggy actually boosts your testosterone levels, which, in turn, turns up the horn, which makes you have more sex! Switching off this cycle of desire clearly has the opposite effect.
If it’s not already part of your repertoire, add sensual massage to playtime with your partner/s, The repetitive strokes of skin-on-skin feels sensual, close and relaxing – perfect for when fast and furious hormone-induced sex is not on the cards for you. It’s also likely to feel arousing, but being less goal-orientated, there’s also less pressure to ‘perform’
Try getting it on at different times of the day (you may find you like it better at a certain time of the day), experiment with new places and new positions (we can sometimes get complacent and need a fresh perspective) and make sure you do things that you really enjoy.
Reading erotica is a great way to get your mind turned-on and where the mind leads, the body will often follow…(we like to read some saucy stuff discreetly on public transport – you can easily access the “good stuff” on your phone these days)
An enhancing gel can work wonders on arousal as it encourages blood-flow to your clitioris, making your mind focus on your body’s NO 1 pleasure-seeking hot-spot
And teasing sensations a vibrator or other fun sex toy, whether together or alone and whether you are already turned-on or not yet, will help arouse your body into pleasure.
All of these can really help boost your desire for sex and turn your mind and body away from the negatives and frustration you feel about it.
There’s this idea that sex, desire and arousal should be effortless and come ‘naturally’ but it requires work sometimes and that’s no bad thing – we’re sure you’ll agree that the end result is soo worth it!
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.
Chlamydia 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.
Thricomoniasis 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…
Table Bondage: Restrain captive over a table, face up. Tie the cuffs to the table legs.
Bed Bondage: Restrain captive laying on a bed, face up. Tie the cuffs to the bed posts/legs.
Standing/Bending Bondage: Captive’s hands are restrained in cuffs behind their back, either standing or bent over at waist.
Endurance Bondage: Captive’s hands in cuffs above head. Make sure whatever you fix the cuffs to is strong enough to take their weight (a fixing in a door frame is best).
Chair Bondage: Position captive kneeling on a chair facing over the back rest. Tie cuffs to the chair’s back or legs.
Seated Bondage: Restrain captive seated on chair. Wrist & ankle cuffs can be tied as close, or as far apart, as you want…
Bondage Position Safety
Whilst your subject is restrained, you can torment and tease using hands, mouth or toys, but don’t use cuffs on you lover for more than 1 hour at the most as the body gets cold and stiff, and blood flow can be somewhat restricted.
Never leave the room whist your captive tied up.
Never restrain your captive in a position that could make breathing difficult – face down on pillows, for instance.
Remember to establish a ‘safe-word’ before you start. If your captive uses the agreed safe-word, you must untie immediately.
My Girlfriend doesn’t want sex without showering first.
She won’t have it, but I really I like her in her natural, just-home state.
What can I do?
While some of us are happy to strip off and get down to it after a long day at the office, or a long night on the dancefloor…
Lots of people can’t even contemplate sex before a shower.
This is totally understandable as we’re bombarded by messages and advertisements for products to make every part of our body fresh and sweet-smelling and all designed to mask our body’s natural scents – whether from under our arms or within our panties.
And yet, the salty, musky tastes and scents our bodies create during sexual excitement are biochemically designed to arouse and inspire us to have sex.
So, there’s a head versus body thing going on – many of us only feel confident to be sexy when we’re clean whereas our lovers get turned on by the pheromones (the body’s natural attractants) of our ‘au natural’ state.
If your girlfriend needs a quick shower to feel confident, so be it.
Few of us are completely free of sexual insecurities. If showering means the difference between her being a sex kitten or a shy puss, then there’s little point in wading in and forcing the issue.
Once your girlfriend is enjoying your attention, all those musty smells you crave will surface anyway!
This isn’t to say that you should hustle her into the shower as soon as she steps through the door…
You should still carry on subtly communicating just how powerfully attractive her body’s natural scents are to you and over time this will help build her confidence that she is totally sexy to you in her natural state
Hope this helps. If you’d like any more help or advice, just get in touch
After having a laproscapy and finding out that I have problems with my ovaries, sex is obviously painful.
I’m trying to find a gel that numbs internally.
The only thing that is slightly close is the gel inside Durex special condoms (but can’t use them as allergic to latex), I’m only 23 and it’s stressing me and my partner of 3 years out – I want my sex life back! Any advice or products you can suggest would be great. Thanks!
Painful sex can, of course, be a problem both for yourself and for your relationship – but please don’t get too stressed about it as this can turn into a vicious cycle
Once it has become an issue, you will tense up your muscles as a negative physical response of “stressing out”, which is not conducive to “getting in the mood.”
We understand it’s difficult to get over the pain, or fear of pain, of intercourse.
Women sometimes get prescribed a steroid cream (by their doctor) for vulval pain/pain during intercourse, where there is actual irritation of the skin, which can numb the pain.
This is slightly more on the more extreme end of things.
And would your husband be happy for you just to be numb during intercourse?
Perhaps the first thing to try is a good lubricant as well-lubricated sex is the first stage to pleasurable sex.
We’d recommend a good water- based lubricant. As you are allergic to latex, we’d advise better to stick to simple formulas, such as Probe lube. (Avoid silicone-based lubes in case you are also sensitive to that).
Lubricant will not numb any pain
…but it will completely reduce any friction and therefore will help make intercouse as smooth as possible.
Lush Pure Lube is very slick and soft feeling, and doesn’t get sticky when it dries out. Just use as much as you like! It’s not a messy lube, so you can be very generous. Probe is also very good. Mostly natural ingredients, it’s designed to closely match your own vaginal fluids.
Whilst there are commercial products available to numb, (mostly marketed for anal sex) we don’t stock them because numbing pain during sex, especially anal sex, can be dangerous.
If you try some lube, but still feel you want something to “numb pain”, then the next stage is to consult your doctor.
But, before you do, maybe it would be good to talk to your partner about expanding your sexual repertoire?
Rather than just numbing pain, perhaps looks to alternatives to intercourse?
Long term couples can get stuck in a sexual rut and so finding other ways to enjoy each other/give each other orgasms outside of intercourse could actually enhance your relationship.
Sometimes my boyfriend’s penis won’t fit inside me.
What is wrong?
Your ladygarden is an amazing organ that is expandable (rather than being an open space) so it’s unlikely that your boyfriend is too big.
Just think what happens during childbirth…
If his penis ‘doesn’t fit’, your body is probably not yet aroused, relaxed or wet enough for penetrative sex
A squirt from your trusty lube bottle and lots more lusty loving of the non-penetrative sort may prime your body to getting to a ‘give it to me’ state of readiness.
Try not to worry or anticipate failure. This will only cause you anxiety which will make your body to tense-up even more causing a viscous cycle.
Be open with your boyfriend. For the vast majority of men, their woman’s pleasure and orgasm is very important to them.
Perhaps agree together that sex doesn’t always have to involve penetration.
This may be enough to release you from your worries and allow you to get out of your head and into your body.
Deep breathing can also help as it allows you to relax more.
If things persist or you feel its more than a simple lack of wetness or readiness, then there is a condition called Vaginismus which you might want to investigate. It causes the vaginal muscles to involuntarily constrict making intercourse impossible or painful. It effects 100,000’s of women and yet it is rarely discussed and little understood.
We hope this helps. If you’d like any further advice, just give us a shout.
When we’re both up for pegging, my girlfriend and I enjoy using a Twista dildo in our strap-on for a bit of pegging anal play. Even though we use loads of lube and take plenty of time, I’m getting the feeling that the dildo itself is a bit long for me. I suppose that she could thrust less deeply but I must admit that we both enjoy this aspect of pegging
Are we doing anything wrong pegging wise or should we be looking for another dildo?
As you take plenty of time, use plenty of lube and really sound like you know what you’re doing – the issue is probably more with your equipment than your pegging technique.
If you enjoy the thrusting during pegging sex then why deny yourselves this pleasure?
The simple answer is to use a shorter dildo for pegging.
As you will be getting most of your pleasure from the stimulation of your prostate (which is not such a long way in), the extra length you’re currently getting from the Twista dildo is probably just not doing anything (except being a bit uncomfortable).
You have obviously got used to a certain level of “girth” whilst pegging with the Twista, so you may not want to go too small or narrow.
Have a look at our dildo range and go for an alternative that is shorter.
I’m looking for a harness that’s ok for men to wear to give their partner double penetration
i.e. there’s a space for a man’s penis and space for a dildo as well.
Also my partner would like to use a harness for either single penetration or double penetration on another woman.
Our Double Strap Harness can be worn by men, to strap-on a dildo – the whether the dildo is to be used instead of their penis or in addition to it for double penetration.
Just position it above your penis on your lower stomach, slip in a dildo and you’re ready to go.
The dildo will penetrate vaginally and your manhood, anally.
To achieve double penetration wearing a strap-on you’ll need good co-ordination.
You’ll also need good communication, as well as a great connection (both physically & mentally) with your girlfriend and this is as important as getting yourself tooled-up.
All our Strap On Harnesses are designed for women to strap-on a Dildo, either for women’s or men’s pleasure (- or both!).
If the woman who is wearing the harness desires some penetration herself, the Double Strap Harness takes a Dual Tool, a special cuff that slips onto the leg straps of the harness to hold a dildo or a butt plug in place.
We haven’t yet designed a harness for a woman to doubly-penetrate her female lover (ie for 2 external dildos) but if there’s enough of a demand we’re sure the Sh! Workshop designers would be happy to rise to the challenge – so people please, let us know your thoughts.