Celebrating international women’s day with empowering classes

Celebrating international women’s day with empowering classes

Somehow, it is already March 2019 and that can mean only one thing: get your party poppers at the ready because it’s about to be International Women’s Day (IWD) on March 8!

#BalanceForBetter is this year’s theme and is all about bringing societal and professional equality to the entire world: trans/WOC/sex-worker inclusive. But how many of us actually know how IWD began?

Let the Sh! history lesson commence…

Fatigued with blatant inequality and oppression, the early 1900s saw women in many western societies become increasingly vocal about their plight for equal rights. America saw the first National Women’s Day in 1909 before Germany’s then bad-ass leader of the “Women’s Office” for the Social Democratic Party, Clara Zetkin, introduced the idea of an International Women’s Day. In front of 100 women from 17 different countries, she proposed that there be one, the same day of celebration held globally for the recognition of women.

IWD was originated in 1911 in America, Austria, Denmark, Germany, and Switzerland on March 25. By 1913/14 it had begun to spread to more countries such as Russia and the UK amidst World War 1.

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Fast-forwarding to the year 2000 and the term “feminism” was radically uncool in popular culture. Despite lingering inequality, people didn’t seem that bothered: an IWD revival was paramount! Thankfully the site internationalwomensday.com was launched and with the help of charities like the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts and Catalyst Inc, IWD’s profile was once again on the incline. Phew!

IWD is now celebrated in all over the world, in countries such as Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, China (for women only), Cuba, Georgia, Guinea-Bissau, Eritrea, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Madagascar (for women only), Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Nepal (for women only), Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vietnam and Zambia.

Women may have more rights generally speaking, but they are still falling behind in paychecks, health, and education, whilst being victim to a higher level of violence globally.

  • Women of minority communities are experiencing significantly higher levels of oppression than white women.
  • Inclusive visibility and equality is still a massive issue in many respects.
  • Trans, non-binary people and sex workers are still fighting for basic equal work and living rights.
  • Members of the LGBTQ community still face terrifying levels of persecution.

This fight is nowhere near over yet.

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#BalanceForBetter in Sexuality

2019 is has been acclaimed as the Year of Female Sexual Pleasure and we’re on board with this mission to close, delete and forget the orgasm gap one step at a time.

There are a couple of different types of orgasm gaps, and we’ll start with the widest one: The gap between men and women in heterosexual partnered sex.

  • In one study examining about 800 college students, a 52% orgasm gap was found. 39% of women said that they usually or always experienced orgasm in partnered sex vs 91% of the men. In the same study, 39% of women said they always orgasm during masturbation vs 6% who said they always orgasm during sex with a partner.
  • Another study examined 15,000 college students and found that the orgasm gap is larger in casual sex than in relationship sex – no surprise there. Still, the same study concluded that there is still a 17% gap in committed relationship sex.
  • Similar statistics were found in a survey of about 3,000 single women and men in the U.S. ranging from 21 to 65+ years: When having sex with a familiar partner, women said they orgasm 63% of the time vs the lucky menfolk enjoying orgasms 85% of the time.

It would be unfair to blame the orgasm gap solely on the penis involved in hetero sex, as we’re all responsible for our own orgasms, but the fact is that penis-owners generally pop their corks easier and faster than women (and often fall asleep straight after).

Most clit-owners require clitoral stimulation in order to orgasm, so assuming that thrusting a penis back & forth will make a partner climax is a bit lazy, tbh. For a clitoris to climax, everyone involved in the pleasure-fest needs to be onboard with stimulation involving fingers, tongues, and/or toys.

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The orgasm gap between straight and lesbian women

It seems clear that lesbian sex offers a higher orgasmic quotient for participants, and we believe this to be down to the way lesbian couples enjoy sex. Rather than being focused on the end goal, the pleasure can easily stretch out over several hours until everyone is fully satisfied. Compare this to straight sex where penis-in-vagina tends to be the main focus, and it’s easy to understand why lesbian women come out on top.

By making sex pleasure-focused rather than end-goal-focused, orgasms gaps will soon start closing themselves.

Knowing your own body is the best and surest way of ensuring toe-curling orgasms, and if you want to celebrate the Year of Female Sexual Pleasure, we recommend taking charge of your “coming” by coming along to one of our Orgasmic! classes.

Our friendly sexperts will be on hand to share tried-and-thoroughly-tested tips & tricks for great orgasms, as well as talk guests through a variety of self-pleasure techniques – all whilst you sit back and relax with a glass of fizz and sweet treats!

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Knowing not only your own but also your partner’s body is crucial to pleasurable anal play. According to the 2009 National Survey of Sex and Behavior that polled nearly 2,000 adults (19 -59), women stated they climaxed 94% of the time when they were penetrated anally.

The fact that only 31 women responded to that aspect of the survey throws some shade over the stats but nevertheless, anal orgasms are a thing.

The anus and rectum are part of the sexual pleasure package, and stimulation of this area can have incredible results.

The clitoris is shaped like a wishbone, with legs (crura) and vestibular bulbs hidden under the outer genitals. For some peeps, the legs of the clitoris extend all the way down to the anus and during anal penetration, these legs are being stimulated.

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An anal orgasm is most likely brought on by the indirect stimulation of the internal clitoris and G-spot, but the A-spot located just under the cervix also enjoys stimulation through the delicate tissue that separates the vaginal canal from the rectum, and can produce intense orgasms. This takes time and care obvs; a butt-full of patience is essential, as is a large dollop of lube.

To help build your confidence and know-how on how to best pleasure this hidden jewel of an area, we’re introducing a class focusing on erotic anal play.  We’ll cover anatomy, advice, and hygiene, as well as highlighting the ins and outs of maximising the pleasure potential of pain-free anal penetration in the safest way for all parties. Between the Cheeks occurs on Wednesday 13 March at 6:30pm and is open to women & couples.


The anal play class mentioned above is currently SOLD OUT – but get in touch and let us know if you’d like us to schedule in another one soon!


Christian Grey and his Fifty Shades of Shadiness may have disappeared off of shelves, but kinky fuckery is here to stay.

Revel in your internal power; dominate or submit – but do it safely. Again, our super-team have put together a list of fave tips & tricks to create a sensual scene of power exchange for beginners.

The Bedroom Bondage class teachers cover safe use of fun paraphernalia such as cuffs, blindfolds and hot wax, and guests get an opportunity to try a couple of thwacks on willing bottoms too…

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You might feel that our popular Blow His Mind classes focus too much on The Big D for a mention on International Women’s Day, but bear with us.

Many – perhaps even most – of the women who come along to this class do so to build confidence. It’s often a case of “heading down south, popping it in and hoping for the best” but we can change that.

Giving a blow job can be one of the most empowering things you do in bed and whilst there is no right or wrong way of doing it, the Sh! sexperts teach a bagful of tricks that go down (arf!) so well that Time Out Magazine deemed it “high-end head.”

Classes at Sh! are raucous affairs and if you fancy building on your skills whilst catching up with friends, get a bunch of BFFs together and make the most of the group discount *wink*

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Whether you choose to celebrate the day by marching, dancing, rising, uniting, resisting or protesting; have a wonderful  International Women’s Day!

 

Woman-Gold-Glitter

My vagina is a penetration-free zone – here’s why…

Non-penetrative sex.

Yes, it exists. And it can be better than what you might think of as “normal” sex.

Your largest organ is your skin and that skin is packed with erogenous zones all over your body. From your armpit to your knee, arousal can be experienced through different types of stimulation, yet many of us grow up believing that getting busy centers around one action… We’re talking about penis in vagina sex, P-i-V.

The hetero-patriarchal society that typically grooms us has cultivated the belief that sex in its most basic sense involves penetration. Whether that be anal or vaginal, other forms of sexual activity are traditionally regarded as mere precursors to the grande finale. Like the Superhero blockbuster sequel you never asked for, this sequential narrative of a beginning, a middle and an end is anything but penetrating. We find it rather predictable.

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It’s not newsworthy that the majority of women struggle to orgasm through vaginal penetration alone, and without a toy. But who says that you have to have penetrative sex to seal the deal? Often, clitoral simulation provides a sure-fire way to reaching orgasmic peaks. This being the case as long as your mood, the ambiance in the room you’re in, and your overall state of relaxation are all cooperating.

There are many other ways to enjoy yourself once you drop these ideas of sex as a screenplay. Sexual activity is a whole playground of sensation that you can start, end or continue with at any lubed-up point you desire. Placing end goals on sex can do way more harm than good. It can prove exasperating for individuals who experience Vaginisimus or orgasmic/erectile difficulties, for example.

We like to call sexual activity “play” for a reason, and namely, that’s because it doesn’t need a lesson plan. “Play” doesn’t require an erect penis or a moist vaginal canal for it to be erotic and more-ish. “Play” is pleasure-focused and it doesn’t end just because someone had an orgasm – in fact,  sex lasts much longer because typically, everyone involved enjoys as many orgasms as they can handle.

For uterus owners – your vagina may be the most powerful thing you own, but don’t overlook your vulva. Your vulva is important. It deserves unwavering attention in the form of Caring, Loving, Intimate Tenderness (C-L-I-T).

Now, let’s be real. There is no better way to worship your clit than with a suction toy. In a new era of sexual pleasure, these toys are designed to simulate a sucking sensation. Add in a splash of lube and it’ll feel like someone’s lips are tending to your luscious front-garden. Whether you prefer the ultra deluxe Womanizer variety or the more affordable Satisfyer range, suction toys have the critics raving in a matter of minutes.

Zero penetration required.

A common myth we’ve noticed circulating is that penetrative sex is more intimate than other types of sex.

Who decided this?

How exactly did they measure it?

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Our sexperts have never personally whacked out measuring tapes to decipher this. Surely, someone who is keen and willing to smother your backdoor in smooches deserves some credit? A gold star, perhaps! Anything less and it’s surely a slap in the face?

But what is non-penetrative play and how do I do it with a partner?

Good question.

­Non-penetrative play can involve sensual massages, teasing touches and, of course, hours of oral play. You can spend days and days exploring each other’s bodies and getting to know what exactly makes your partner(s) tick. You can rub and grind on each other, kissing deeply, and don’t forget to go to town on breasts and nipples – those are awesome for playing with!

Turn it into a game with the help of one of ours, such as the Tease & Please Kinky Heart game. Take turns to pick out tasks that will leave you begging for more! Use your imagination and embrace exploration. Why not leave the bedroom and fool around in the bathroom, the kitchen, the hall? Buy an O Wand and you’ll forget penetration is even a thing!

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Plus, if you are a vagina-owner and you are self-conscious around the sheets when on your period, you can simply pop in a menstrual cup (see Mooncup or Fun Factory’s Fun Cup) and enjoy yourself stress-free. This is the perfect chance to introduce new, fun games into the mix. Focus your attentions on skin and sensitive areas, take turns to enact sexy activities on each other or role-play saucy fantasies. Invest in some handcuffs and restrain your partner to the bed or explore the art of rope-play…

Removing the pressure of putting one body part into another opens up a world of possibilities. It’s hot and erotic, and it’s likely to boost sexual satisfaction. Whether the reasons for saying ‘no, ta’  to penetration are long-term or short-term, there is only one thing to remember:

There are so many ways to explore your sexuality without ramming a plug in the socket.

What does it mean to be asexual?

What does it mean to be asexual?

Just like heterosexuality and homosexuality, asexuality is a sexual orientation. It’s where individuals do not experience any form of sexual attraction. In short, that’s really all there is to it! A person is not asexual because they choose to be celibate or abstinent, and not ‘because they haven’t found the right person’.  It’s not because they have a hormonal imbalance, or because their parts ‘don’t work’ – a persons’ sexual orientation is not a choice. Males, females and anyone in between can identify as being asexual, and those who are asexual come from all ethnicities, religions, body types and all walks of life!

It’s believed that 1% of the world’s population identifies with being asexual, and with billions of people living around the globe, it’s really not as uncommon as you might think. Asexuals often refer to themselves as ‘Aces’ for short, and have thriving communities online that offer friendship and support, while working to increase asexuality’s visability within the LGBT+ spectrum.

There’s no one way to be an Ace – Asexuality itself is an umbrella term with a broad variety of definitions within it. With so much fluidity, its easy to see why some may get confused or misinformed when it comes to the subject of asexuality. In this article, we’re going to smash two common myths associated with asexuality and talk about what it means to be an asexual individual.

Myth number 1: Asexual’s never have sex

Wrong! Although asexuals don’t experience any type of attraction, it doesn’t mean that they don’t experience intimacy. In fact, some asexuals are married with children of their own. Going on dates, having sex, falling in love and even orgasming are not opponents of asexuality. There are many reasons why an asexual might engage in these things, without any of them requiring sexual attraction to be present. It might be confusing to understand at first, but sexual attraction is not a necessity for pleasing a partner, being in a relationship or even experiencing physical arousal.

The spectrum of asexuality is as varied as that of heterosexuality or homosexuality, with some having intercourse, some masturbating and others that don’t. Some asexuals might use sex toys with their partner (who might not identify as asexual!), others feel the biggest sense of intimacy from sharing a nice cuddle and a slice of cake (cake is an enduring symbol in the asexual community because its ‘better than sex!’). As you can see, it’s a common but big misconception to say that every asexual has never experienced any form of sexual intimacy. ‘Some do, some don’t’ is a key term to remember when learning about asexuality.

Myth number 2: Asexual’s don’t have romantic relationships

Again, this is a massive misconception about asexuals. Many Ace people experience romantic attraction or an affectional orientation to others, and have fantastic relationships with their partners.

Like we mentioned before, because we normally associate romantic attraction with physical attraction, it can be a little difficult for some people to understand how someone can feel romantically attracted to someone without feeling the urge to jump into bed with them – but for many asexuals, this is the case.

Many asexuals also identify with other labels within the asexuality umbrella. These often help define how the individual responds to romantic relationships, and a sexual identity within the orientation of asexuality. Basically – a person can be asexual and still identify as straight (‘heteroromantic’) or gay (‘homoromantic’) or even ‘aromantic’ – this is a lack of romantic attraction towards anyone.

As well as this, people can also identify as ‘gray-A’ – meaning they see themselves as somewhere in the ‘gray area’ between being aromantic and non-aromantic, or between a-sexuality and sexual attraction.

There are a many more definitive terms within the asexuality umbrella. Essentially, a lot of the definition comes down to the individual themselves. It can be as simple or complex as one wants. Some find it important, others do not – all are valid and acceptable.

So, how would you know if you were asexual? As the asexual spectrum is so broad, knowing if this is your sexual orientation can be tricky. Plus – add into the mix that some periods of asexuality can be long-term or transient – this can make it even more difficult to work out!

Here are some of the more common feelings that asexual individuals have to help guide your thoughts:

  • Do you feel disinterest in sex most of the time?
  • Is your interest in sex more emotional than physical?
  • Do you ever feel left out of the conversation when friends are talking about sex and feel you have nothing to contribute?
  • If you’ve had sex, did you find the experience boring and not the amazing act it was made out to be?
  • Have you ever pretended to be attracted to someone because you thought it was the ‘normal’ thing to do?
  • Do you feel inadequate or abnormal because you don’t experience sexual desire while your friends do?

If you’ve answered yes to the questions above, then there’s a chance that you could be asexual and that’s perfectly normal and ok. Know that you’re not alone – try reaching out to an online community where you’ll quickly meet others like yourself. Enjoy that cake!

Aphrodite yoga launch party

Jay Diamond Presents: Aphrodite Yoga Launch Party

Join Jay Diamond for the exclusive launch of Aphrodite Yoga held at Pineapple Dance Studios in Central London.

What is Aphrodite Yoga?

Aphrodite yoga is a blend of traditional Tantra yoga and ancient spiritual sexual techniques to enhance pleasure, feminine confidence orgasmic experience.

What Should I Expect?

In this hour-long class guests will:

  • Discover and strengthen orgasmic energy to skyrocket pleasure
  • Become a magnetic and attractive force of feminine energy
  • Clear fear & insecurity around sexuality, fertility & body
  • Develop sensuality to increase confidence
  • Reduce stress & have more fun
  • Open hearts to attract more love
  • Bring passion back in to life & relationship

All in a non-judgemental environment, held in a safe container to explore, soar + roar! (With a good soundtrack, too!)

When Is It?

Date: Saturday 10th February 2018

Time: 5-6.30pm

Where: Pineapple Dance Studios

Tickets: Get your ticket to Aphrodite Yoga Launch Party here

This special class is limited to only 15 Aphrodite’s, so don’t miss your place.

Tickets are £25 per person.

Each guest will receive a small but thrilling gift from Sh!

There will also be post class bubbles and canapes at a local for the special femme fatales’ who attend the launch.

Who Is Jay Diamond?

Jay Diamond BSc (Psychology & Sociology) is a shamanic, tantric, yogini with 19 years experience as a healer and believes Sex & Spirit belong together.

jay diamondShe has appeared in Mind, Body Green, Spirit & Destiny, Elephant Journal & Kindred Spirit Magazine and helps people have juicier relationships, a more orgasmic life, and soul level success. Her mentoring, online courses, classes, and motivational talks help people break chains of the past and make the rest of their life, the best of their life – by standing on top of their story, not underneath it.

She assists many men and women in overcoming anxiety, shame and sexual assault to claim blissful body love, solid self-confidence and feel sexier than ever!

 

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Top 3 Sex Trends in 2017

The world of sex is one that is always evolving, and we are always excited to discover new toys (often), new positions (less often) and all sorts of excellent tips & tricks for getting off.

Sex may not seem like something that should be ‘trendy’ but much like the latest pubic hair style (fluffy, if you’re asking – it’s cold!) or knickers (tummy-hugging – still cold!), different types of sex goes in and out of fashion.

2017 has been a particularly juicy year for sexual discovery, but we have managed to narrow it down to three major trends during 2017 – check it out:

Men Enjoy Anal Stimulation

Going by what our customers are asking about, it seems to us that men are becoming more open to the idea of having their back entrances played with.

However, when journalist and all-round badass Violet Fenn recently wrote an article about pegging, readers of Metro were quick to shut down the notion that the prostate gland could indeed be a pleasurable body part, with one reader suggesting Ms Fenn should be sacked for such an outrageous suggestion. We, of course, salute Violet & Metro for their ballsy approach – and not just coz we’re in the article! :p

‘Pegging’ is a term that has been used for some years now, originating in the U.S (take that, Mr President!), and it has slowly made its way over here. By definition, pegging is when a woman wears a strap-on and anally penetrates her partner with the dildo. It may not be for everyone, but we can reveal that more couples than ever are getting their rocks off this way.

Our Vibrating Strap On Dildo Kit (below) has everything you need to get started, so why not see the year out with a bang and try something new?

Best Pegging Dildo Set

Suction Sex Toys Are Blowing Minds

You might have read the word suction and have been instantly put off, but bear with us:  these marvellous air tech toys have been true showstoppers in the world of sex toys of 2017.

Suction sex toys feature a small, round-ish silicone tip that nestles around the clitoris, creating a rumbling effect with vacuum-style suction for quick, high-intensity orgasms. With 8000 nerve-endings at the very tip of the clit, these toys offer incredibly pleasurable stimulation and are very reliable for banging orgasms.

We sent a member of staff home with a couple of different designs, as we wanted an unbiased comparison between market-leaders Womanizer and Satisfyer Pro (it’s a hard job, but someone gotta do it!). Read her post on the differences between the Womanizer vs Satisfyer Pro here.

If you’re looking for something slightly smaller and cuter looking, we recommend taking a look at Satisfyer Pro Penguin Clitoral Suction Toy below.

satisfyer-penguin-clitoral-stmulator

Beyond the Binary

‘They’ are becoming more common as ‘her’ or ‘him’ doesn’t feel right for everyone, and is often seen on social media profiles to ensure correct pronoun be used. It will take a while yet, but maybe it’s time to introduce a specific word like the Swedish “hen” (which fits in nicely with hon/her and han/him).

A large portion of our shop customers identifies as queer in its newer meaning (it has evolved from ‘gay’ or ‘lesbian’ to encompass a wider reference of gender and/or sexuality) and we expect this group will continue to grow.

The term ‘pansexuality’ has been used a lot this year and it seems we are reaching a point where more people feel comfortable being attracted to a person regardless of their gender. We realise this could be a result of cosmopolitan living and it may not be the case where you live; input from non-Londoners would be interesting.

We have always been big advocates of fluid sexuality and we’re embracing this new wave of acceptance and exploration of gender. Let’s hope there is plenty more in store for 2018!

 

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Sarah Adelphiniti logo

Loving with the Lights On: Sarah Adefehinti

Join Sarah Adefehinti on a journey of self-discovery, as we explore the importance of self-love.

Loving with the Lights On uses questions to help us open our mind and make the first steps towards creating more truthful, deeper connections. Every session starts with a short meditation to help us shift the focus back to ourselves.

In this session, you will be guided through a ‘self-love MOT’, create your own ‘self-care pyramid’ (filled with your self care essentials) and engage in a confidence building exercise to finish.

This particular workshop is only for people who identify as women and AFAB non-binary people. It’s suitable for anyone who’s willing to learn more about themselves, regardless of relationship status.
All language used will be gender neutral and inclusive of all sexual orientations.

Bring a notebook, bring a pen, bring your friends!

Sharing is optional in all activities – the focus is mostly on self-reflection, and respecting boundaries is the number 1 priority.

Date: Monday 3rd July, 6:30pm

Address: Sh! 57 Hoxton Square, London N1 6PB

Price: FREE

Book your space here: Eventbrite

Spaces are limited so we advise booking early to avid disappointment.

If you have any questions, please contact Sarah directly:
sarahadecoaching@gmail.com


About Sarah Adefehinti:

Sarah is a self-love & relationship coach. They see self-love as an essential prerequisite of loving others, as we can only give out love if it’s within ourselves first.

Sarah believes that great sex & relationships education can lead to better, more meaningful interactions in everyday life with more empathy, truth and better listening; all of which can contribute to a more peaceful world – therefore, they are committed to bringing this knowledge to others through thought-provoking workshops and 1 on 1 sessions.”

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.

sh-magic-wand.1

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

painful-sex

Q&A: Did sex hurt because I’m not attracted enough to men?

I recently lost my virginity to a guy that I absolutely trust and am very attracted to. He was able to make me cum using his hands, but sex was incredibly painful for me. He isn’t particularly big but I’m pretty sure he caused some tearing as well (I bled a lot, although I think I started my period at same time). I was sore so we left it and recently tried again and it still hurt, perhaps marginally less but still far too much for me to continue.

I’ve heard that even your first time doesn’t have to hurt if you’re properly aroused and unarousal was the only explanation I could think of, but I enjoy everything else he does. I’m bisexual so perhaps it’s possible my attraction for men isn’t strong enough to be sexual? There’s also the fact I have never inserted anything besides tampons and in fact being fingered hurt first time round. 

So I want to know: is it normal for it to hurt or should I be worried, and what can I do to stop the pain?

 

Hey there,

Many thanks for your email.  We’re sorry to hear your first time was so painful but it’s not uncommon. Painful sex is never fun and can put people off for a long, long time.

First of all we’d recommend booking a check up to make sure all is well on the inside of the vagina. There could be a number of reasons for the pain,  and it’s always best to have it checked out. It’s not impossible that you have a vaginal infection that may require antibiotics, for example. Or Endometriosis which is a common condition that causes pain during and after sex. There is another condition called Vaginismus that causes pain when penetration is attempted. But – the good news is that most conditions causing painful sex are treatable.

Sh! Paraben-Free LubricantSecondly, did you use lube? We always recommend generous amounts of lube for all sex play. There is always the possibility that your vaginal membranes were dry, especially if you felt nervous for your first time. Other factors such as dehydration caused by alcohol, medication or tiredness are very common and these can all  make penetrative sex uncomfortable.

Positioning can make a whole world of difference. It might be an idea for you to be in control of penetration, when you decide to give sex another go. Being on top means that you can stop if it begins to feel uncomfortable at all.

We can’t comment on whether or not you felt aroused at the time – only you know that. It could be that you didn’t feel turned on because there was no chemistry with the guy or it could be that you didn’t feel aroused, or lost your desire exactly because it was painful!

The good news is that sex usually gets much better with time so you have lots of exciting experiences to look forward to!

Love, Team Sh! xx

 

 

Greta Garbo

Bi Visibility Day: Let’s talk about some interesting Bisexual people

So this Bi Visibility Day we decided to go the obvious root and about some visible bi-people.

There are plenty of great lists out there of current celebs talking about their bi status and refuting myths about bi sexuality. So for a slightly different angle, we’ve gone with some more historical characters. Obviously this is a very incomplete list but we’d love to hear your best additions in the comments.

Sound interesting? Great! Let’s get started:

Shakespeare

Shakespeare

People love to speculate about Shakespeare’s private life, because we know nothing and that makes it more fun. However, in his sonnets it seems pretty clear that he’s bixsexual. The first 126 sonnets are addressed to a young man; the last 28 to a woman. They are known, respectively, as the Fair Lord and the Dark Lady sequences. A nice example is Sonnet 20:

A woman’s face with Nature’s own hand painted
Hast thou, the master-mistress of my passion;
A woman’s gentle heart, but not acquainted
With shifting change, as is false women’s fashion;
An eye more bright than theirs, less false in rolling,
Gilding the object whereupon it gazeth;
A man in hue, all “hues” in his controlling,
Which steals men’s eyes and women’s souls amazeth.
And for a woman wert thou first created;
Till Nature, as she wrought thee, fell a-doting,
And by addition me of thee defeated,
By adding one thing to my purpose nothing.
But since she prick’d thee out for women’s pleasure,
Mine be thy love and thy love’s use their treasure.

There’s a little appalling sexism, but ignore that and it’s a nice love poem from one man to another.

Daphne Du Maurier

We said there might be a bit of a literary theme. Have you read Rebecca and Jamaica Inn? How about The Doll a rather gothic short story about a woman who becomes obsessed with a mechanical male sex doll?

Anyway, the point is that although she was married she appears to have had an affair with Gertrude Lawrence, an actress and singer about whom she said the following, ‘To be blatantly vulgar, anyone with a spice of imagination would prefer a divan with Gertrude to a double-bed with her.’  She was also said to be attracted to Ellen Doubleday the wife of her American publisher.

Greta Garbo

Greta Garbo

Greta Garbo never married and had relationships with men and women throughout her life. Her most famous relationship was with her co-star John Gilbert who asked her to marry him several times.

She was a friend and possible lover of the writer Mercedes de Acosta who was known for her out and proud sexuality. Additionally, the silent film actress Louise Brooks stated that she and Garbo had a brief liaison and there were several other rumored affairs.

1930 Garbo wrote to her friend Mimi Pollak, another actress, “We cannot help our nature, as God has created it. But I have always thought you and I belonged together” Darn if that isn’t a cute quote.

Lord Byron

Is this surprising? Is this not surprising?

Though Byron was known in his time for being openly sexual and having many relationships with women that caused more or less scandal (one of his lovers, Lady Caroline Lamb, famously described him as ‘Mad, bad and dangerous to know’ and he was alleged to have had an affair with his half sister) his bisexuality was not understood and even now is often overlooked. He enjoyed relationships with young men at Harrow and Cambridge,  he experienced a “violent, though pure, love and passion” for John Edleston, a choirboy at Trinity who was two years younger than him. During his travels he became attached to Nicolo Giraud, a young French-Greek man who had been a painters model and to whom he left £7000 in his will.

 

Hans Christen Anderson Hans Christen Andersen Statue

Get ready for a real sad story here. You know how the Hans Christen Anderson version of The Little Mermaid ends with said mermaid jumping off the side of a ship after being spurned by her true love?

You didn’t? Well sorry, go watch the Disney version and try and pretend like we never told you that.

Those of you remaining, this story is about to get a bunch more depressing. That story was written in response to the marriage of Edvard Collin, the straight guy Hans Christen Andersen was in love with. He also had a habit of falling for unobtainable women and in his private writings he wrote about his refusal to have sexual relations. When he died a pouch containing a letter from his first (unrequited) love was found on his chest.

Life is not always a fairy tale :/

Let us end on a more cheerful note with some words from the wonderful Evan Rachel Wood. In an interview she stated that bixsexuality is, “a big part of who I am, and it always has been for as long as I can remember. …I’ve honestly fallen in love with a man and I’ve honestly fallen in love with a woman. …I don’t know how you label that, it’s just how it is.”

 

Sex After Gender Reassignment – Guest Blog

Sex After Gender Reassignment – Guest Blog

Susie Tomlinson writes about post-op self-discovery in this great guest blog.

“So, have you had the big O yet?”

My surgeon looks enquiringly at me almost 10 weeks to the day since  carrying out my gender confirmation surgery. Proudly (and not a little bit relieved) I nod: it’s taken a bit of getting there but I did manage my first orgasm a few weeks ago. Phew!

One of the great taboo questions about gender transition is, will I
still be able to have sex? As transgender women we’re told by our peers the merest mention in psychological assessments puts our transition at risk, lest the spectre of autogynephilia raise its head (“a man’s paraphilic tendency to be sexually aroused by the thought of himself as a woman”). Still the questions remain, whispered furtively like we’re in the corner of a playground full of adolescents: Will I be able to orgasm? Can I still make love to my partner? Will I taste right? Can I self-lubricate?

The answers are uncertain: like a box of fanny-shaped chocolates, you never quite know what you’re gonna get.

 

Every single one of our bodies is different even before you factor in any techniques used in vaginoplasty, and my experiences here are no exception. Answers from medical professionals are hand-wavy at best and rarely serve to calm.

Still, in November 2015 I underwent my operation at Brighton Gender Clinic, and am pleased to report at least in my case there’s a sex life post-transition! Hurrah! Much relief! So here’s some insight on what happened afterwards…

Biologically the operation involves a substantial amount of reuse: parts of the penis and testes are ‘harvested’ to make new areas. We are told to dilate twice a day using 8″ long transparent perspex dildos to prevent the pelvic floor healing. Post-operative notes detail the technicalities of aftercare, and it’s all very clinical. Yet there’s
still a fun side: new parts, new sensations, oh my!

Encouraged to discover what my new undercarriage was capable of, a couple of weeks post-op I cautiously began to explore. The nerve
endings around the neoclitoris are a fraction of those found on
cisgender women but I found a variety of sensations from the word go, with total inconsistency: some days nothing, some days unbearably sensitive. Things took a long time to get going using just my fingers and I needed to be in exactly the right mood – getting horny is a bit tricky when you can’t quite identify what parts are making you feel good and where those feelings are coming from!

In true science-fair style, further experimentation was warranted based upon previous findings. I own a small toybox from pre-transition and discovered things with ridges really hurt and my tight pelvic floor prohibited anything larger than an inch in diameter. My clitoris was very, very sensitive – uncomfortably so but possible to get my rocks off with a small bullet vibe.

Silicone was a definite win, a splendid alternative to the solid clinical feeling of a surgical dilator but not too sharp or blunt – a fine balance. Using a personal lubricant was essential as for the first six months there was no moisture at all.desire-vibrator

Eager to supplement ‘me-time’ with something else and thanks to a review in DIVA Magazine, I was introduced to Sh! Womenstore  and bought a Desire.

 

This unintimidating toy ticked so many boxes – smooth, gentle curves, waterproof, rechargeable, a variety of speed settings, and solid enough without being too hard or soft so could occasionally be used in place of a dilator. Actually, I’d tip this as being the ideal post-op playtime toy! Personally I prefer a more intense vibration and found the Desire a little too gentle in that regard, but in combination with a bullet vibe reached my destination quite satisfactorily, thank you very much.

As time went on and my body healed, I discovered a capability to
self-lubricate when turned on. Well, I say I discovered it, my
girlfriend did as she whispered to me one lazy Saturday morning,

“Suze, I thought you didn’t get wet?”

Idle research led me to discovering Cowper’s Gland, previously responsible for carrier fluid and unbeknownst
to me, repurposed. Clever body reconfiguring itself!

The Desire triggered another revelation: while cisgender male g-spots are in a different place (back) to cisgender women (front), some sensitivity continues to develop where I’d have expected the female g-spot to be sited. It does feel as though my body is remapping itself on a continual basis. Oh, and my girlfriend reported that yeah, I taste just fine…

Lelo NoaSix months down the line what’s in my toybox?

My favourite investment so far has been a Lelo Noa.

 

Designed as a toy for couples the hook-on mechanism is absolutely perfect and hits exactly the right area at the top giving my fingers free reign, while applying the pressure. Damn fine right up until the point it shuts itself down, so remember to stick that battery on charge!

The Desire is used fairly regularly as well as the bullet vibes.
Anything with an uneven surface or ridges is definitely out though
because of the sensitivity as the skin heals – vulva can be quite thin
in places so I need to be careful. Occasionally I give it another go,
but the key word here is ‘smooth’.

The second key word is of course, ‘exploration’ – it’s my body and it’s
awesome, time we became reacquainted!

Susie Tomlinson is a post-op transgender lesbian and happy toybox
owner. She lives in Yorkshire, and it’s probably best not to disturb her on a Saturday morning when the girlfriend’s stopping over.

Sh! is very grateful to her for sharing her experiences.