Archive for 2010


According to two recent studies, millions of Americans use one or more sex toys. We’re talking vibrators, dildos and butt plugs, as well as blindfolds, handcuffs and nipple clamps. We’ll leave whips and leather underwear for another discussion.

Like all technology, sex toys are an extension of the body. They are hands, tongues and genitalia that are bigger and stronger, and never tire. They are tools that help us give pleasure to ourselves and to each other.

Sex toys can be equally great for partner sex and masturbation. Any sex that can be improved by something that probes, stimulates, squeezes or alters sensation can be enhanced by a sex toy.

Unfortunately, some would-be users are self-conscious about feeling they need assistance. Others are concerned that their partner will feel inadequate. But this is like feeling self-critical that you need a comfortable chair to enjoy a movie. Our shyness about using sex toys really expresses the shame we feel about admitting we’re sexual in a sex-negative culture.

It’s no illusion. Until recently, for example, most national magazines refused vibrator advertising &3151; including Ms. magazine. And only last year, the state of Alabama criminalized the production or sale of “sexual devices marketed primarily for the stimulation of human genitals.”

Why the controversy about a 5-inch battery-powered piece of buzzing plastic? Sex toys are about sexual pleasure, not about reproduction or romantic love (although many romantic, loving people and couples use them).

A vibrator or nipple clamp in your hand is the smoking gun of pleasure — you simply can’t deny that getting off is exactly what you have in mind.

So sex toys are a vehicle for sexual empowerment; for learning about our eroticism, for pleasuring ourselves, for encouraging our partners to feel things more deeply. They are, literally, the way we take our sexuality into our own hands. No wonder so many authorities frown on sex toys and make us hide them under the covers. Using a sex toy is, after all, a political act.

And it feels damn good, too.


  • Talk to your partner about your interest in sex toys. Make the conversation fun, not scary.
  • Remember, we use toys because we enjoy them, not because we “need to.”
  • To find a source for your sex toys, search the Web (there are dozens of choices).

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Category : Blog

Let’s talk positively about pornography

Last year, more than 500 million X-rated videos were rented in the United States. Unless this involves 500 perverts renting a million tapes each, porn consumers are a very, very large group. They are, in fact, us.Oprah, Jerry Springer, Ann Landers and self-appointed decency groups love to talk about the dangers of pornography: It warps your mind, destroys your marriage, steals your money and undermines America by turning regular people into dangerous animals.

Is this your experience?

There’s plenty to say about porn that isn’t being said. It’s fun. It makes masturbation hotter, heats you up for your partner, adds spice to a couple’s sex life, and makes many people feel more normal about their fantasies and preferences.

Perhaps most importantly, it validates a vision of sexual abundance and uninhibited playfulness. In porn-land, the actresses never say no, the actors never lose their erections, nobody’s ever too tired, angry, or nervous and the sex makes everybody smile.

A few fortunate people live like this. And some people explicitly reject such a world. The rest of us-the average Joe and Jane with kids, bills, bellies and sexual anxieties-desperately need a positive vision of sexuality. Men and women who have one need it validated; people who don’t need to get one.

It’s unfortunate that surgically enhanced actresses, improbable situations and silly dialogue are the main repository of the sex-positive narrative in this country. But it’s better than nothing.

Our culture is obsessed with narrowing people’s sexual options and compulsively repeating lies about sexual danger. Pornography is one of the few places the average person can go to behold positive, unapologetic eroticism.

When Washington, the Vatican, the TV networks, and the sexual disaster industry get together to provide a positive, loving picture of sexual abundance that will nourish people, “pornographic” excess will be left to cooking channels and home shopping networks. Until then, sexy videos, magazines and Victoria’s Secret will be a critical part of America’s mental health.

Don’t be ashamed of it.

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Category : Blog

Men! Some doctors think a wholesome, health-boosting, fitness-building bicycle should carry a Surgeon General’s warning: “Ride at your own risk.”

The hard seat where you rest your tender tissues has been related to erection problems, and urologists have case files to prove it.

The cause is simple: Compression on the perineum – the area between the anus and the genitals – damages blood vessels, thus affecting blood flow.

Take precautions, but recognize there are no easy answers and no surefire solution.

“I do warn people, but I don’t say you need to give up this healthy activity,” says Dr. Richard Lieberman, an Allentown, Penn., urologist who frequently treats bicycle-caused erectile dysfunction. “Anyone who’s strapped into an automobile knows a lot of things have risks.”

Still, the impact of cycling on sexual health is a serious issue, says Dr. Irwin Goldstein, a Boston University urologist who’s done two studies on the subject and is a champion of radical redesign of bicycles.

Goldstein, who’s performed penile implant surgeries on cyclists as young as 18, has documented that as many as 5 percent of male cyclists experience erectile dysfunction of some kind.

“I’m not anti-bicycle. I’m pro-common sense,” he says. “If any other product on the market caused this much harm, it would have been banned long ago.”

Cycling also been implicated in conditions such as clitoral neuropathy (numbness), says Goldstein.

He is unimpressed by new designs of bicycles and bicycle seats. Goldstein’s ideal two-wheeler has a seat like a toilet seat and no metal bar in front.

But professionals disagree on this point. Lieberman says current designs are probably an improvement if people find them more comfortable.

Both doctors say these new products should undergo rigorous scientific testing — including measuring the blood flow of avid cyclists.

Terry Precision Cycling, which has five seats for men and six seats for women, has sold about 130,000 of its Liberator models since 1992. The most common design sports a 2-inch hole in the middle of the seat, intended to eliminate pressure on the perineum.

“Our intent was not to make a saddle that purports to cure impotence,” said Paula Dyba, vice president of marketing. “We don’t want to make medical claims. But we know we are making cyclists more comfortable. When we get letters from people saying they don’t experience numbness anymore, we know it must be positive.”

According to Lieberman, the following cannot guarantee you won’t run into problems, but they are measures worth taking:

  • Get on and off your bicycle carefully and gently to ensure minimal impact to the perineum.
  • Try to minimize sudden impacts to the perineum.
  • Take particular care on mountain bikes, even though the dramatic jumps and bumps may be a large part of the fun.
  • Consider buying a special bicycle seat if it relieves numbness or other obvious problems.
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    Category : Blog
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