Safe Sex 101

Safe Sex 101

Safe Sex 101 (Caring For Your Toys)

Here we are focusing on safer sex with your sex toys, along with some basic safety tips while using them. 

First, we recommend washing your toys (vibrators and dildos) before and after each use. You never know what sorts of things have made your toys their home. If washing isn’t your thing, you can always use a condom on them. Also, if you will be using condoms on your toys, remember to change them each time you share them, either from vagina to anus or to your partner. 

We would also like to recommend using a water based lubricant while playing with your toys. Most sex toys tend to be dry or almost sticky to the touch, making them not very comfortable to use. Using a lubricant helps them to go in easier and making the experience all that more pleasurable. 

Most of the vibrators we sell have a disclaimer “Never use on unexplained calf pain”. What exactly does that mean you ask? The pain could be caused by a blood clot, when using a vibrator on it you could end up loosening the clot causing serious heart damage and possibly death. It’s a good idea to consult with your physician if you have unexplained calf pain. 

When using anal toys you should always make sure that they have a flared base or something to hold on to, as you really don’t want to have anything sucked up out of reach. 

You should never use a penis ring for longer than thirty minutes at a time. Wearing one for longer will cut off your circulation and could cause bruising. 

Some people confuse ben wa balls with anal beads. It is really important not to confuse the two. Ben wa balls should never be inserted anally as they could easily go out of reach. Ben wa balls tend to be a lot larger than anal beads and usually only have two balls attached to a string. Anal beads have much smaller balls (usually 4 balls) and are attached to a string. 

Playing with nipple clamps can be fun, however, women with cystic breasts or silicone implants should be careful. It is also a good idea to not wear them for longer than thirty minutes at one time. 

When using an oil based product as a lubricant or for a massage we recommend not using any petroleum based products (i.e. Vaseline). They tend to be difficult to wash away and therefore become a great place for bacteria to grow. As well, they should not be used when using any latex products (i.e. dildos, condoms, gloves and dental dams), as they do not interact well with latex and cause it to break down

General Maintenance For Your Toys

General Information 

It is advisable to wash your toy(s) before the first use and after each subsequent use. If you are sharing your toy(s), use a condom with it to protect yourself, and your partner(s) from sexually transmitted diseases. 

If using a lubricant with your toy(s), use only water based lubricants. Never use an oil based product (such as petroleum jelly or baby oil) as it will break down the material of the toy.

Your Battery Operated Vibrator

Vibrators and vibrator sleeves can be washed with warm water and mild soap. 

To preserve the life of your batteries and to prevent leakage and corrosion of the motor, remove the batteries when the vibrator is not in use. 

NOTE: Never use a vibrator on unexplained calf pain. 

Condoms 

Condoms are available in a variety of styles, textures and colors. They can be lubricated, (regular or spermicidal) or non lubricated. Condoms are worn on the penis to prevent the exchange of bodily fluids. They can also be used on toys if they are being shared by partners or just for easier clean-up. Condoms are available in latex, lambskin membrane or polyurethane.

How To Choose The Right Condom For You 

Condoms differ in a number of ways. You may want to try several different brands to find the ones you’ll like best. 

Material: Use latex or polyurethane condoms for protection from sexually transmitted diseases. Condoms made from natural intestines, commonly called ‘skins’ or ‘lambskins’, are not recommended for disease protection. 

Lubrication: Lubricated condoms are less likely to break because they are lubricated. A number of condom brands have nonoyxnol-9, a spermicide (sperm killing chemical), in the lubricant. 

Size & Shape: Most condoms are 7 to 7 1/2 inches long, but several brands are longer then average. While most condoms have straight sides, some have wider head room and others are form fitting. A reservoir tip makes condoms less likely to break.

Smell/Taste: Condoms may have a very strong rubber smell, or almost no smell at all. People who use condoms for oral sex usually prefer condoms without spermicide, because it has a bitter taste. 

Anal Toys 

Anal toys include dildos and butt plugs, beads, and vibrators. The anal beads are made of soft latex or hard plastic and come in an assortment of sizes and colors. Butt plugs usually refer to a specific “plug” shaped toy but that shouldn’t limit your choice. You can use any size and shape of dildo that your anus will accommodate – just be sure it has a flared base for easy removal. We do recommend that you select soft and flexible toys for anal penetration and use lots of lubricant. 

Dildos 

Dildos are available in a variety of materials: latex, jelly (latex), silicone and acrylic plastic. They come in an assortment of shapes, sizes and colors. Most flared base dildos are compatible with universal harnesses. Dildos are designed for vaginal and/or anal insertion. Toys used anally should have a flared base for safe and easy removal. 

Latex Dildos can be washed with warm water and mild soap (avoid harsh detergents). To dry, blot gently with a soft towel or allow to air dry. Do not rub or lay against sharp objects, abrasives or printed surfaces. Store in a protective plastic bag in a cool dark place. 

Silicone dildos can be boiled in water for up to five minutes or placed on the top rack of the dishwasher. They can also be washed with warm water and a mild soap. To dry, blot gently with a soft towel, or allow to air dry. Do not rub or lay against sharp objects, abrasives or printed surfaces. Store in a protective plastic bag in a cool dark place.

Vibrators 

Vibrators are available in a variety of materials: hard plastic, jelly latex, latex, and silicone. They come in an assortment of sizes, shapes, colors, and textures. They are motorized and can either be plugged into an electric socket or powered by batteries. Vibrators can be used anywhere on the body for extra stimulation. Most are designed to be used vaginally and/or anally. It is important that vibrators used anally be flexible so they can bend with the natural curve of the body. 

Harnesses 

Harnesses are available in a variety of materials: leather, vinyl, rubber and synthetic fabric. They are adjustable and will fit most body sizes. The primary use of a harness is to hold a dildo in place (some will hold as many as three dildos). Both men and women can wear harnesses.

 

More sex is the secret to a longer, healthier life

 There is an anti-aging, immune-boosting, stress-reducing, mood-enhancing and hormone- balancing secret out there—and it’s not just for the stars! It’s sex. Did you know that having regular sex will give you a host of physiological and psychological benefits? Here’s why:

1. It’s a natural pain reliever: Sex causes increased production of oxytocin, which is often referred to as the “love hormone”.  Before orgasm, oxytocin, released from the brain, surges up to five times the normal level. This increase then leads to the release of endorphins, our natural pain-killing hormones. The area of the brain involved in pain reduction is highly activated during arousal and endorphins are released; endorphins soothe nerve impulses that cause menstrual cramps, migraines or joint pain. Doesn’t this provide the perfect comeback to the old “not tonight honey, I have a headache”? Oxytocin also affects the way we feel, helping us form strong emotional bonds as well as reduce pain. According to a study by Beverly Whipple, professor emeritus at Rutgers University and a famed sexologist and author, when women have an orgasm, pain tolerance threshold and pain detection threshold increases significantly, by up to 74.6 percent and 106.7 percent respectively.  

2. It’s a stress reliever: The endorphins released during sexual intercourse and orgasms are natural mood-boosters and stress relievers. Regular sex can also boost your self-esteem and increase intimacy between partners. For those in a monogamous relationship, studies have found that semen does contain several mood-altering hormones that can reduce depression, testosterone, oestrogen, follicle-stimulating hormone, luteinizing hormone, prolactin and several different prostaglandins. Some of these changes have been detected in a women’s blood within hours of exposure to semen.

3. It boosts immunity: Endorphins released during intimacy have been found to stimulate immune system cells that fight disease. Researchers have found higher levels of Immunoglobulin A in individuals who have regular sex. Immunoglobulin A is a type of antibody that helps to protect us from infections. It is normally found in high levels in the mucous membranes of the digestive and respiratory tracts.

4. It’s good for your heart: Intercourse, depending on your level of enthusiasm, can be considered aerobic exercise, burning up to 200 calories per session. Among other benefits, women who engage in regular sexual activity with their partners have higher levels of estrogen, which protects against heart disease. Research has found that men who have sex two times per week have fewer heart attacks than those who do not. The hormones released during sex cause an increase in blood pressure and heart rate, and it engages almost every muscle in the body. After sex, blood vessels dilate and blood pressure is then reduced. This change in blood vessel constriction may also help with tension headaches.

5. It turns back the clock: A 2002 report from a large British population of men said researchers found a 50 percent reduction in overall mortality in the group of men who said they had the most orgasms. The Journal of the American Medical Association has also reported that “high ejaculation frequency was related to decreased risk of total prostate cancer.” Having regular orgasms can increase your life span. Every time you reach orgasm, the hormone DHEA increases in response to sexual excitement and orgasm. DHEA can boost your immune system, improve cognition, keep skin healthy, and even work as an antidepressant. Therefore, the added health benefit is that you will feel—and look—younger, longer.

6. It gives you a glow: The glow of good sex is real. Women who have more sex have higher levels of estrogen, which is essential to enjoying healthier, smoother skin. This increase in estrogen also helps to protect us from heart disease, osteoporosis and Alzheimer’s disease. Not only that, but the more sex you have, the more your partner will want it; when we are more sexually active we give off more pheromones, the chemicals we produce to increase the interest of the opposite sex. It also promotes the production of collagen, which keeps the skin supple and gives you a healthy glow.
Still not feeling in the mood? If you notice a decrease in your libido, do not let it go unaddressed. Your sex drive is a basic human need—if you have no sex drive it is an indication of a hormonal imbalance. Relationship problems, depression, hormonal imbalance or stress can contribute to a lack of libido. Consider supplements to raise testosterone or reduce stress, such as those suggested in my three-step program for hormonal health and wellness outlined in The Hormone Diet. I also encourage you to see your doctor for proper assessment.

Natasha Turner, N.D. is a Toronto-based naturopathic doctor and founder of the Clear Medicine wellness boutique. She is also the author of the bestselling book The Hormone Diet.

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