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When it Comes to Self-Lovin’ What’s Better: Lube or Lotion?

Hi Yana,

I recently saw a guy friend masturbating with lotion instead of lube and was wondering if lube would be a better alternative for him. If so, could you explain why?

— A Little Help for My  Masturbating Friends

One of my favorite conversations to strike up with my penis-equipped friends is: What ever did you do with your penis during your sexual exploration period? If I had had a penis during my teenaged sexual development ages, I’m sure I would’ve done so many ridiculous things with it in the name of sexual pleasure exploration. As it turns out, most of my penis-having friends did just that. I mean, an outy sexual organ that’s socially bolstered to boot? It just screams WHAT ELSE CAN I MASTURBATE WITH?

I’m not the only one who wonders about this. (And speaking of wondering, what exactly were you doing, Little Help, when you apparently just happened to see “a guy friend masturbating with lotion?” Also, kudos to you for having the where-with-all in that moment to hone in on the fact that he was using lotion?)

Anyway, my personal death-by-curiosity aside, here’s what a dude sex columnist for the LA Weekly advised in his creative penile masturbation piece: “Select a jar and fill it with stewed tomatoes, Spaghetti O’s, mac-n-cheese, cottage cheese, oatmeal or peanut butter. Cover the top with plastic wrap and a rubber band, cut a hole and you’re ready to go.”

My assumption is that if you can get down with Chef Boyardee, a little Aveeno is the least of your problems, but let’s make sure.

People have been slicking down their self-lovin’ with whatever they can get their dominant hand on forever. According to Scarleteen.com, the Vaseline brand of lotion was released in the 1870s as a “healing ointment.” Five years later, Vaseline noticed a significant spike in profits when people found out that this “healing” was of the Marvin Gaye persuasion.

In the early 1900s, Johnson & Johnson released the premier K-Y jelly product. It was intended for medical uses only and — fun fact! — the reason why K-Y dries up so damn fast is because it was intended to lube patients up for quick medical procedures. It took 80 long years for Johnson & Johnson to finally cave into their accidental consumer base and make sexual lubricants. K-Y is now (regrettably so) one of the biggest lube brands. (For more information about why I’m anti-KY, check out past column, “Life Beyond KY: The wide wet world of Lube.”)

Just because lotion isn’t lube, doesn’t mean it’s unsafe for your friend to jerk off with it. When it comes to penises, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander. Here, the goose is the skin on the inside of your arm and the gander is your peen. Meaning, the penis is made of external skin, just like our inner arm skin. So, what’s fine on one is usually fine on the other. The exception to this rule is that pesky urethra which is easily irritated — yikes! UTIs!

Good household item choices for your friend include: saliva, Vaseline, Crisco, butter, body lotion, olive oil, baby oil, and, apparently according to LA Weekly, a variety of canned and instant pantry items, which I am just not fully prepared to personally endorse…continue reading…

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How to Have a Discussion about Self Lovin’

Hi Yana,

I’m a 19-year-old male college student. I just started to masturbate, but I don’t know how other people will react if I get into a relationship with them and tell them about this. I would like to know how to be fully comfortable with pleasuring myself as well as see how to bring up masturbation in a relationship. Thank you!

— Seeking Masturbation without Hesitation

I’m reading your question in two different ways: the first is “How do I tell my partners that I just started masturbating at the later-than-average age of 19?” and the second interpretation is “How do I tell my partners that I’m into masturbating, generally?” So, I’m going to answer both.

First: Nothing is more varied than a person’s sexual timeline. The “typical” sexual timeline is dictated by a lot of assumptions — the biggest one being that you have or want to have penis-in-vagina penetrative sex. Others include how and where you were brought up, the kind of sex education you had access to, your moral or religious upbringing, and the health and ability of your physical body. All of these factors and more contribute to the freedom we feel to sexually explore ourselves and others.

This isn’t to say that the most free of us masturbate the earliest, but it is to say that not all sexual timelines suit all people. Part of keeping it consensual is also a self-practice: masturbating when it just doesn’t feel good mentally, physically, or both is not an enthusiastically-yes experience.

Part of your question seems to wonder how to get to an enthusiastic-yes solo-sex experience. The first step is to give yourself permission to head that way: this could mean undoing some negative messages from your sexual upbringing — reading some sex-positive books like The Multi-Orgasmic Man or The New Male Sexuality is a good start — or finding masturbatory materials that feel positive to you like ethical porn (see past columns on “Feminist Porn” and “Grass-Fed Porn”) or pleasure-positive erotica. Cleis Press publishes a great collection.

If it’s greater physical comfort you seek, try a nice, thick jacking-off lube like Boy Butter — not compatible for penetrative sex or latex — or Gun Oil, which is silicone-based. Or you could try a fun masturbation sleeve such as Tenga Eggs, which are cheap and disposable, or a Fleshlight, the notorious self-lovin’ toy for a heftier price tag.

Second: People love telling other people how to have their orgasms. And, very specifically, with whom to have them. And even more specifically, still, to have them in good company…continue reading…

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The V-Spot: The Fast and the Curious

Hi Yana,

Sometimes, when I’m in the mood to masturbate, I enjoy watching porn. The problem is when I do, it literally takes me no time to orgasm. Yesterday, I was feeling in the mood to enjoy myself. So, I started browsing some videos.

I barely started touching myself and felt the urge to orgasm in a matter of seconds. I stopped and tried to calm myself down, but it was too late. My body responded even without the stimulation

I’m a female in a heterosexual relationship. I don’t experience the crazy quick orgasm when we are intimate. Usually, there is an enjoyable build up to it. When I have this experience solo, it’s when I watch lesbian/solo female videos (which, I’ve always enjoyed).

So this raises a couple of questions:

Do you know why this might happen? Is it something in my brain chemistry due to the visual stimuli, that sets me off so quickly?

Is there a way to “fix” it? Sometimes, I really just want to experience and enjoy my body. Part of me feels like there is something wrong with me when it happens, and the other part of me hates the fact that I can’t enjoy the build up to the big O.

Sometimes I feel like this isn’t a “normal” occurrence. In your experience, have you ever helped or chatted with another female who experienced this?

— Quickie-on-the-Draw

Sex educator Barbara Carrellas can orgasm just from breathing. No touching. No porn. Just her, her breath, and her brain (watch her do it on barbaracarrellas.com). People get off from the feeling of fishnets, from the thought of their sweetie doin’ it with the milkman, from watching manicures smash into globs of silly putty (thanks, internet!). The erotic world is diverse. Weird. Kinky. Boring, even. It’s an amazing conglomerate of getting off how and where we can with whoever pushes our buttons and likes doing it (remember, always keep it consensual!).

The most normal thing about you, Quickie, is your underlying fear that your eroticism isn’t normal. If this fear weren’t so pervasive, I’d be out of a job (and happy for it!). But here we are — constantly worrying that the pre-packaged version of sexuality (hasn’t it expired yet?) should suit us just fine and if not then we’re to blame for being broken, perverted, or unfixable.

You know what kind of porn you like (and yes, it’s normal for folks to watch porn that doesn’t “match up” with their real life). You give yourself permission to watch it and enjoy it! You know how to get off both on your own and with your partner! All great things!

My casual collection of experiential knowledge shows that folks with vaginas orgasm anywhere from 30 seconds to 30 minutes after the start of first visual and/or physical stimuli. An orgasm is essentially mental/physical stimulation build-up leading to pleasurable, automatic pelvic muscle contractions…continue reading…

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My 2-Minute Orgasm

So, I was masturbating last night and set a timer. It took me under two minutes to orgasm. However, when someone else in involved, it takes forever or doesn’t happen at all. I can count the times it’s happened on two hands.

Every time I masturbate it’s like clockwork, and I wish I could experience that with a partner! I’ve heard from various ladies and witnessed firsthand that orgasming seems easier for them with partners than it is for me. Is this why some women fake orgasms? Is this something I need to see a psychiatrist about or just live with? Or is it some Kinsey situation where my vaginal measurements aren’t conducive to orgasming? Help!

— Clit Out of Luck

 

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, probably for the rest of my sex educator career: your vagina is not broken! It’s the metaphorical vaginal “user manual” we’re handed via school sex ed, social stigma, and our peers!

That manual is seriously flawed – it’s stained, ripped, even missing whole chapters. Our current sex education system pretends that our clitoral and/or vaginal orgasm is unimportant or non-existent. Our social system convinces our sexual partners that asking us outright how best to pleasure our clits and vaginas is not the sexy or slick or cool thing to do. Simultaneously, this same system shames us into not speaking up about our own desires or how exactly to do our bodies right.

Yes, these flawed systems are why some women fake orgasms. Yes, these systems have convinced you that you have to see a psychiatrist to “fix” yourself and/or smoosh yourself into an outdated concept of “ideal vaginal measurements,” a la Kinsey.

But you, COOL, are perfect! Your experience of sexual pleasure is perfect. Your two-minute self-curated climax is perfect.

So, if our formal and social sex educational systems are screwing it up so hard, who’s supposed to do the real educating about your orgasms to your partners, COOL?…continue reading…

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Husband Seeks Female-Friendly Sex Ed

Hi Yana,

My wife is interested in exploring her sexuality a little further — things she might be interested in trying, etc. — but is hoping to do so in a way that is female- and feminist-friendly. Do you have any suggestions for things she can do or read either individually or with me?

— Helpful Husband

Hello HH,

My favorite kind of husband is the one willing to lend a helping hand to his partner’s continued sexual exploration — especially when they’re flexible about their level of involvement!

Googling “sex” willy-nilly on the internet can get sticky to say the least. Before y’all surf the web, hit the books. Come As You Are by our very own local sexpert Emily Nagoski is the first thing to read. This is one of the most comprehensive, shame-reducing and normalizing books about sex I’ve read. Her helpful worksheets direct the reader through some great self-reflection and sexual explorations and can be done solo or with a partner (that’s you, HH!).

Other good readings include Mating in Captivity by my professional idol Esther Perel and O WOW: Discovering Your Ultimate Orgasm by Jenny Block.

Watching feminist porn either solo or with a partner is great sexploration fodder. Feminist porn isn’t that wam-bam-thank-you-whatever-your-name-was mainstream porn you find easily when you Google “porn.” Feminist porn is intentionally made for the non-male gaze, is often directed by women and queer people, features scenes co-created by the performers, and proudly displays real orgasms and consent practices. (Read my past column, Grass Fed Porn for more on feminist porn.)

Tristan Taormino directs great feminist-friendly sex educational porn she calls “expert guides” on topics that include female orgasms, the G-spot, oral sex, threesomes, and rough sex that blend smut and educational lecture for a real pleasurable learning experience.

Also, your truly humble sex columnist teaches a variety of workshops on topics such as the G-spot, kink, anal sex, non-monogamous relationships, and sex toys! You can find my upcoming workshops at yanatallonhicks.com.

Sexual shame can be a heavy shroud to lift for a lot of people — especially women, queer people and other folks who have not been granted the same social permission to talk about and explore their sexuality and experiences of sexual pleasure that straight men have enjoyed…continue reading…

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How Tech is Reshaping Male Masturbation // Mashable.com

“Let me assure you, babe. I’m absolutely ambidextrous when it comes to the touchpad mouse and keyboard on my computer. Being a right-handed masturbator means I’ve gotten very good at typing with my left hand.”

My boyfriend Patrick (31 years old, tattoo artist, handsome as hell) and I are driving to a dinner party. We’ve drifted into talking male maturbation, porn and technology as you do when you’re a curious sex writer without a penis of your own, with an hour-long drive to kill.

As someone who rarely watches porn when I masturbate, I ask him why he needs to do so much mousing and keyboarding when jerking off to Internet smut.

 

“Oh, you know, most guys go through this cycle of blow job, penetrative fucking, cum shot; blow-job, penetrative fucking, cum-shot. That way you hit all of the most high-intensity parts of the porn. But too much of that would probably be desensitizing to sex in real life,” he speculates, “because that’s not how real sex works”.

According to PornHub.com’s 2015 year-in-review, we’ve blown through 1,892 petabytes of bandwidth on the site this past year, equivalent to filling the storage on all of the iPhones sold in 2015 with porn. In 2015 we watched 4.4 billion hours of porn on PornHub.com alone. The U.S. was responsible for 41% of the XXX-rated site’s traffic this year, with women representing 23% of the site’s visitors and men 77%.

Free online porn has become so accessible that in October 2015, iconic porno mag Playboyannounced its no-more-nudity rebranding in an effort to stay relevant in the modern age of digital debauchery; “The political and sexual climate of 1953, the year Hugh Hefner introduced Playboyto the world, bears almost no resemblance to today,” said Playboy Enterprises CEO Scott Flanders.

In 2015, handheld devices brought in most of PornHub.com’s traffic, with 52.9% of visits coming from phones, 10.8% from tablets and only 36.3% from desktop computers. That means men aren’t just holding their penises while jerking off.

Ian Kerner, Ph.D, nationally recognized sexuality counselor, sex therapist and author, says technology-assisted self-love could be changing the physical action of how men masturbate. He calls it “opportunistic masturbation”: “Men no longer need to plan maturbation; an impulsive turn-on strikes and they can go masturbate with the aid of technology, pretty much wherever.”

 

As Patrick confirms, “I use technology 95% of the time I masturbate. My phone means that at any given time with the right amount of privacy I can have a nice, mind-clearing orgasm without having to conjure up that old stand-by mental image. [Writer’s note: Thanks, babe.] When I was young I could masturbate to an erotica story on the Internet or a Victoria’s Secret catalog because that’s what was around. But now, left to my own devices, I’ll scan through half a dozen to a dozen porn scenes before I actually orgasm.”

With hand-held devices, everything men need to jack off is readily available in the pockets and flies of their jeans, providing them with a hyper-stimulating cycle in short, high-impact sessions. As PornHub.com reports, the average visit to their site lasts just over nine minutes — far from the 30 minute average it takes most women to orgasm via direct stimulation and hardly enough time to light some candles before or snuggle after — a disconnect from partnered sexual experiences that could be causing more harm than good…continue reading on Mashable.com…

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Help! My Orgasms Went on Holiday

I’m a 28-year-old female with a high sex drive. I’ve always found it easy to come with clitoral stimulation. When my partner and I have sex it’s not unusual for it to last over an hour. My guy loves cunnilingus almost as much as I love getting it. I often lose count of the times I orgasm.

But for the last few months I haven’t been able to come. None of my favorite things work. It feels nice, but there are no fireworks. I’ve had some instances where it’s been uncomfortable to have sex, but I’ve put that down to lack of my own lubricant. If I do come it’s so intense it almost doesn’t feel good because I’m too sensitive. It kind of feels like all of my orgasms have joined forces instead of being spread out, but not in a good way.

I’m a bit stressed about work and things between my partner and me are good, but I’m even having trouble orgasming when I use my vibrator, which is unheard of. My partner is getting insecure, thinking I’m not into it anymore. I’m getting frustrated because I am into it, but my body won’t cooperate.

I could give you some CUMbaya advice about how sex is about enjoying the journey rather than the climactic destination, and I do believe this, but Ugh! Losing your orgasm sucks. It sounds like you and your boyfriend are, in fact, quite good at enjoying the journey most times. But suddenly, you find yourselves on this neverending, pleasant, yet frustrating, road trip down a sexually scenic route to Nogasmland. I’ve felt these frustrations when my orgasms have decided to take a little vacation without me. The good news is — they always come home and so will yours.

There are three big components that inform our sexual experiences: our bodies, our brains, and our context. Our best orgasmic experiences happen when all three are working together…continue reading…

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Getting What We Came For: How did that advice turn out?

If four years of writing a sex column have taught me anything, it’s that there’s nothing more important than honoring feedback from those you get down and dirty with. Well, and that masturbation is key. So, in keeping with best sex practices, I present you with some feel-good, masturbatory feedback from this year’s V-Spot question-askers:

“New Mom Needs to Get Some”

This article was so great. My husband finally got to read it tonight. You opened a great dialogue between the two of us tonight; so thank you.

“Hopin’ 2 Open”

Thanks! Your answer is both hard to read and, of course, what I should do. (Why is the right way usually the hard way?) I will refer back to your answer for a long time to come. Why don’t you live in NYC and why aren’t you licensed to practice sex therapy yet?! ‘Cause I’m sure we will need more guidance on the road to follow.

“Bi-Curious at Bedtime”

I really want to thank you for your wonderful advice in this week’s column.

I never felt comfortable telling [my boyfriend] about my girl-on-girl erotic dreams or attractions before because I didn’t want him to feel uncomfortable about it. I was just afraid how he’d react or if he would think differently of me. I’ve felt attracted to females and have been experiencing erotic dreams like this long before I met him. So, I always felt like I was keeping a secret about my sexuality from him.

Your column inspired me to finally have that conversation with him. I feel better knowing that he knows. I just felt weird about having pretty regular dream sex with ladies while he thinks I’m only attracted to men. It felt dishonest.

I guess I don’t really know if I’m straight or not and I haven’t for awhile. But it’s okay because now I feel like I have the freedom to figure it out and talk openly about it with my partner, who means so much to me. If not for your column and advice surrounding this topic, I don’t think I ever would have told him. Thank you for that, Yana. I feel like I’m being more honest with myself and my partner.

“My Married Sex Life, For Better or Worse”

Thank you for your advice. We definitely had one of those first date kind of talks about this tonight. Ha! Thanks again!…continue reading…

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Help! I Think My Orgasms Are Broken!

I’ve had a sexual concern for the longest time: I have trouble feeling orgasm during sex and masturbation. At first I thought it might be my partner not knowing my spots too well, but I realized I’ve never had any ejaculations by myself either. I’m worried that my body isn’t sensitive enough to feel orgasm and that’s why I can’t be sexually satisfied.

My summer beach book has been Come as You Are, the brilliant New York Times best seller about female sexuality and sexual response by Smith College wellness education director, PhD, and smart sex educator Emily Nagoski. As someone who writes and reads and teaches about sex for a living, I’m all “Oh, another sex book? Whatevs,” but Nagoski’s book has re-inspired me about the hows and whats of female orgasm.

Nagoski highlights the crushing pressure of the female-pleasure-phobic world we live in and how it comes to hinder our coming. I don’t want to give away too much because you (and everyone who either owns or touches a clitoris) should read it, but I want to draw attention to the book’s exploration of the context in which women come.

Thinking about sexy, orgasmic context might bring to mind mood music, candles, a hot partner, maybe a favorite vibrator. This might make a dent, but more importantly, women need to consider their mental context (stressed about work? parenting children?), physical context (PMSing? managing chronic pain?), environmental context (worried about waking the neighbors? the baby?), relational context (is this partner trustworthy? is consent actively practiced?) and then, THEN there’s the social context, which pushes down on women in big in small ways, labeling some women as “sluts” if they enjoy sex, “frigid” if they don’t, and, in your case, BBB, “broken” if their sexual response doesn’t match that of their partners.

The sexual response of male bodies and brains has been more widely studied mostly because their orgasms make the babies and their sexuality is socially sanctioned. Because of this, female sexual response is compared to male sexual response; if our orgasms don’t follow the same path as their orgasms, we must be broken…continue reading…

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Masturbation Relations

Is it normal for my husband to jerk off four times in a day? And then not want me?

Maintaining a certain amount of individualism while you’re in a relationship with someone is a completely healthy — and, in fact, recommended — thing to do, especially when we’re talking long-term relationships. Pursuing your own interests, alone time, friends, goals and yes, even sexual pleasure, isn’t a bad thing. Masturbation and self-love are both unique styles of sex that, by sheer definition, can’t be done by another person and can be a valuable part of one’s sexual repertoire. Masturbation is a great way to try new things before debuting them in front of your partner, to search for new ways of orgasming (heeerrrreee g-spot, g-spot), and an excellent way to let off some steam in the grip of your mid-day stress.

Masturbation is a pleasurable cure for headaches, fatigue and general edginess as the endorphins and chemicals released in your body during orgasm have all kinds of pleasant effects. Masturbation for both men and women is healthy, normal, and fun. And quite frankly, one of the best things about it is that it’s one of the few gifts you can give to yourself, by yourself, with nothing more than your hand, a little spit and a few minutes of privacy.

The masturbation isn’t the issue here, XO, it’s your feeling unwanted, your husband’s use of masturbation, and the lack of communication about the masturbation...continue reading…