ASTROGLIDE Natural Personal Lubricant is glycerin free, paraben free, alcohol free, petroleum free, sugar free, fragrance free, flavouring free and hormone free. It is water based, water soluble, latex safe, soft, smooth and long lasting.
Want to try lube, but not sure where to start? Have you tried lube before and were disappointed with your experience? Whether you’re a first-time user or someone who’s looking to spice up your sexy time with the perfect personal lubricant, you’ve come to the right place - consider this guide your crash course to the wonderful world of lube.
Ready to become an expert in all things slippery, sensual and sexy? Then read on, lube noob:
Technically, a lubricant is any substance that helps reduce friction. Lubricants are often used for things like bicycle chains and machines to help cut down on the friction caused by moving parts. Personal lubricants contain different ingredients, but the idea is the same -- they’re used to reduce the friction on your own moving “parts” to make sex and masturbation easier and more enjoyable.
Sounds simple enough, right? But if that’s all there is to it, why are there so many different kinds of lubes out there? It’s because like condoms and vibrators, different lubes offer different benefits.
Personal lubricants can come in liquid and gel forms, and each formula has a base ingredient that accounts for its unique texture. Let’s take a look at the three main lube bases and what they mean for you:
1.) Water Based Lube
Water-based lubricants are by far the most common, and for good reason. Because they’re water-based, they’re easy to clean up (and to wash out of clothing or sheets). And of course since pure water is about the most natural ingredient out there, these lubes can also be very gentle and soothing to your skin.
All of Astroglide’s water based lubes can be used with condoms without compromising their integrity (meaning they won’t cause condoms to rip or tear more easily). They can also be used with toys like vibrators -- even those made of silicone material.
Some Examples of Water Based Lube:
Astroglide Aloe Liquid
Astroglide Warming Liquid
Astroglide Strawberry Liquid
2.) Silicone Based Lubricant
Silicone is a material made from alternate chains of silicone (a natural element) and oxygen atoms. It can come in many forms including rubber, resin and oil -- those different forms make it great for everything from medical applications to insulation. Its liquid form is especially effective when used as the main ingredient in personal lubricants.
What makes silicone-based lubes so great? For one, they have a very unique, silky feel that is soothing to the skin and leaves it feeling soft and smooth. Silicone is also hypoallergenic, so it’s a great choice for lube users with sensitive skin or allergies. And since these lubes contain mostly silicone instead of water, they often last longer and need to be reapplied less often.
Like water based lubes, silicone lubricants are also latex safe and generally toy safe, though you shouldn’t use them in conjunction with silicone toys as they can break down the rubber over time.
The best thing about silicone based lubes? They’re great for water play. Unlike water based lubes that would be quickly washed away in the shower or tub, silicone lubes (especially when in gel form) stay put and keep friction at bay while you enjoy some slippery, wet fun.
Some Examples of Silicone Based Lube:
Astroglide X Silicone Liquid
Astroglide Diamond Silicone Gel
3.) Oil Based Lubes
You won’t find any oil-based lubes in the Astroglide range.
Now that you have a “base understanding” of different lube formulas, you can begin to get an idea of the lube that’s best for you by deciding exactly what you’d like to use your lube for.
People of any gender who are looking to use lube for solo masturbation have plenty of options. Both water and silicone based lubes can work well, as can liquids and gels. If you’re relying solely on stimulating yourself with your hands, you may opt for a water based liquid lube like Astroglide Liquid. This lube is also safe to use with toys of any type.
If you tend to really savor your alone time and enjoy longer masturbation sessions, a lube like Astroglide X might be a better choice, as you’ll find yourself having to reapply less often. The best thing about using lube on your own is that you only have your preferences to consider, so you can take your time experimenting until you find the formula that’s perfect for you!
If you’re playing with a friend (or friends!) and you’re using a latex contraceptive, both water and silicone based lubes are good choices. Again, you’ll definitely want to steer clear of oil based lubes, as these can erode latex and make your safe sex practices anything but. For a latex-friendly lube with natural derived ingredients and a soft, soothing feel, try sharing a bottle of Astroglide Aloe Chamomile with your partner.
Thinking of bringing toys into the bed with you? For toys coated in silicone gel or made with silicone resin, opt for a water based lube that won’t cause the surface of your toys to break down. For toys made of other materials like glass or steel, both water based and silicone based lubes will work wonders.
Want to do more than frolic in the waves during your beach vacation? Plan to christen your newly remodeled shower or make your hot tub even hotter? Believe it or not, using water alone for lubrication can actually increase friction and make things even less enjoyable for you and your partner. So if it’s water play you’re after, you’ll definitely want to invest in a silicone based lube. Try Astroglide Diamond Gel first, as its thicker formula has more stay-put power -- definitely a plus during water play.
Just looking to spice things up in the bedroom by trying something new? You may enjoy using lubes with special benefits. Astroglide Warming, for example, produces a gentle warming sensation when it comes in contact with skin. This can increase blood flow and arousal, and can even help you and your partner relax and unwind.
Flavored lubes can also be a fun addition to your routine, especially if oral stimulation plays a major part in your lovemaking. Enjoy the soft, sweet taste of Astroglide Strawberry the next time you give your partner some oral love.
Are you prone to allergic reactions like hives or rashes? Or have you experienced discomfort or burning when using lubes in the past? If so, you may want to use a personal lubricant that’s especially formulated for users with sensitive skin.
Astroglide Sensitive Skin Gel and Astroglide Aloe Chamomile are both great choices. Not only are these lubes fragrance and colouring-free, they’re also made from ingredients that have been tested and proven to provide comfort and enjoyment, even to users with sensitive skin. If you’re worried about having a bad reaction, try applying your new lube to a small section of your forearm to see how your skin reacts before moving on to more delicate areas.
Although sex may be the first thing that springs to mind when you think of personal lubricants, they aren’t for intercourse alone. In fact, many women use lube to help ease the discomfort that comes from vaginal dryness. Vaginal dryness can occur any time, though it often becomes a problem for perimenopausal and menopausal women who are experiencing changes in their natural hormone levels.
Sound like an issue that’s familiar to you? If so, speaking to your Health Care Professional is always a great idea. She may have some suggestions or insights into your personal situation, and she may even be able to recommend a specific type of lube that’s right for you. If you want to strike out and experiment on your own, try a water-based gel like Astroglide Gel to start -- it’ll be easy to wash out of fabric and its gel consistency will help it stay where you need it most.
Now that you know about all the types of lube that are available, you’re probably wondering where you can score some of your own. Before you go shopping, remember that Astroglide provides free samples of some of our most popular lubes -- why not try out a few different types before you invest in a full bottle?
Once you’ve decided on your preferred formula, you have lots of options on where to shop.
When it comes to applying your lube, don’t overthink it -- it’s actually quite simple. Start by applying a pea-sized portion of lube to yourself, your partner or your toy of choice.
For extra control and to limit spillage, squeeze lube onto your fingertips first, then apply. With a little practice, you’ll be able to estimate pretty closely how much lube you need. Remember, you can always reapply!
Most lubricants have extremely stable, so when storing them, you don’t need to treat them with the same care you’d give to, say medication. While there’s no need to stash your lube in the fridge, it’s definitely a good idea to keep it away from direct heat and out of the easy reach of children and pets.
While most lubes feature non-toxic formulas, they can all cause digestive issues if consumed in large quantities -- plus cleaning massive quantities of lube from your carpet, sheets and drapes is a task most of us would like to avoid.
Most personal lubricant users will admit that they had to try out a few different formulas before they found the perfect one for them, so don’t be shy -- request some free Astroglide samples and start exploring your options. You might even find that you or your partner enjoy more than one formula for different reasons. That’s totally okay -- there’s no rule that says you can only own one bottle of lube. So go ahead: experiment, share, play and explore. And most of all, have fun!
You may have sworn to love your spouse in sickness and in health, but most marriage vows don’t address the common problem of getting stuck in a rut sexually. We reached out to 14 of the world’s top relationship experts to bring you some helpful tips that will keep your marriage hot even in the chilliest of slumps.
April Masini, known to millions for her 'Ask April' relationship advice column, reminds us that great sex in marriage doesn’t always “just happen.” Often it requires effort and creativity. Think back to when you were trying to make a good impression on those early dates and rekindle that vibe.
“Strategic planning is part of keeping the X in your sex life. Things don’t always fall into place, but if you set the stage, they’re much more likely to. For instance, create the mood with music, candles and other nice lighting and wear what you think he or she will find attractive. Light a fire in the fireplace, have the wine or champagne chilled and don’t worry about what’s for dinner — have take out ready to go. You’ll be setting the stage for sex without indicating so.”
April suggests an upgrade on the traditional date. “If you’re both stressed, consider a massage instead of a movie. Either do it yourselves, or hire someone to come in…and then leave! Make your dinner and a movie date a light take-out sushi, sensuous couples massage and some crisp wine or cocktails that aren’t too syrupy or sweet, to create a mood for sex.”
The effectiveness of smart planning is echoed by Patricia Johnson and Mark Michaels, co-authors of Partners in Passion. They acknowledge the difference between spontaneous sex and a pre-calculated rendezvous, but admit that in today’s hectic world a bit of planning can pay off in the bedroom.
“Schedule at least two erotic encounters a week for the next month. It’s up to you whether these encounters include orgasms for one or both of you. Take note of how this affects your general level of desire. We suggest that couples take extra-long lunch breaks so that they can meet at home for an early afternoon tryst. This type of weekly ritual keeps partners feeling hot for each other.”
While spontaneity is often equated with romance, don’t kid yourself into thinking that you’re not already part of a plan, as Patricia Johnson points out. “For most couples, dating is effectively a form of engaging in scheduled sex. Even if sex in this context feels spontaneous, it has actually been planned. Thus, scheduling sex is okay for most people, in certain contexts, provided they don’t openly acknowledge the scheduling.”
While no sexpert will deny the importance of touching as a key component in intimate sexual relations, relationship coach and author Lisa Hayes points out that touching outside of sex is just as vital to a steamy romance.
“When two people first meet they can't keep their hands off of each other. They hold hands when they sit next to each other. They snuggle on the sofa when they watch TV. They touch in passing as often as they can. They crave the touch and that kind of touch fuels sexual desire. As a relationship progresses and life takes over, that kind of touch tends to diminish. But you want the fire in the bedroom to continue to burn hot.
Nonsexual touch defines two people as a couple even more than sex does. It stimulates oxytocin production which is the bonding brain chemical. Foreplay starts way before you take your clothes off. Nonsexual intimate touch is a very important part of foreplay and it should be happening all day everyday. When it's happening, two people are far more open to each other both emotionally and physically.”
When we asked Lisa Hayes for marriage advice that doesn’t involve touching, she was quick to point out that what you discuss (and don’t discuss) as a couple can impact your relationship in unusual ways.
“Both sex and money are often very charged topics, however couples will find a way to talk about or fight about money a lot. It's very common for sex to be a topic that is almost taboo between two people who sleep together and share a life. I'm always surprised by what people can't talk about when it comes to their bodies. Sex needs to be something that a couple can discuss freely if their sex life is going to evolve. If a sex life doesn't evolve it will die.”
But how can couples open up about subjects that they may not be comfortable talking about? Apparently practice is the key. Hayes says, “The easiest way to normalise the subject of sex is to talk about it a lot. Even if you can't talk about your sex life, you can still talk about sex in general. You can always tell what a couple's priorities are by noticing how much time they spend discussing anything. Kids, jobs, and money are usually on the top of the list. Sex needs to be there at the top if two people are going to stay connected.”
Relationship therapy team Judith Claire and Frank Wiegers are the authors of So THAT'S Why They Do That! Men, Women and Their Hormones. They agree with Ms. Hayes’s advice on initiating an open dialog about sex with your spouse.
“Communicating about sex can be difficult for some while others want to talk about it all of the time. It's not a good idea to have serious sex talks while you are in the process of making love. The only talk you want during the lovemaking process is words of love and endearment. If there are some issues that you want to resolve around you sex life, it's best to broach the subject somewhere else -- like the living room or better yet on a walk or over coffee. A fun way to start is to ask each other for five fun things that you like about sex and then follow up with five things that you don't like about sex.”
Lifestyle strategist Natalie Blais has a different opinion of phones and computers. “Rather than viewing technology as something that takes away from a relationship, couples can use it to draw closer, enhance the romance and keep their relationship on track and sexy.”
While this advice may seem contrary to the experts who tell you to unplug, Blais has a more realistic approach to how you can turn your electronic device into a relationship saver. “Couples in 2015 need to learn how to use technology to their advantage! With the ability to video chat, text, message, Facebook, tweet and so much more, it is monumentally easier to stay close, connected and intimate.”
When asked for examples of what sort of content works best, Natalie explains. “If you took one minute each day to send your mate a sexy text message, a short mini strip tease video, a quick series of photos imagining your sexual encounter that coming evening, whatever the mood strikes you. Leverage the tools that are literally at your fingertips to keep those interactions red hot. Couples who are flirty, fun and playful will stand the test of time and the test of their relationship.”
When we asked Los Angeles-based scientist Judy Rosenberg for her advice on how to keep your marriage hot, she came back with this fun acronym for S.E.X.Y.
S is for safety- Without safety, emotional and otherwise, you can't have a marriage. Safety means protecting your spouse's feelings.
E is for energy - You have to invest energy into your marriage, sexual and otherwise. It's not 50/50, it's 100/100 percent.
X is for X factor - It's the wildcard. Surprise your spouse in the way that makes the person feels X-tra special: flowers, surprise sexual romps, picnics, trips, etc.
Y is for yes - Forget the computer and cell phone, and spend quality time with your loved one. Try to eliminate “No, I don’t have time” from your vocabulary for a bit and just say yes, as long as it’s not offensive or abusive.
“Remember, SEXY is the relationship -- mind, body and soul,” says Rosenberg. “SEXY is when all three come together to enhance each person and create a 1+1=3, meaning that the collective we becomes more than who we are individually.”
Cammi Balleck, author of Happy, The New Sexy, advises couples to “accept each other for who they are and don't try to change each other.” She explains that people can strengthen their bonds in simple ways. “Express appreciation everyday for one thing. Do activities that you did together when you fell in love. My husband and I fell in love climbing mountains. Every time we climb it brings our sexy back.”
Balleck’s advice about finding activities that bond you and your partner is cosigned by many relationship experts, such as parenting coach Monique Prince. She takes the tip a step further and suggests couples “Be brave and try new things together. Whether it's a game of checkers or sky diving, do something together often.”
Prince makes an excellent point that often gets overlooked when planning dates with your mate. “Don't keep dates for night time only. If Sunday is your only day off, Sunday afternoon can be your date night -- or a weekday morning. Be open to different times of day to have a date with your spouse.”
Dates don’t have to be elaborate, it’s the togetherness that counts. Prince mentions one free date idea that can do wonders for a marriage. “Take a walk and ask about the best part and worst part of the other's day. Listen to each other's needs and meet them.” Once your partner feels appreciated, intimacy will follow, and often the sex will be improved.
“Sex separates the married from the unmarried so have a ball. Make love a lot and in a variety of places. Back rubs, massages, and taking a tub or shower together is wonderful,” says Prince. “Make sure both feel satisfied sexually, emotionally, physically and spiritually.”
Need some inspiration to get on the right track? We’ve got you covered - these 21 sexy date ideas will work with any budget (including no budget), and will have you cosied up to your partner in no time.
“Nothing beats boredom in the marriage more than a sexy romp of ‘D' and Nurse’,” says Sandy Daley, relationship columnist and author of Whose Vagina Is It, Really? “Plus this gets you out of character and you might learn a thing or two about your partner's likes and dislikes.”
Daley urges people to not be afraid of experimenting. “Couples need to let themselves be 'uncomfortable' during intimacy. Only through experimentation are they able to get to a higher place. Of course, there should always be the opportunity to stop if you begin to feel too uncomfortable during any intimate act.”
On the topic of playing out your fantasies, Judith Claire concurs. “Role playing games are fun. Try scenarios such as pizza man and horny housewife, teacher and pupil, 'd' / patient, sheik/harem girl, cowboy/schoolmarm or cop/hooker. Costumes can be fun too. Light B&D (bondage and discipline) with cuffs and ropes including light spanking can also be exciting.”
One common theme that several of our pros hit upon is the effectiveness of lingerie and kinky costumes to help the ladies feel sexy and confident while offering their spouse some arousing eye candy that signifies an evening is about to heat up.
Relationship expert Hope A. Rising puts this theory to the test in her own relationship. “Once or twice a month I like to go to the adult store and buy sexy costumes, then create a theme around the costume. My guy never knows when he comes home who is going to greet him at the door or what the evening holds for him.”
Our resident sexologist, Jess gave similar advice in a recent AskMen interview with Aly Walansky. “I work at a few erotic resorts in the Caribbean (Desire Resorts and Hedonism II) and the couples have so much fun picking their outfits and dressing up that they can't help but reignite the spark!”
Jess understands the psychology behind role playing, and offers this interesting tidbit of information:
"Oftentimes, the most appealing roles are those that stray most significantly from our lived reality. If you manage great responsibility at work or in the home, you may derive great pleasure from indulging in a submissive role. And if you spend most of your days catering to everyone else’s needs, playing a selfish role may be the perfect escape from reality.”
Although Tiffany Mason, a life coach who specialises in “designing a meaningful marriage,” didn’t see the advice that the rest of our relationship panel offered -- her actionable tips perfectly summarize and reiterate what the others suggest for keeping your marriage hot:
Drink a glass of wine and eat a piece of chocolate with your partner
Turn off the television and light some candles
Surprise your spouse by giving them a back massage before they fall asleep
Dress up in a sexy lingerie when your husband comes home from work
Send your lover a naked photo of yourself
So what’s the secret to keeping the passion burning in your marriage? Apparently it boils down to being open, giving, playful, committed, bold, creative and, of course, keeping your sex sessions well lubricated.
Nothing can put a deep freeze on your relationship quite like the post-winter holiday hangover. Just as the last of the obligatory family gatherings and stressful travel plans come to a close your credit card bills arrive, the alarm clock for work buzzes and the flu season is just one sneezing stranger away. Now, more than ever, it’s crucial to focus on keeping the spark between you and your lover burning bright.
Fortunately for you sir, we’ve compiled a list of classy date night ideas for at a variety of price points to help keep your passion burning bright into the cold, bleak weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day (or, as your wacky aunt refers to it, the premiere of Fifty Shades of Grey).
1. Movie Night at the Crib - Let’s start with the obvious. If you read our 4 Sexiest Holiday Movies article, you know that chilling at home with your partner doesn’t have to mean cheesy sitcom reruns or bad reality TV. The key is to let your lover pick their favourite sexy flick then cuddle up under the covers for an evening of no-cost romantic cinema.
2. Good for One Free ___ Voucher - Here’s where you get to express your romantic, giving side without dropping a dime! Design and slip your significant other a cleverly-worded coupon that they can cash in for the type of spoils you normally only offer as foreplay. Make it all about them—without expressing any expectation for a return—and you may just be rewarded with the hottest thank you imaginable.
3. Throwback Party for Two - Whether your idea of retro night includes Pac Man and Prince albums or Nintendo and N’Sync, nothing warms the heart like a walk down memory lane. Download your favourite iPad arcade app, bust out the mix tape that you rocked when you were trying so hard to express your feelings with Robert Smith lyrics, and top it off with a YouTube marathon of your favourite nostalgic flicks from when you [thought you] were cooler.
Pro-tip: Keep your competitive nature in check and let your partner win a few games if they’re not as Mario-savvy. The silly bonding that ensues will bring you closer to your beau than you ever were to that high school crush and, unlike those awkward years, you might actually get lucky tonight.
4. An Old-Fashioned Bonfire - It’s BYOS and the S is for S’mores. If you live in or near a rural area, building a fire on a chilly winter night can be one of the most romantic, timeless excuses to snuggle up next to the object of your affection. Stealing a kiss under the stars while you stoke the fires (literally and figuratively) will build a lasting memory.
5. Dinner At a Chic Ethnic Restaurant - The beauty of taking a date to eat Ethiopian or Indian food is three-fold. For one thing, the fact that it’s a step out of the ordinary adds to the exotic excitement. It also implies that you’re open-minded fella and appreciate other cultures. Last but not least, in smaller towns, places that serve Thai or Mediterranean grub may be the best options if you or your date are trying to stick to a vegetarian or vegan diet, and the spices that most of these chefs cook with will take the chill off of the coldest winter nights.
6. Catching a Film (Not a “Movie”) at the Local Art House Cinema - Leave the popcorn blockbusters for the classless masses, and treat your date to an evening of unpretentious intelligentsia. Even if neither of you gravitate toward indie films by nature, when the lights dim at the local single screen, you’ll enjoy the sensation of your largest sex organ being massaged -- we’re talking about your brain, of course.
7. A Group Date With Your Lover’s BFFs - If your goal is to clock some alone time with your sweetie, this might not be the way to go, but never underestimate the sexiness of letting your boo show you off to their inner circle of friends. This is a rare chance for you to display your charms (little things like opening the car or restaurant door, taking their coat or pulling out their chair before they sit down). The group date can earn you a certified thumbs up in new relationships or allow your significant other to reconnect with friends that they may have blown off recently to be with you.
8. Blue Collar Bowling - When’s the last time you saw your baby handle balls this heavy? While it may not sound sexy in the traditional sense, there’s something about the timeless thrill of watching your date bowl their first strike that’ll make you both forget you’re wearing bad, borrowed shoes on a frigid winter night.
9 . A Night at the Museum - No, we’re not suggesting that you try to impress your date by treating them to a Ben Stiller movie. Instead, why not get your culture on and hit up that new art exhibit your weekly alternative paper is raving about? It will give the two of you an excuse to ditch the sweatpants, drive to the other side of town and use some of that fancy vocabulary you learned in Art History.
12 . Paint Night at the Pub - Show off your inner Picasso if you’ve got hidden art skills, or show your vulnerable side with some self-effacing humour if your masterpiece wouldn’t even make it to your mom’s fridge. Either way, these trendy events are popping up in every city and usually involve libations, laughter and may even show your date what a renaissance man you secretly are.
11. Salsa Dancing Class - Ay Caramba! We know, you could probably go your entire life without a single dance lesson and feel fine about it. Your partner, however, might get a real thrill out of the experience the two of you will enjoy by learning a few snazzy steps and taking the dance floor by storm when Mambo Number 5 spins at the next wedding reception you’re forced to attend.
12. A Concert of Your Date’s Favourite Band - Get frisky in the cheap seats because this date’s getting cranked to 11! Nothing gets the blood moving like a killer band nailing your jams, but make this night about your partner’s favourite rockers. For an encore, try a little hanky panky in the parking lot for the full groupie sex fantasy.
13. Bikram Yoga for Two - What better way to thaw those cold, achy bones than by spending the next hour and a half of your life in a 104° studio watching your lover do downward dog in tight black pants? Who knows, you might even learn some new poses that you can kama sutra into some sexy bedroom moves. Namaste all night!
14. The Mall: It’s Not Just for Awkward Teens Anymore - Chances are, your partner doesn’t have the same group of friends that they used to go to the local shopping mall with to try on outfits. What hasn’t changed is their desire to try on sexy clothes that might not normally fit into their budget. Take them to the stores that they want to visit, be a champ, man up and hold the purse while they try on some new threads. Offer to buy that killer ensemble that may only get seen once or twice when you splurge for an evening out in the next level of date night ideas.
15. Four-Star Staycation - A steamy evening out at the ritziest hotel in your hometown can do wonders for your relationship without the stress or expense of long distance traveling. Find a friend to watch the kids (or let your dog out), and treat your romance to the luxury it deserves. Leave the TV off, the phones on silent and make the night about rekindling your passion.
16. Rock Out With Your Bach Out - Dinner and a movie is a cliche for a reason. Show your significant other how significant they really are by breaking out your blazer and classing it up at the symphony. The humble brag Facebook post practically writes itself.
17. The A-list Comedy Club Experience - Science will back up the fact that making your significant other laugh can often lead to heightened romance. While you may get off a clever one liner now and then, why not leave the heavy lifting to the humor pros and take your date to the best comedy club in town. We’re not talking open mic night at Uncle Chuckle’s Laugh-O-Rama here, we’re saying go all in on tickets for the comedians who have HBO specials. You know, the places that have a 2 drink minimum that would break your budget on most nights. Live a little, laugh a lot, and love longer, later!
18. Couples Massage - You’ve heard the term bandied about, now why not give it a try? For just over a cool hundred at most spas, the two of you can lay side by side and let the professionals take care of the foreplay. You’ll be so relaxed and refreshed after an hour of Enya and incense that the next logical step will be a sensual continuation of the caressing in the privacy of your boudoir.
19. A Weekend at the Nearest Ski Resort Chalet - When you’re ready to go for broke and indulge in the ultimate winter fantasy, whisk your date away for an all expenses paid mini-trip to the slopes. Even if your skills are more inclined toward tipsy tubing than carving a half pipe on the snowboard, it’s all about warming your bones by the lodge fire before retiring to your cabin for a nightcap and a romp on the rented king-size bed.
We’d be remiss to not mention the sexiest and least expensive of all winter date ideas - sex itself!
20. Hot Sex on a Cold Night - We’re not talking about roll over and assume the position coitus. We’re talking about stepping outside of your comfort zone a bit and adding some class to your act. Warm up the ambiance with scented candles, cue up a sexy Spotify mix, uncork that bottle of holiday wine that your cool aunt bought you and try rolling in the deep for more than the 7.5 minute national average.
If you really want to introduce some heat to your lovemaking, add a bit of Astroglide Warming Liquid to each other’s sensitive spots and feel the winter chill (and your inhibitions) melt away like snow in the spring!
If you’ve got any sexy date ideas that rocked one of your winter nights, please enlighten us in the comment section below. We’re always up for trying new ways to spice up our dating playbook.
One of the highlights of my job involves hosting Playboy TV’s reality series, Swing. Each episode follows the story of a newbie couple that is considering the possibility of swinging for the very first time. I introduce them to a group of experienced swingers and walk them through their very first “lifestyle” experience. Although I leave before the real fun goes down, I return the morning after to check in and support them through a debriefing.
Though I’ve been working with swingers for ten years, each show presents a learning experience. Some couples dive in headfirst and immediately establish themselves as lifelong swingers while others retreat and conclude that they’d rather remain monogamous. Here are some lessons I’ve learned from real-life swinger couples:
Just like monogamy, swinging isn’t a universally successful experience - nor is it a panacea for a failing relationship. Some people are simply more inclined toward open relationships and others thrive on a lifetime of serial monogamy. Some couples find that swinging improves their relationship, but others find it exacerbates existing problems.
Just as you should consider the potential positive and negative outcomes of marriage, so too should you weigh the pros and cons of swinging. You may even want to make individual lists and discuss them together.
I often receive inquiries with regard to how one can convince their partner to swing. The short answer: you can’t.
If you have to talk your partner into swinging for the first time, you’re likely destined for disaster. In an ideal world, swinging brings you closer together, but this outcome is near impossible in the absence of mutual desire. Being a bit nervous is normal, but if your partner seems reticent, make your relationship a priority and put swinging on hold until you’re both feeling fully prepared.
You’ll often hear experienced swingers proclaim that the only rules that matter are your rules and they couldn’t be more correct. You are the experts in your relationship, so although you can learn from relationship experts and more experienced couples, your unique insight and understanding of subjective experiences makes you the ultimate authority.
Establishing rules in advance is of paramount importance. Ask and answer as many questions as possible to prepare for a variety of outcomes:
Revisit your rules periodically, as your feelings, desires and boundaries might change over time.
As with all sexual and relational experiences, swinging will elicit both positive and negative emotional reactions. Be prepared to talk about them: the good, the bad and the ugly. I find that some couples are so enthralled with the concept of swinging that they sometimes forget that problems can arise.
Jealousy, insecurity and fear are normal emotions, so it’s important to acknowledge them. They’re not a sign of a failing relationship and when you talk about undesirable emotions openly and offer your partner feedback and reassurance, they can become sources of strength in your relationship.
If you’re new to swinging, I suggest that you spend some time hanging out at lifestyle clubs or parties with the agreement that you’ll only observe and engage in friendly conversations. Making a pact not to engage in any sexual activities for the few visits can help to alleviate pressure and allow you to familiarise yourself with the scene. Many clubs offer tours for newbie couples and the host couples will likely be willing to answer any questions you may have about the lifestyle.
So there you have it – five guidelines for exploring a healthy open relationship. Use this advice to keep the conversation going with your partner. If you’ve got some helpful advice for newbies that you’d like to share, feel free to contribute in the comment section below. And if you have additional questions, consider this a judgment-free zone where you can ask any questions that you might have regarding the exciting lifestyle of consensual non-monogamy.
Have you searched the web for health products lately? If so, you may have noticed a lack of diversity in sexual orientation, gender, age or race. Another common shortcoming is the tendency of companies to insinuate that every type of person needs just one common product, regardless of their situation. At Astroglide, we celebrate the diversity of our customer base and the uniqueness of each individual’s path to pleasure. We offer an array of products to suit each person’s needs and desires and we wanted to showcase this commitment in our newly launched campaign -- “Get Into Something Good.”
To help spread our message of inclusivity, Astroglide partnered with the forward-thinking advertising agency, Experiences For Mankind (EFM). Rather than take the traditional route of hiring models or reverting to stock imagery, EFM opted to showcase Astroglide’s brand pillars with an unorthodox approach. The agency created and captured a series of intimate moments enjoyed by intentionally ambiguous wooden art mannequins, affectionately known as The Pleasure People.
EFM’s Senior Account Manager, Morgan Graham expounds:
“This ambiguity allows the campaign to focus on intimacy, leaving audiences open to interpret the scene while thinking about lube and its possibilities for their own sex lives.”
In an industry largely focused on the majority, we are driven not to exclude individual needs and desires -- Astroglide has a lube for every body.
Astroglide conducted qualitative and quantitative research in order to better understand the needs and desires of our customers. Through our research we identified diverse groups of lube users, and made sure that our branding was inclusive of all our customers.
A surprising 44 percent of the 1,000 lube users we surveyed view personal lubricant as a functional but vital component of their sex lives, rather than adding an additional element of fun. We’ve dedicated extensive resources to researching and promoting the functional benefits of personal lubrication but the focus of our “Get Into Something Good” campaign, is to showcase the blissfully fulfilling connections that can be experienced with lube. In other words, we’re here to talk about the fun!
While we strive to promote and educate others about the importance of healthy sexual encounters among consenting adults, we prefer to simply provide the tools and inspiration and let our customers design their own passionate moments. Our head of marketing, Helen Way, eloquently describes the brand’s unique customer relationship and overall position:
“We love and respect our customers enough to listen to what matters to them. While our commitment to safe, reliable products is well known within the industry, the single most important value we promise our customers is to create an environment free from judgment and full of pleasure that empowers individuals to embrace sex and sexuality.”
Sure our advice might be broken down into a series of specific topics like: “What is the Male G-Spot?,” “6 Sneaky Signs She’s Into You” or even topics inexplicably considered to be taboo by our contemporaries such as “3 Myths About Bisexuality Busted.” The difference is that we offer these articles, not just for the folks that they directly relate to, but as an ongoing narrative of the overall human story. We strive to educate and include everyone in the process as we become a more enlightened and tolerant society.
Ultimately, our business comes down to pleasure. Astroglide isn't here to judge. We’re here to provide you with the means to enhance your experience and get the most pleasure out of each moment. So savour your moment, be it planned (like the new parents sneaking home for a nooner) or spontaneous like the intimate moments you’re witnessing our friends The Pleasure People about to enjoy!
For many men, finding the female g-spot feels like setting out on a journey to uncover the lost city of Atlantis. It may seem like a thing of mystery, but once it’s discovered, it’s definitely worth the hard work. Yet even masters of the female g-spot may not know that men have a special spot all their own -- and learning where it is and how to use it could lead to some serious mind-blowing sex.
Although we can’t exactly draw you a map, we can tell you that the male g-spot is actually the prostate. It’s a gland about the size of a walnut, and it’s located right under a guy’s bladder. Obviously it’d take more than a bit of personal lube to go poking around inside a man’s organs, but don’t worry -- you don’t need any special equipment to reach this special spot.
The easiest way to stimulate the male g-spot is to press gently on the skin between his balls and anus. Massaging this area during sex or applying rhythmic pressure with your fingers will add to his pleasure. Give this spot extra attention right before he climaxes and you’ll add some serious intensity to his orgasm.
For even better access to the male g-spot, you can insert a finger or toy into his anus. Obviously, this isn’t a move for every guy so here’s a good place to start - apply some gentle pressure to the outside of his anus and circle it with your finger to gauge his interest first. Alternately, you can simply stick to massaging his g-spot from the outside if that’s more comfortable for him.
Some guys aren’t even aware of this special spot themselves, so giving a guy’s g-spot some love could not only drive him wild, it could also score you some major points in bed. Of course, like any erogenous zone, there are plenty of ways to have fun with the male g-spot.
Lube makes sex better. Not only does personal lubricant reduce friction, ease discomfort and decrease the likelihood of condom breakage, but if you’ve ever had the chance to experiment with the slippery stuff, you know that sex is simply more fun, more intense and far more orgasmic with lube! Though some body parts produce their own natural lubrication, in most cases, a little extra wetness will take your pleasure and your technique to new heights.
Most personal lubricants are either water or silicone based. Water-based lubes come in several formulations including gels, creams and liquids. Because they're composed primarily of water, they wash away easily and won’t leave stains or residue. Silicone-based formulas tend to be a bit thicker and some people find that they last longer and offer a silkier texture. Both water and silicone-based lubes can be used for a variety of sexual activities ranging from sensual foreplay to red-hot finishing moves and research suggests that those who use lube report higher levels of sexual satisfaction.
There is no universal formula for using lube, but when in doubt, I suggest you err on the side of generosity — a few extra drops will make your hands, lips, tongue, fingers and other body parts feel warmer, wetter and even more welcoming with very little effort on your part.
If you want to introduce lube into your sexual repertoire or simply spice things up a little, try one of these creative tips designed to enhance pleasure and heighten intimacy:
1. Add a dollop into the palm of your hand and squeeze your fingers into a fist allowing the slippery stuff to drip onto your partner’s hot spots. You might want to intensify the sensations by blindfolding them first and breathing some warm air over the surface of their sensitive, lubed-up skin.
2. Place a few tiny drops on the tip of your finger and trace it around your lover’s sweet spots with feather-light touch.
3. Apply a thin layer of lube to your lips before oral play and get creative!
4. Put a drop or two of lube inside the tip of the condom to increase sensitivity during intercourse or oral sex.
5. Use an open, flat palm to slide your palm against your partner’s vulva — cup your hands around her and allow her to grind up against your warm, wet hand.
6. Get twisted for him. Slather your hands in lube and wrap both hands around his shaft with your fingers interlaced. Stroke upwards and twist your hands to the right (or left) as you approach his head so that the twist becomes part of the fluid stroking motion.
7. Get twisted for her. Cover your index and middle fingers in lube and cross them over one another. Slide them into her as you rotate your hand to create a unique, slippery sensation.
8. Pre-apply lube before you get to bed to surprise your lover.
9. Use a soft-bristled paintbrush or makeup brush to sensually apply your favourite lube to your lover’s body.
10. Use a drop or two of warming lube on your lover’s nipples to spread the orgasmic sensations throughout the body.
Even if your sex life is already smokin’ hot, introducing a personal lubricant is sure to heighten the sensations as you discover new moves, techniques and positions made possible by the mere presence of lube. I promise to share some of my favourite tricks (e.g. The Goddess, The Pulse and The Twist and Shout) in the upcoming weeks and months…
“Sex god” -- it’s a term we throw around pretty loosely these days. A few of your friends hear the same rumors about what the new guy in 2B can do with a bottle of personal lube, and suddenly he’s deified as a lover man with other-worldly bedroom powers. But there was a time when the title of sex god carried some serious weight. In cultures across the world, a whole host of heavenly beings were worshipped for their sexual powers. In some societies, they still are.
Need a little help with your own sex life? You may want to utter a prayer or two to one of these bonafide sex gods:
This Northern Moroccan goddess lives in springs and rivers. She is said to seduce young men, then drive them insane. You may want to exercise caution when praying to this goddess!
Worshipped by the ancient Aztecs, Xochiquetzal served as the goddess of pregnancy, childbirth and women’s crafts, but she was also believed to be the controller of female sexual power.
Ready to turn those one night stands into something a little more meaningful? R¨¡gar¨¡ja can help -- he’s a Buddhist deity with the power to transform worldly lust into spiritual awakening.
Do all of your blind dates turn out to be jobless losers? Perhaps you should make an appeal to Aine. Not only is she the Irish goddess of love -- she also presides over issues of wealth and sovereignty. Who knows -- with her help, you might just land your prince!
In Chinese mythology, Yue-Lao is depicted as an old man under a moon. He’s a powerful god of love and marriage and is said to bind soulmates together with a red string.
You may be tempted to cover all your bases and worship several of these gods at the same time, but if Greek mythology has taught us anything it’s that gods tend to be the jealous sort -- best to focus on one at a time. Perhaps you can erect your own mini altar in your bedroom and decorate it with offerings of personal lube and photos of sexy dudes. It’s worth a try, right?
In a lot of ways, dating was easier in middle school -- especially when it came to figuring out who liked you. All you had to do was pen a simple note: “Do you like me?”, followed by the boxes “Yes” and “No” (and for those who enjoyed a little mystery, the ever enigmatic “Maybe”). Try to pass a similar note to a gorgeous woman in a crowded bar and she’ll likely turn on her six-inch heels and head for the door. Being an adult is so complicated!
Unfortunately, you can’t just walk up to a woman and say, “I just bought some new sex lube, want to try it out with me?” unless you enjoy getting slapped in public. If you want to score a girlfriend, a date, or you simply want to score, you’ll have to be a little less obvious and, not unlike sex lube, a lot more slick. But your subtlety is likely to be reciprocated and you might have trouble judging if the woman you’re wooing is into you, or if she’s simply being polite. Here are a few of the sneaky signs that prove she’s interested:
A woman who isn’t interested in you won’t ask you what you’re drinking when you approach her at the bar. If you meet her at a concert, she won’t inquire what your favourite song by the performer is, or if this is your first time seeing him play live. Why? Because she doesn’t care. But if the questions you ask her are answered and followed by some questions of her own, according to Brenden Dilley, you’re making a good impression.
Dilley is a Celebrity Life & Relationship Coach and Author of Still Breathin': The Wisdom & Teachings of a Perfectly Flawed Man. He claims that the amount of questions a woman asks you can be a great indicator of her interest. “If you can maintain her gaze, provoke her touch and elicit more questions during conversation, you're on the right path.”
Women who are aware of certain body language signifiers can alter them or hide them, but there are physiological signs of attraction that aren’t as easy to disguise.
“Some argue that women's face, neck, and upper chest redden during the blush of ﬂirtation and the ﬂush of sexual arousal,” says Raj Persaud. So if you’re flirting with a woman and you notice her neck or chest turning red, you’re probably doing something right!
Most women are perfectly capable of changing a light bulb, checking their oil or installing the newest update on their smart phones, but asking a cute guy for help is a time-tested technique for stroking his ego while earning some one-on-one time in the process.
If a woman asks for your assistance on a project she can probably handle on her own, it’s definitely a good sign. So the next time your friend or coworker or friend asks for a hand on a simple project -- help her out!
Women are excellent information gatherers, and when they want to get to know someone, they’ll often send their friends on fact-gathering missions. Even if they aren’t asked to do recon, if a woman has been telling her friends about you, they might be curious enough to do some poking around on their own.
Pay attention to the way her friends act around you -- if they ask you questions about your personal life and seem friendlier than usual, they may be gathering intel.
Does one of your coworkers always seem to be waiting at your favourite table in the break room? She could be timing her breaks with yours so she can spend more time with you. Of course she probably won’t let you know she’s doing this, so you’ll have to pay attention -- if it seems like she’s suddenly free for lunch every time you are, it’s likely not a coincidence.
Engaging with you on social media is also a sign that she might be interested. If a woman likes nearly all of your status updates, replies to your tweets or comments on all your Instagram photos, she’s paying you special attention and is likely trying to draw yours.
A woman who’s interested in you will make herself available, even if just by text or email. Before she heads off to college for fall or leaves for a business trip, she’ll touch base with you to let you know how and when she can be reached.
If she doesn’t provide this info to everyone, even better -- it means you’re special and she values your attention more. In fact, singling you out in general is a sign of attraction. Does she deliver your favourite Starbucks drink to your desk as a surprise without doing the same for anyone else? If so, she likes you more than her other co-workers or acquaintances -- and this is definitely a good sign!
Keep an eye out for these signals if you’re trying to gauge the interest of a woman you’re crushing on, but also remember that attraction is a fluid thing. Just because she does or doesn’t show signs of interest initially doesn’t mean she can’t fall for you over time (or decide you’re actually a creep -- sorry!). Stay vigilant and try to read the signs as your connection to each other grows and changes and who knows -- you might just get to try out that sex lube together after all.
Women -- we want to know if you agree with these signs. Do you find yourself doing these things when you’re interested? Do you have other little signals you send off to guys or gals you’d like to date? Tell us how you show your interest in a comment below.
Ever been gifted a pair of edible panties on your second date? Do you have a husband of 30 years who thinks a $5 box of chocolates from the petrol station is the epitome of romance? When it comes to Valentine’s Day gifts, some shoppers are truly clueless -- but you don’t have to be one of them. Just steal some of our ideas to make sure this year’s V-Day gift is appropriate, fun and most importantly, sexy.
You get to do the no pants dance and there’s no threat of being forced to meet the parents -- it may just be the best of all possible worlds. Celebrate your purely sexual relationship by gifting your romping partner a box of sex toys you can use together. If you’re pretty vanilla, keep it simple with a silk blindfold, some fuzzy cuffs and sleek couple’s vibrator like the Lelo IDA. Add in a toy-friendly water-based lube like Astroglide Gel for the perfect playtime present.
You’ve been dating exclusively for a few months, but neither of you have dropped the big “L word.” You don’t want to give a gift that’s purely sexual, but you aren’t exactly ready to buy a ring either. We recommend a weekend away. Why not spend a few days skiing and cozying up in a private cabin? Enjoy some sparkling wine in a hot tub and watch the sparks fly! Remember -- Astroglide Diamond Silicone Gel is great for water-play, so don’t forget to pack those waterproof sex toys!
You’re at the point in your relationship where you get invited to dinner parties as a couple and everyone you know views you as a single unit -- which kind of makes you feel like some cool superhero duo. You’re no longer worried about scaring your partner off with “adventurous” gifts, so take advantage of that security and get a little wild. Try a new twist on that jewelry gift by giving her this Incognito Droplet Necklace with built-in vibrating nipple clamps. Or spring for something you can both enjoy and invest in a perennial favourite -- the Hitachi Magic Wand.
When you’ve been together longer than you’ve been apart, passionate lovemaking sessions might be a rarity. Reconnect by choosing gifts that are more sensual than sexual -- like a massage oil candle. Not only will the candlelight set the mood, but once melted, the wax can be used as a soothing massage oil. Perfect for pampering your partner and falling in love (and lust) all over again.
Still not quite sure if these Valentine’s Day gifts would hit the mark? Then try this -- think back to the gifts your partner has given you in the past. Their gifting strategy can tell you a lot about what they think is sexy and romantic, so try mimicking their giving style.
And before you head out to get your gift, help your fellow shoppers pick the perfect present by telling us in a comment -- what’s the best Valentine’s Day gift you ever received? Even better -- what was the worst?
Not since the heyday of Fabio-covered paperback romance novels has erotic literature been so prevalent on the nightstands of horny housewives. The tome that changed the landscape of the kink-curious masses is, of course, Fifty Shades of Grey. Yet unlike previous generations of cleverly disguised smut, Shades touched a nerve with a wider demographic, including millions of young women who graduated from the fairytale land of Twilight less than a decade ago.
What was it that compelled over 100 million people to purchase British author E. L. James’s 2011 erotic romance novel? In a word - escape. Yet the book, its two sequels and the new film adaptation have caused an uproar within the BDSM community, as many feel the story incorrectly portrays the world of bondage.
What’s the number one bone of contention? Namely, consent (or rather, lack thereof) between the dominant Christian Grey and his curious sub, Anastasia. We’ll let the expert critics explain what they feel the books got wrong about the true world of bondage.
Astroglide’s Resident Sexologist and author of The Little Book of Kink, Jess, is quick to point out one of the stereotypes that the book, perhaps inadvertently, perpetuates.
“Christian Grey’s interest in BDSM is tied to his mother’s abuse and neglect reinforcing the myth that kinky people are abuse victims. This is certainly not the case.
Mistress Trinity (a sex-positive feminist, dominatrix and kink expert with a Master's degree in Philosophy) agrees with the negative connotations of the abuse myth. In her recent Huffington Post article, Fifty Shades of Meh: A Real Dominatrix Takes On the Bestseller, she explains her view.
“Fifty Shades doesn't explore BDSM as a potentially meaningful, consensual sexual practice to the individual or collective female experience. Rather, the book keeps the taboo in kink with the misconception that a person must be really messed up (abused) to explore this erotic practice. It also doesn't explore the beauty and the power of submission, nor does it touch on the harder elements of BDSM play.”
“Most people enjoy some component of kinky sex (blindfolds, spanking, dirty talk, etc.) and their preferences are not the result of childhood abuse, period,” continues Jess. “Research continues to confirm that a history of childhood abuse is no higher within kink communities and the attachment styles of kinksters are in no way significantly different from those who identify as vanilla.”
Beyond unfairly linking childhood abuse with the bondage community, what is it about this particular story that gets under the skin of those who had already embraced the lifestyle? To get to the heart of the debate, we spoke with Mike Stabile, the head of media relations for San Francisco's Kink University. If this sounds like the type of school you’d like to attend, you’re probably right. Among other pro-kink events, they’re running a four-day 50 Skills of Grey Symposium, precisely because they think that proper BDSM practices aren't represented in the movie.
“Consent is the cornerstone of BDSM, and it's what separates the fantasy of control with actual control,” Stabile continues. “Sure, Christian presents Anastasia with a contract. But later he disregards it, as he does with safe words, as an impediment. In real BDSM, the submissive is always the one in control, the one who determines what can or cannot be done, when the scene is stopped. The fantasy may be that all control has been given away -- but in reality, a submissive can and should be able to revoke their consent at anytime.”
So the Fifty Shades of Grey story stereotypes BDSM participants as abuse victims and misses the mark on consent. Certainly, such a wildly popular novel couldn’t have done anything else to raise the ire of such a liberal-minded community as kink enthusiasts? But wait, there’s more…
Darren Michaels, author of Flipside Erotica Presents: Both Sides of the Story, offers his critique. “There were several points in the BDSM realm that 50 Shades missed. First and foremost, the ‘romantically falling in love at the end’ premise is weak. BDSM is about control -- one person is in control and the other one submits. This is somewhat of a hard and fast rule as far as I'm aware.”
That often misunderstood dynamic of control is also a concern of Tammy Nelson, Sexologist and author of Getting the Sex You Want. “BDSM, or bondage, discipline or domination, sado-masochism, is really about power and someone being in control. And yet the submissive partner is always the one who has the most control. The one who is submissive always has the ability to use a safe word and can stop the ‘play’ at any time.”
But surely most of the Fifty Shades audience is aware that they’re experiencing a fictional story and can separate the fantasy of an author from the reality of a lifestyle enjoyed by consenting adults, right? Not necessarily, according to Nelson.
“Young women watching the movie or reading the book may mistake power for giving in, giving up and for signing off. My fear is that less experienced women who are watching the movie will start responding to their boyfriends and husbands in ways that allow things to happen that are not pleasurable, that cause pain without pleasure and that could be dangerous. Or worse, some women may even begin to contact men online, predators looking for a submissive woman, and they will sign up for something they are not prepared to experience.”
When asked what sort of confusion Fifty Shades of Grey has caused her clients, Nelson says, “One thing that couples want to know is how to create the dynamic of a BDSM relationship, without ‘hurting’ their partner. They look to Fifty Shades of Grey as a manual. But they could be getting themselves, and their partner, into trouble.”
Despite the contradictions between this novel and what most people who identify as kinky proclaim to be the rules of BDSM -- even the harshest critics admit that the spotlight shining on the world of whips and chains has a bright side. Darren Michaels sees one important upside to the world’s relatively sudden mass-exposure to kink. “On a positive note, the breakdown of barriers and cultural acceptance of a typically taboo topic is wonderful.”
Tammy Nelson also agrees that the hoopla surrounding the Fifty Shades of Grey book series, and now the film, is not without its merits. She points to a unique aspect of the story that often gets overshadowed by the darker elements.
“Most bodice rippers are about capturing the heart and sexual attention of a man who is a chronic bad boy, a man who has sex with other women and who finally pays attention to us. But not here. We finally have a sexual hero who throws us down on the bed, rips our clothes off, ties us up and spanks the hell out of us.”
So what does inspire millions of “vanilla” sex lovers to stretch their boundaries and explore—or at least fantasise about—the type of kinky pleasures written about in Fifty Shades of Grey? Jess sums it up quite simply. “The desire for kinky sex likely develops as a result of both evolutionary and cultural factors, as it incorporates primal urges, taboo subjects, novelty, physical excitement and intense interpersonal connections.”
Whichever side of the Fifty Shades debate you lean toward, one thing is undeniable: this story has dominated the conversation around kinky sex more than any other in our lifetime. We encourage an open dialogue with your partners before you explore any rough stuff. For a quick primer course, be sure to read Jess’s article, A Lighter Shade of Grey: the Beginner's Guide to Kink.
Have the experts in this article changed the way you view E. L. James’s popular novel and the hype surrounding it?
Unlike cats and creepy porcelain dolls, you can never have too many sex toys. From vibes to whips, slings to swings -- sex toys are kind of like kinky little snowflakes, and no two are exactly alike. That’s part of what makes creating your own collection of bedroom bondage gear so fun. If you’re ready to give it a go and begin building your own lusty legacy, we’ve got the shopping list to stock you S&M toy box. This list will help you fulfill every shade of your wildest fantasies.
Before you can start amassing your kinky arsenal, you’ll need to choose how you’ll store your sex toys.
A Tiny Toy Box. Not all of us need an extra room to store all of our bedroom bondage gear. If you think you’ll be happy with a few small spicy items, choose a toy box that’s small enough to fit on your nightstand. You can even re-purpose a jewellry box like this one that’s lined with red velvet.
Secret Storage. Want to make the most of your toy box? Store your sex toys in an ottoman with a secret compartment. There’s never been a spicier way to add seating to your bedroom!
Naughty Narnia. If you’re planning on collecting as many kinky toys and tools as you can get your hands on, we recommend opting for a full wardrobe -- one with locks, of course.
Old Faithful. If there’s a sex toy more widely used than the dildo, we can’t think of it. Try a simple dildo with a sleek design that’s sure to offer G-spot stimulation like the LELO Ella. And don’t forget about the male G-spot!
Good Vibrations. Ramp that dildo up a notch by selecting one with multiple vibration settings. Choose a “rabbit” style vibe for added clitoral stimulation or ditch the dildo style altogether and opt for a more precise pocket vibe.
The Perfect Plug. Anal plugs come in third in our list of classic sex toys. To make this addition to your toy chest special, choose a blown glass or jewelled plug with extra sparkle.
Light as a Feather. Tantalise and tease with a classic feather whip. If you’ve never used a whip before in the bedroom, this is a great place to start.
A Training Crop. Nothing helps an eager partner obey your commands better than a classic riding crop.
Get Cracking. If you’re ready to really punish that naughty partner of yours, adding a leather whip with a braided handle to your sex toy box is an absolute must.
Beginner’s Bondage. If you’ve never been tied up or tied up someone yourself, beginning with bondage tape is the way to go. It allows you to practice and experiment safely and easily until you figure out the bondage scenarios and positions that really rev your engines.
Sexy Straps. Make the most of that four-post bed with a bedroom restraint kit. You’ll love teasing and pleasing your partner as they beg for release.
Roped and Ready. Where art meets BDSM, you’ll find Japanese bondage rope. Its strength and silky texture make it perfect for putting partners in any position you can dream up -- and keeping them there for as long as they like.
Comfy Collar. Not all collars are created equal. Choose one that’ll keep your partner comfortable -- like this adjustable collar that’s lined with soft faux fur.
Kinky Cuffs. Forget metal police cuffs that can cut and bruise wrists. Opt for supple leather cuffs instead. You can even match them to your collar to complete your look!
Leading Leashes. What’s the use of a collar without a leash? Faux or real leather versions can even double as whips for impact play.
Silicone Lube. If you’re getting down and dirty with a whole collection of new whips and chains, consider Astroglide X Silicone your new favourite sex lube. This unique formula boasts serious staying power, and it’s great for water play.
Warming Lube. Astroglide Warming Lube is great for getting in the mood -- and even better for teasing a partner with vibes and other toys while they’re tied up!
Gentle Lube. In the world of S&M, there’s good pain and there’s bad pain. For sensitive skin, there’s no better choice of sex lube than Astroglide Sensitive Skin Gel.
Classic Swing. You may need a bigger toy box for this one. Adjustable ceiling-hanging harnesses like the Trinity Sex Swing include padded stirrups for comfort and powerful springs to making swinging and bouncing even more fun.
Suspension Bars. Use a suspension bar to immobilise your partner’s hands or feet (or both) while you tease them with all your favourite sex toys.
Arm Binders. If you don’t have the patience for tying intricate knots with Japanese bondage rope, arm and leg binders are the way to go.
You could rush out and buy everything on this list, but if you ask us it’s much more fun to purchase sex toys one at a time -- it prolongs the excitement and helps you learn what you like as you go. Plus, springing a single pocket vibe or satin blindfold on your partner is a lot less jarring than welcoming them home from a weekend away with a completely outfitted pleasure dungeon.
Think you know all there is to know about sex? We bet some of these sex terms will surprise you. Thanks to the real-time nature of social media, language is evolving faster than a radio host on an Astroglide-covered Slip-N-Slide!
Luckily for you, we’ve compiled a mini dictionary of sexual descriptions that you may have heard your friends mention in a joke, but were too embarrassed to admit not knowing the definition of. (Don’t worry, we had to Google sploshing, too.)
With so much hype surrounding a certain kinky book and film these days, fetishes involving handcuffs and blindfolds have become mainstream. Meanwhile, countless sex enthusiasts are quietly enjoying a host of fetishes that many people might be surprised to learn actually exist.
In our ongoing campaign of inclusivity, we thought it was only fair to shine a spotlight on some of these lesser-known fetishes that are just as real as BDSM to the people who partake in them.
1. Agalmatophilia - So you fancy yourself an art lover? If your attraction to statues extends into sexual fantasy, you might have agalmatophilia. This fetish also involves a lust for mannequins and dolls, which is a bit easier to appease with the realism of today’s modern sex dolls.
2. Autoplushophilia - Do you get aroused dressing up as a giant cartoon-like stuffed animal? You’re not alone. Many fine folks within the furry fandom community enjoy this fun fetish while only a small percentage of them also claim to be plushophiles (i.e., turned on by stuffed animals).
3. Formicophilia - Believe it or not, there are people who not only enjoy having insects crawl on them, but get their jollies from it. To each their own but, we have to be honest, this one sort of bugs us.
4. Gerontophilia - Although recent research shows that the number one term people search for on porn sites is “teen” followed by “milf” in third-place, the nubile college girls and sly cougars aren’t for everyone. Gerontophilia refers to those who prefer the sexual allure of senior citizens. Score one for the Golden Girls!
5. Katoptronophilia - If you’ve ever fantasized about getting busy in the House of Mirrors at your local carnival, you may have katoptronophilia -- a condition that involves being aroused by having sex in front of mirrors. Then again, you may just be extremely vain -- like Patrick Bateman in American Psycho vain.
6. Knismolagnia - Do you consider being tickled torturous or titillating? If you chose the latter, you may be a knismolagniac. If you are, you might want to seek out playmates who have titillagnia (you guessed it, a sexual fetish for tickling others).
7. Nasolingus - While sex organs and occasionally fingers or toes are often thought of as the most erogenous appendages to nibble and suck on, people with nasolingus are far more turned on by sucking on their partner’s nose. This gives a whole new meaning to the term, nose job.
8. Nebulophilia - If you’ve ever wondered why you get excited on foggy mornings, it could be more than an affinity for John Carpenter’s 1980 horror classic -- you may actually be sexually attracted to the fog!
9. Podophilia - No, we’re not talking about a sci-fi fetish involving sex in a Matrix-like pod. Podophilia is an arousal to feet and it’s actually one of the more common kinks on our list. Don’t believe us? Google “foot fetish” -- we’ll wait. Just be sure to clear your browser history if you’re reading this at work.
10. Pubephilia - More than one recent report indicates that pubic hair is making a comeback. If you have pubephilia, this could be the dawning of a glorious new era in hair down there.
11. Oculophilia - Oculophiles are people who have a sexual attraction to eyes. This could be as mild as a proclivity for a certain shape or eye colour, but more often oculophilia refers to those who actually prefer sexual contact with the eyeball. With this vision in mind, you’ll never look at your optometrist the same.
12. Osmolagnia - Some people need dirty talk to get their juices flowing. Others require a sexy visual. Osmolagniacs, on the other hand, are most stimulated by smells (particularly body odors). So take it easy on the Axe Body Spray and let your pheromones do their thing the way nature intended.
13. Pony Play - One of the most popular forms of human animal roleplay is Pony Play. We’re not talking about the adult version of playing dollie with your My Little Pony figures. This is a real, underground scene and offshoot of the BDSM community in which one partner takes on the role of a pony. This often includes harnesses, brushes, costumes, and even rewarding good behavior with a carrot (though we’re not sure if that’s metaphorically speaking or refers to actual vegetable treats).
14. Retifism - Jess points out on her blog that retifism refers to sexual arousal that is derived from shoes. As she so eloquently explains “Since the foot is the most common fetish in North America, it’s no surprise that there are a ton of retifists in our midst. Here’s to sky-high heels in the bedroom!”
15. Salirophilia - Salirophiles enjoy dirtying, damaging and defiling the appearance others. If you’ve ever fantasised about smearing someone’s makeup or tearing their clothing to shreds, you may be a salirophile. If you plan to act on this urge, be sure to get consent (and the number of a good tailor).
16. Sapiosexual - If you find yourself coyly lingering around your professor’s podium after class or if crashing a MENSA meeting is your idea of the perfect singles club -- you may be a sapiosexual. This means you’re turned on by intelligence smarty pants.
17. Sacofricosis - While we consider this more a stroke of genius than a fetish, sacofricosis is when someone makes a hole in their pocket to allow handy access for stealth public masturbation.
18. Xylophilia - Does wood, well, give you wood? Xylophilia is an actual fetish and might just explain why some of your schoolmates spent so much time earning extra credit in woodshop class. Watch out for splinters!
Now that you’ve done your homework and increased your coital vocabulary to sexpert level, we thought it would be fun to end the article with a less scholastic list of sex terms.
Even the word “innuendo” sounds dirty in a juvenile way. Here are some of our favourite euphemisms for intercourse that might just make your mum blush.
7. Doing the Nasty
8. Getting Busy
14. Knocking Boots
20. Rolling in the Hay
9. Getting Your Groove On
15. Making the Beast with Two Backs
4. Bumping Uglies
10. Gland-to-Gland Combat
16. Making Sexy Time
5. Doing It
11. Hanky Panky
17. Making Whoopee
23. Sleeping Together
6. Doing the Mattress Dance
12. Hooking Up
So there you have it -- a glorious glossary to bookmark and share. As mature as we try to be, sex terms still have a way of making us giggle like school children telling dirty jokes at recess. There’s no shame in that because in addition to providing the best lube for sex, Astroglide is committed to removing the stigma and taboo surrounding conversations about sex.
How do you maintain a healthy sex life when you and your partner live hundreds or thousands of kilometres apart? Perhaps one or both of you travel a lot for work or maybe you’ve got a spouse stationed overseas for an assignment. While it’s said that absence makes the heart grow fonder, staying sexually satisfied in a monogamous relationship presents unique challenges when the physical touch of your lover is beyond your fingertips.
We reached out to six leading sexperts who share their best tips to help you keep your LDR (long distance relationship) smoking hot!
1. Let’s kick off our column with The Love Guru Blaire who founded Six Figure Singles, a site that helps traveling executives, entrepreneurs and celebrities find healthy relationships. Her short, concise advice will be a common thread throughout this article. Blaire’s simple tip to keep the LDR burning? “Web chat — sexy web cam and mutual masturbation phone sex.”
2. Not comfortable getting frisky online or over the phone? Astroglide’s Resident Sexologist, Jess has some creative advice for bashful communicators. “Get racy in the dark. Filming yourself in the throes of solo passion might be too intimidating, so consider sending a very short clip of your self-pleasure session filmed in the dark. Your lover will benefit from the sounds -- and the lack of a clear picture helps to build mystery and anticipation.”
Jess is no stranger to maintaining the LDR (to get an idea of her demanding travel schedule, simply take a look at the events page on her website). So aside from gifting your distant lover with steamy masturbation clips, what real-time methods does she recommend for interactive thrills? “Meet in an adult chat room online and get naughty! Using a nickname might help you to shed your inhibitions.”
3. Tina B. Tessina, (aka D Romance) who [literally] wrote the book on staying close during a long distance relationship. She’s the author of The Commuter Marriage: Keep Your Relationship Close While You're Far Apart. D Romance makes a good point in that you can plant the seeds for your time apart before your partner leaves, then follow through with her relationship maintenance tips once you’re apart:
Leave Notes: Before you leave on a trip, plant some little post-it notes -- inside the cupboard doors, in the mailbox, under your spouse's pillow, etc. If you're the stay-at-home spouse, tuck a few surprises into your mate's suitcase, briefcase or between the pages of a book he or she is taking.
Daily Special Phone Call: Keep the phone as special as you can. Handle mundane business via email, IM or text message and keep the phone for making that intimate connection. As often as possible, schedule a phone call every day—at a quiet time—for some intimate conversation. If you have children, either speak to them first or in a separate call. If you do need to make a call to handle problems, business or decisions (or if you don't have access to email) then find a way to designate a special call for intimate conversation or, at the very least, develop a signal to say that the business part of the call is over and your special time is beginning.
Use Snail Mail: Nothing is more intimate than a love note. Mail is one of the advantages living apart has over living together. Sending little gifts, notes, cards, postcards or pictures to your partner (whether you're the one at home or the one away) takes only a moment and racks up a huge score on the intimacy chart.
When you're at a chemist , grocery store or card shop, pick up a few affectionate or amusing cards, and maybe a little gift or two (it doesn't need to be expensive, a keychain or candle is fine) and then send them at random moments. Send a postcard with a scene of where you are, or a cartoon cut from the paper or a magazine. If you have cards, stamps and envelopes on hand, it's very simple to drop one in the mail.
Create a Smile: Think in terms of making your partner smile as often as you can while you're apart. If you have a nice thought about a time you spent together, write it down so you don't forget to talk about it.
4. Dawn Serra is a sex and relationship coach who’s managed to maintain a thriving sex life, despite being in a long-distance relationship for over a year. She states positively “Maintaining a healthy sex life across any distance is so easy these days. All it takes is a little flexibility, some creativity and prioritising the time.”
Here are some tips that have helped Dawn’s LDR maintain its steamy status:
¡ñ Send each other letters (the old fashioned way) outlining your latest fantasy.
¡ñ Schedule date nights a few times per week and work around time differences in creative ways. Text each other sexy, naughty thoughts throughout the day (if you're international, spend the $5 or $10 per month for an international texting plan -- it's worth it!). Leverage Skype or Facetime and put on a little show for each other. Record naughty voice messages of yourself masturbating or speaking an erotic scene and email it to your lover so they can listen to it again and again.
¡ñ When you schedule phone sex (or video chat sex), turn off all other distractions, get comfortable and let loose. The first few times may feel awkward but soon it will be a sexy ritual you both look forward to. Tease each other -- draw it out to build anticipation.
¡ñ Tell each other when you masturbate and what you were thinking about. Send sexy pictures using SnapChat or write sexy little notes and take pictures of those to email or put on their Facebook wall.
¡ñ Buy toys that you can use in tandem - if you're a hetero straight couple, the woman can get a dildo or vibrator that's similar in size to her partner and he can get a Fleshlight or something similar. Dictate to each other exactly when the penetration happens, sync up, and make it feel really real. Lose yourself in the moment. There's nothing sexier than hearing your lover lost in pleasure. The new WeVibe 4 can be controlled using an app on your iPhone, so one partner can wear it and the other can control when it turns on and off for some long distance fun!
Ms. Serra sums up the LDR challenge. “The only thing limiting your sex life when you're in different locations is your imagination. You MUST schedule it and make it a priority. After that, the sky’s the limit.”
5. Karen Park is an erotica author who lives in Korea yet her boyfriend is in the U.S. -- so she has first-hand experience with the LDR challenge. Karen explains “While we see each other in person every two months or so, most of our communication is via text and Skype. I am constantly creating sexy scenarios and I often use my boyfriend for inspiration. During the day, I'll text him a teaser of a scene I'm working on -- it's like foreplay that goes on until the next time we're together.”
While that may be easy for a writer, what if you’re literally challenged? No problem, says Park, “I also have a nice collection of vintage pulp erotica and sometimes on Skype I'll read him a particularly sexy scene. That will lead to a conversation about things we'd like to do together in bed and it definitely makes us feel closer, even though we can't touch physically.”
6. The final expert on our panel is Dallisa Hocking, founder of LoveFrogKisser.com a new web service dedicated to helping people develop meaningful relationships online. Her advice includes building intimacy between visits to create a more fulfilling sex life.
Ms. Hocking advises “Treat the time you have between visits as an opportunity to create a deeper connection with one another. It takes time and daily commitment from both people to keep the fire burning.” How does she propose you do this? Here are her tips for you to try:
¡ñ Send daily text messages that are specific and detailed. Examples could include: "I want to do ___ and ___ when I see you." Let your imagination guide you.
¡ñ Be creative. Send a handwritten note in the mail, a recent photo and card from a recent visit or a token from the last time you saw them. An example could include sending a wine cork from a bottle of wine you shared along with a note about how you're looking forward to toasting with them again soon.
¡ñ Use technology to have virtual dates. Move beyond text messages and use FaceTime or Skype to connect. Examples include: having a drink at home "together" after work or cooking dinner at the same time and reflecting on what happened during the day. This takes time and effort, but the connection creates intimacy.
Hocking admits “Long distance relationships are a challenge, but they can succeed and flourish. But, it takes attention and creativity to keep the spark alive.”
So what have we learned from our esteemed panel of unique relationship experts? We’ve broken it down into three essential takeaway tips for you:
1. Communication is Key - Sexting, Skype, steamy calls and even sexy snail mail are all tools that can keep your long distance relationship hot. If you’re nervous about your kinky messages being seen by the wrong person, there’s an app for that! Plume is a free iPhone app developed by CEO Amy Galland because she wanted to “create something private, flirty, sensual and secure for people to use to keep their long-distance relationships spicy.”
2. Schedule Sexytime - While spontaneity is fun under normal relationship circumstances, when your lover is away, schedule specific times to intimately connect (the suspense of waiting for that naughty Skype or Viber is a form of foreplay in itself!)
3. Stay Creative - Use the time between distant rendezvous to dream up erotic new ways to treat your faraway friend to a fresh encounter. Without the benefit of being able to touch them physically, the scenarios you plant into their imagination will have to keep them titillated while they pleasure themselves to your image and ideas.
The general consensus is that distance—while emotionally difficult—can actually lead to a stronger bond as you’re forced to express your passion in different ways. Since you’ll be handling a lot of the physical touching yourself, be sure to keep a fresh supply of your favourite personal lubricant next to your bed. While you’re at it, be a team player and slip a travel-size bottle of Astroglide into your partner’s overnight bag. That way you’ll both share the sensation of a well-lubed, long distance love making session when it’s time to reach out and touch someone!
With so many varieties of personal lubricants available these days, choosing which lube is right for you can be a daunting task. No worries, Astroglide’s handy lube selector tool will help you narrow down your choices in just a few clicks. Let’s say you’re looking for a lubricant that feels smooth after use, lasts a long time and can be used during water play. If that describes you, chances are good that the best lube for you is one of our silicone based lubricants.
But is silicone lube safe? And can you use it with sex toys? We decided to address and debunk some of the myths that you may have heard about silicone lubricants -- because it turns out, there are quite a few of them.
Many people are under the false impression that silicone lubricants will damage all of their sex toys. As Lubezilla points out, “silicone based lubes are fine on toys made of hard materials, like hard plastic, aluminum, ceramic, steel, granite, wood, marble, etc.”
If your sex toy itself is made of or contains silicone, you may want to stick to water based lubricants like Astroglide Liquid or Astroglide Gel. Many reports indicate that silicone lubricants do deteriorate softer sex toys that may also contain silicone, jelly or CyberSkin, due to the way that silicone molecules react with other silicone products.
While everyone’s skin reacts differently to different substances, the fact is silicone lubes are hypoallergenic - meaning these types of personal lubricants are relatively unlikely to cause an allergic reaction. This is good news for people who may have experienced irritation with other lubricants. As with any product you’re putting on your skin, you may want to test a small patch for reaction before applying lube to your most sensitive regions.
The inert qualities of silicone lubricants may actually prevent them from causing a negative reaction. Additionally, many people prefer the silky texture of silicone lube over water based lubes, and enjoy the moisturising effect that it has on their skin.
While it’s true that silicone lubricants may not have the water solubility properties of our water based lubes like Astroglide Aloe Chamomile Liquid, there are benefits to certain silicone lubes that actually make them less messy. For instance, Astroglide Diamond Silicone Gel’s thick, no-drip viscosity means that it stays put where you apply it and is less likely to run off of your body and onto your sheets.
Meanwhile, our other silicone lube—Astroglide X Silicone Liquid—is extremely long lasting compared to most water based lubricants. This means that you’ll get more mileage out of one application with less need to stop the action to apply more. The fewer times you have to reach for the bottle of lube, the less chance of accidental spillage.
Speaking of long-lasting lubricants, both X Silicone Liquid and Diamond Silicone Gel have a tendency to maintain their slipperiness longer than water based lubes, so a little goes a long way. While you may initially pay a few dollars extra for a premium silicone lube, it’s likely to last longer because you won’t need as much of it to get the job done. So the value of the product evens out and with the difference in price negligible, this shouldn’t be the determining factor when asking yourself “which lube is right for me?”
We understand that sometimes money is tight, so if you’re still unsure whether or not silicone lube is as amazing as people say, we’ll put our money where your mouth is. Astroglide will mail you a sample of our new Diamond Silicone Gel (which includes a smooth, fractionated coconut oil) or our popular X Silicone Liquid (made with just two ingredients) to test for yourself.
So now we know that silicone lubricants are longer lasting, latex safe and leave your skin with a silky smooth feeling -- but what else separates them from the water based lube products we offer?
One of the biggest advantages of silicone lubes is that they’re waterproof! Yes, the natural ability of silicone to resist water means that these lubes work great in settings where other lubes wash away. So if you’re into hot tub loving or enjoy extra steamy showers, silicone will stay slick for your water sports and wash away with soap, water and a towel when you’re ready to dry off. Use caution when enjoying silicone lubricants for water play. The same waterproof properties that keep the lube slippery on your skin can make the surface of tubs extremely slick. Watch your footing and be sure to wipe up remaining residue from surfaces once playtime is over.
Now that you’re a lube pro, we encourage you to compare silicone based to water based lubes and tell us which type of Astroglide is the best fit for your lifestyle!
When you work around personal lubricants for a living, it’s easy to take for granted that not everyone is aware of the wonderful benefits lube provides to people who are seeking a more comfortable, intimate experience. Every now and then, we have to step back and remind ourselves that there are still many folks out there who have either a) never tried lube or b) don’t even know that it exists or what it’s for. One of our goals at Astroglide is to help educate the public on the role lube can play in enhancing their sexual experience.
We also think it’s important to debunk myths about personal lubricant, and provide a reliable source of information for people to learn about lube before making up their own minds about which type of lube is right for them. Ultimately, whether you decide to incorporate personal lubricant as part of your sexual experience or not is up to you, but we want to be certain that if you choose not to, it isn’t due to any outdated stigma or misinformation.
This is why we’ve created the following list of things you need to know about lube, but may have been afraid to ask.
A personal lubricant is a water, silicone or oil-based substance that is used to reduce friction, dryness and chafing of your body parts during sex. Lubricants, such as those made by Astroglide, can also be used to help relieve vaginal dryness / menopause dryness which can result from dehydration due to menopause, breast feeding, treatment side-effects, post treatment, stress or any number of factors.
There are many different formulas for the various types of lubricants on the shelves today, but the reason Astroglide has become an industry leader in this market is that we keep our product line narrowed down to two basic categories: water based lubricants and silicone based lubes.
We also believe that the public has the right to know what goes into any substance they’re applying to their body, which is why we list the ingredients of each of our lubes on their individual product pages. We believe this transparency builds a level of trust with our customers, and allows each person to discover which product is the best fit for their body and lifestyle.
This is one of the most frequently asked questions about personal lubes and, again, the answer as to which lube base is best for you depends on many factors. For example, if you’re someone who loves to play in the water with your significant other, the waterproof qualities of our silicone based lubes are a great fit for your fetish.
If, however, your favourite pastime involves self-play on fancy satin sheets with a variety of soft silicone sex toys, then you’d want to choose one of our water based lubes for that. Water based lubes rinse off easily and won’t break down the silicone coating used on certain sex toys.
There are as many answers to this question as there are people who ask it, because the true answer is unique to each individual. Even if you’ve enjoyed sex for years without any additional lubrication, you might want to broaden your horizons and see what all of the hype is about when it comes to the sensations many people enjoy after adding lube to their repertoire.
Keeping your sex life fresh and exciting requires a bit of creativity. If you’re the type of lover who likes to go above and beyond the missionary requirements, you should consider introducing a few special effects to your performance. Why not stimulate all of your partner’s senses next time by surprising them with the subtle, sweet taste of Astroglide Strawberry Liquid for an oral experience they’ll never forget?
Like it spicy? Astroglide Warming Liquid will make those sensitive spots tingle in ways that no ordinary lube can. Gentle, yet exhilarating, the sensation of this specialty lube will turn the heat up on your passion even on the coldest of nights.
Think back to your high school physics class when you learned about the potentially harmful impact of friction. Better yet, let’s look at the Merriam-Webster Dictionary definition.
friction noun fric·tion ˈfrik-shən - the force that causes a moving object to slow down when it is touching another object
When you’re in the throes of passion, the last thing you probably want is to have your moving objects slow down. The slippery effect that lube has on intimate body parts in motion can perpetuate longer-lasting enjoyment and ease the pain that some people encounter after prolonged sexual activity (or any sexual activity, particularly if vaginal dryness is an issue).
In addition to the purely mechanical benefits of lubrication, once you’ve got that trusty bottle on your nightstand, you’ll be tempted to explore some advanced techniques, like those described by our Resident Sexologist, Jess, in her post 10 Ways to Enjoy the Magic of Lube.
Although the human body often does provide adequate natural lubrication for sex (such as the additional fluid a woman’s vagina produces when she’s sexually aroused), there are times when this doesn’t happen or isn’t enough. Many factors can contribute to vaginal dryness, including side effects of medication, dehydration and menopause to name a few. Let’s face it, sometimes you just want a quickie and the body’s natural process might not respond fast enough to provide the desired amount of moisture.
Because many people associate a woman’s tendency to produce vaginal lubrication with being aroused, it can cause a form of performance anxiety that temporarily shuts down the flow. Think of it in terms of a guy who experiences to “stage fright.” For women, “getting wet” may cause the same sort of pressure guys feel to “get hard” on demand when the moment calls for it.
With the assistance of personal lubricants, such as those manufactured by Astroglide, couples can be ready to enjoy easy, smooth insertion when the mood strikes, not only when the forces of nature align. And don’t even get us started on using spit as a lube. We’ve got three words for why we don’t encourage saliva as a primary source of personal lubrication: bacteria and viral pathogens. DO NOT USE SPIT AS LUBE.
While we fully support and enjoy the many wonderful items you can find in your local adult novelty store (who’s got time to go to the town livery stable for a new riding crop?), there are many convenient places to purchase personal lubricants these days.
Chances are, you won’t have to go further than your local grocery store or chemist to pick up a bottle of Astroglide. In fact, we’ve made it as easy as possible to find places to purchase lube by providing you with a handy store locator link -- including several online options, if you’d prefer to have it delivered to your door!
As we mentioned in our previous blog post, 4 Myths About Silicone Lube Debunked, a lot of personal lubricants are actually hypoallergenic, meaning they’re unlikely to cause an allergic reaction. In fact, many users claim that lubricants prevent them from experiencing the types of skin irritations that non-lubricated sexual contact can cause. Combine this with the moisturising effect that lube has on skin, and you may find yourself using it more often that you anticipated!
With that said, when trying out a new lube it’s always a good idea to test a small patch of skin before generously applying to your most sensitive areas. As will all substances you put on your skin, it’s best to err on the side of caution and see how your body reacts first. For people with extra sensitive skin, we recommend trying our Sensitive Skin Gel, Aloe Chamomile Liquid or our traditional Astroglide Liquid formula first.
Also, keep in mind that if you experience skin irritation during sexual activity, it could be due to a variety of reasons (for more details, check out our blog post: 3 Sex Tips for People with Sensitive Skin).
That same slippery sensation that makes personal lubricants so enjoyable for sex with a partner is just as important when you’re playing with the one you love most -- yourself! The friction-reducing properties of lube can create a very pleasurable experience for men and women alike.
Whether you prefer playing with toys or your hands, a little lube goes a long way. You’ll be surprised at how a few drops can take this routine you’ve been practicing for years into entirely new, sensational areas of ecstasy.
If you’ve read this far, we applaud your dedication to pleasure and knowledge, and look forward to helping you take the next step to exploring a new level of intimacy. We realise that with nine unique products in our personal lubrication line, choosing the right lube might be a bit confusing -- even armed with the facts provided in this article. That’s why we developed this simple lube selector tool!
With just three clicks, you pick the qualities that are most important to you in a lube, and our tool narrows down your choices to recommend the best personal lubricant for you! How’s that for better living through technology?
Did the research and FAQs that we explored in this article live up to the title - Everything You Need to Know About Personal Lubricant? Hopefully we’ve helped you learn more about the wonderful ways that lube can enhance your intimate experiences.
If we missed anything or there are still lingering questions that you have about our products or personal lubricants in general, please let us know in the comment section below. We’ll be happy to answer you and, who knows, we may even use your ideas in a future article to help others who have the same questions. After all, we’re all here for the same reason -- to explore pleasure and intimacy and experience the most enjoyable sex imaginable!
When you’re used to having a certain degree of natural lubrication for your lady parts, it can be somewhat unsettling to experience a sudden dry spell down below. You may be asking yourself, is it normal to have a dry vagina? The simple answer is that vaginal dryness is more common than you might think.
The causes of this unpleasant condition, however, might surprise you. To set your mind at ease, we’ve outlined 9 possible causes of vaginal dryness, along with a few recommendations on how you can alleviate the problem.
Let’s begin with the elephant in the room -- lack of arousal. A woman’s body is designed to produce a slippery natural lubrication when she is sexually aroused in order to facilitate the insertion of a man’s penis into her vagina. At least that’s how it’s supposed to work according to the textbooks we read in Sex Ed class.
In the real world, women may simply be too distracted -- or perhaps need a bit more warming up than their partner does -- when it’s time to have intercourse. In this case, the solution could be as simple as building up the sexual anticipation with more foreplay. Some women have other triggers, like fantasizing or naughty talk, that help them get going.
Here are three things to keep in mind:
A. Just because a woman’s not “wet”, doesn’t necessarily mean she’s not aroused (as we’ll explore in the other 8 causes of vaginal dryness below).
B. If lack of arousal is the cause of vaginal dryness, an open dialog between partners can do wonders for discovering what will stimulate sexual arousal. The main takeaway? Don’t be shy when it comes to explaining what gets your motor running.
C. If the lack of arousal is to blame for vaginal dryness but both partners still want to get to third base, using a personal lubricant is a secure, fun way to kickstart the action.
Let’s face it, everyone experiences stress to a certain degree and, in recent years, it’s been linked to an increasing number of physical problems. Many people associate a woman’s tendency to produce vaginal lubrication with her sexual arousal, and when it doesn’t happen it can cause a form of performance anxiety -- akin to the stage fright that makes it hard for some guys to get an erection under pressure (as we mentioned in our previous post, Everything You Need to Know About Personal Lubricants (But Were Too Afraid to Ask)).
Performance anxiety aside, any number of outside stressors in a woman’s life can spill over into the bedroom and lead to a dry vagina. While the oxytocin released by the brain during orgasm can be a healthy form of stress release itself, it may take some serious relaxation techniques to get in the mood for sexual activity, if that’s even the goal.
Find what helps you unwind, whether it’s yoga stretches, relaxing music, a massage or perhaps a favourite drink. When your mind is feeling less stressed, your body will often follow. If a lack of vaginal lubrication is causing you further stress, take matters into your own hands and use a personal lube like Astroglide Liquid to moisturise your most intimate areas. After all, you’ve got enough on your mind so why not let us take care of the lubrication until your body’s back on track?
Sorry party girl, if you want to keep your vajayjay moist and healthy, you’ve got to snuff the butts and chill out on the booze. Why, you ask? According to Laura Berman, in her article at Everyday Health, “Cigarettes can decrease circulation, which could intensify vaginal dryness. Alcohol can decrease your sensations and lead to a dry vagina, so limit yourself to only one or two glasses of wine, especially if you plan on having sex later.”
Please note the importance of the word “strenuous” here, and keep in mind that regular exercise is actually a key component to maintaining your overall health -- including the health of your vagina. Confused? Don’t be. Just think of how many times you’ve heard the phrase “everything in moderation” and realize that when it comes to avoiding vaginal dryness, intense rigorous exercise has been known to dry a vagina -- at least immediately following said workout.
Find that healthy balance so that you’re maintaining your overall health and circulation without causing too much stress on your body.
At first, it may seem surprising to hear that new mothers experience vaginal dryness. After all, the body is creating and discharging so many fluids to aid in the birthing and nursing process during this time, one might think that providing vaginal lubrication would be at the top of mother nature’s to-do list. Not so, say the experts at Parents Magazine.
“While you're nursing, your body produces less of the hormone estrogen, which can cause the tissues in your vagina to be thinner and drier than usual. The good news is that things should get back to normal after you wean your baby. Until then, you can use a water-based vaginal lubricant.”
What if you’re not breastfeeding but still experience vaginal dryness after giving birth? This could be a temporary imbalance that your body will regulate on its own. But if you’re concerned or the symptoms persist, ask your health care professional for their advice.
It’s normal for a woman’s hormone levels to dip while she’s on her period. One of the primary hormones responsible for keeping your vagina moist during menstruation is estrogen. When your estrogen levels are depleted, vaginal dryness can be an irritating side effect, especially when it comes to inserting a tampon.
One quick fix for this is to apply a small amount of personal lubricant on the applicator to make it easier to slide the tampon in. Better yet, you may want to consider avoiding tampons, which can, by their absorbent nature, dry out the inside of the vagina. Try using a pad instead, at least on days with high menstrual flow. You may want to refrain from wearing panty liners when you’re not on your period, as these can also wick natural moisture away from your most sensitive parts.
And finally, at the number one spot, we address the most common cause of vaginal dryness, menopause. According to a report by this website, “vaginal dryness is a hallmark sign of vaginal atrophy (atrophic vaginitis) — thinning and inflammation of the vaginal walls due to a decline in estrogen.”
Some recommend taking oral supplements or applying bioidentical estrogen creams to alleviate the symptoms associated with postmenopausal vaginal dryness. While it’s certainly wise to seek the opinion of your OB/GYN for treatment of severe vaginal dryness, many women prefer to use a gentle lube such as Astroglide Gel or Aloe Chamomile Liquid to moisturise their vagina, especially when the main concern is making sex more comfortable.
So there you have it ladies, nine surprising causes of vaginal dryness along with some helpful tips on how to treat your symptoms. If nothing else, hopefully we’ve cleared up some misconceptions and set your mind at ease by explaining how common this issue really is. But wait, there’s more!
As we researched this article to share various expert opinions with you, certain advice stood out above the rest. For example, we love the practicality of Deborah Kotz’s top three tips in her definitive U.S. News & World Report article on the subject, Painful Sex: 6 Ways to Relieve Vaginal Dryness:
Stay hydrated. Drinking six to eight glasses of water a day will help keep your tissues moist, including those below the belt.
Lubricate, and lubricate some more. Many women achieve instant relief simply by using a lubricant. You may need to experiment to find one that works best for you.
No two women are exactly the same, so the advice in this article is meant as a broad overview of common causes for the symptoms described above. The most important thing is to never suffer in silence. Don’t be afraid to talk to your Health Care Professional about this condition. For that matter, don’t be ashamed to speak with your partner or close friends if you’re experiencing discomfort.
We’re all about removing the taboo around health issues, so If you’ve found any remedies that have helped you, please feel free to share in the comment section below. Your personal experience may help alleviate the pain of someone else who feels too embarrassed to ask about one of the most common issues women face, vaginal dryness (feel free to remain anonymous!).
Pickup artistry bills itself as a sort of dating life hack. Attracting women, according to the pickup artist, is a game, and one you can win if you know the rules. For the type of shy, nerdy heterosexual men pickup artists (or PUA's) are reaching out to, this is an appealing pitch — like a Konami cheat code for becoming the playboy you always looked up to.
Too often, though, pickup artistry borrows misogynistic stereotypes of the woman as both harlot and hard to get, a natural opponent who has to be tricked into following you into the bedroom. It makes you wonder: can anything worthwhile be salvaged from pickup artistry?
As it happens, if you strip away the sexism, you can actually manage to dig up some helpful advice. Luckily, we’ve done the work for you:
News flash: most women care about how you present yourself. If you’re rolling into your favourite watering hole wearing an old, baggy t-shirt, your hair a mess and your body odor questionable, chances are you won’t be getting sultry glances from across the room.
Pickup artists stress that you should dress and comport yourself like the playboys you see in film. Want an edge on the dating game? Treat yourself to a fancy shave and haircut, and bring your nicest threads to a tailor for a custom fit. No matter what your body shape, a tailored outfit will make you look a hundred times better. While you’re at it, go easy on the cologne. She shouldn’t be able to smell it until she’s close enough to show she’s interested in you.
Admittedly, this is easier said than done. Anxiety can be brutal, and low confidence can take years of concerted effort to overcome completely. But the good news is that small things can drastically improve your confidence around women — for example, putting on that perfectly tailored outfit we were just talking about. It can also help to keep a condom and some Astroglide water-based lube in your pocket, just for good luck. You might not have the playboy’s effortless charm, but if it took Bond levels of suave to get play, the population would have died out ages ago. Take a deep breath, and be yourself.
One of the most maligned PUA tricks is called “negging.” Beautifully illustrated in this XKCD comic, negging plays on the idea that manipulating a woman’s self esteem is the first step toward manipulating her to sleep with you. Basically, you walk up to a beautiful woman and open up the conversation by insulting her. Yes, really. If this works the way the books claim, she’ll be intrigued by your high standards, and want to prove herself to you. More often, though, you’ll probably end up with a well-deserved drink in your face (if you roll like a slimeball, be prepared to get treated like one).
While negging is a deplorable dating practice, it is true that a woman will be more interested in a unique opening line than by nervous attempt at small talk. When the pressure’s off, try writing a few down. Ask your lady friends what works for them. At the end of the night, “Who in this room is most likely to be a double agent?” will be much more memorable than “Sup?”
While this advice may not bring out the playboy hidden inside, it can definitely open some doors you might not have expected.
So you’ve made the decision to grow your family. This should be easy, right? We’ve all had the birds and the bees talk and have at least a working knowledge of where babies come from. The best part is that it couldn’t be more fun — just take your clothes off, do what comes naturally, and a few weeks later you’ll see those tell-tale red or blue lines on the pregnancy test, right?
Unfortunately, despite what multiple nights binge-watching I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant might imply, trying to conceive is not so easy for many couples. Only 30% of couples successfully achieve pregnancy after trying for one cycle (about one month), while for nearly two thirds of couples, it takes at least three cycles. Not only that, but one out of every ten women has impaired fertility, though male fertility issues like low sperm count or low motility account for 35-40% of problems when couples are trying to conceive.
If those statistics stress you out, take comfort: there are many things you and your partner can do to improve your chances of making a baby. From simple lifestyle adjustments to other interventions, there are a few ways you can make life easier when trying to conceive.
Let’s face it — the sex education most of us got in high school wasn’t comprehensive. Did you know, for example, that the time your cycle starts to the time you ovulate might change, but the time between ovulation and the start of your period is pretty much set in stone? And that you have about a six-day window each month during which you can conceive? That means as soon as you ovulate, it’s time to get babymaking. But what if you don’t know when you (or your wife or female partner) is ovulating?
The nitty-gritty details of the female fertility cycle aren’t necessarily common sense, but they are essential learning when you’re trying to conceive. Charting your menstrual cycle won’t always cut it, though it’s a good start. Thankfully, fertility awareness gets way more sophisticated (and way more cool!) than simply putting stars on the calendar for every day you menstruate. If you really want to get serious with fertility awareness, Planned Parenthood lists the following methods:
This method takes a while because you have to track several cycles (8-12 are recommended). You simply plot the beginning of your cycle and when you menstruate on the calendar until you get a good idea of how long your cycles are. Remember, not every woman has a 28-day cycle — yours may be a few days longer or shorter. By doing a little bit of maths comparing your shortest and your longest cycles, you can get a rough idea of when you’re most fertile. This method won’t work, though, if you have very short or irregular cycles.
For couples trying to conceive, this is more accurate than the calendar method, though it’s a bit messier. It still involves a calendar, but instead of tracking when you menstruate, you create a daily log of what your cervical mucus feels like. When you ovulate, your cervical mucus becomes stretchy, a bit like raw egg whites.
Ovulation raises your body temperature, so another way to determine when you’re entering your fertile window is by using a basal thermometer. Like the other fertility awareness methods, this takes a bit of dedication: to take your basal temp, you need to take your temperature as soon as you wake up in the morning, before you get out of bed, every day.
Why use one method when you can use all three? The symptothermal method of fertility awareness involves a combination of the calendar, cervical mucus and temperature methods. If you’re trying to conceive and find that one method isn’t helping you get pregnant, it might help to combine methods to get a more precise idea of when you’re fertile.
While many couples use fertility awareness to help avoid getting pregnant when they’re not trying to conceive, knowing when you’re most fertile is one of the most important steps you can take toward making that baby.
Did you know that if you’re trying to conceive, your lube could be holding you back? Traditional Astroglide lubricants are pH stable, to match normal vaginal pH levels during non ovulation times. As we all know, sperm has to swim to get to the egg, and the journey is pretty long: that microscopic little cell has to travel around 15 cm / six inches through the vagina and uterus to reach the egg in the fallopian tube, a process that takes at least half an hour. And that’s when conditions are right.
Remember that eggy cervical mucus? It actually provides a perfect environment for the sperm to travel through. Traditional Astroglide Personal lubricant can alter that environment by affecting the vagina’s PH levels, as well as osmolality (the concentration of sodium, potassium and other substances), both of which can hinder the movement of sperm.
Take heart, though — just because you’re trying to conceive doesn’t mean you can’t use lube. You just have to make sure you’re using a personal lubricant made just for couples who are trying to conceive, so that you can keep sex wet while not slowing down your swimmers. After all, the process of making a baby is supposed to be fun, and using a lubricant like Astroglide TTC can help make your babymaking sessions more comfortable and long-lasting.
Studies show that Astroglide TTC with elevated pH levels is compatible with sperm, oocytes (egg cells) and embryos. With adjusted / elevated PH levels and osmolality and a consistency close to that of your own cervical mucus, Astroglide TTC allows sperm to move freely. In addition, it contains galactose, a sugar found naturally in semen, and fructose, the main energy source for sperm.
Fertility can vary a lot based on your nutrition. If you’re a woman trying to conceive, you never know which cycle is going to be the one that ends up in a pregnancy, so it’s a good idea to start taking prenatal vitamins as soon as you start trying. If you’re a man and you’re trying to conceive, you need to worry about vitamins too! Without adequate vitamin C and E, your sperm will clump together, making you less fertile.
Oh, and women: if you want more fertility, get more D — vitamin D, that is. Without enough vitamin D, your reproductive tissues don’t function optimally, and if you’re reading this post, there’s a good chance you might be one of the billion people worldwide who have vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D can be found in eggs, dairy and oily fish, but you can also find it in multivitamins and as a separate supplement.
When you’re trying to conceive, many lifestyle factors can help or hinder your babymaking progress. If you’re a man, alcohol, smoking, excess weight and stress can all hinder your ability to produce healthy sperm. Besides, if you’re having kids, don’t you want to kick that smoking habit before they show up in your house?
For women, a healthy lifestyle is important not only to conceive a child, but to keep it healthy through gestation. As with men, being underweight or overweight can affect your reproductive hormone balance, and stress also lowers the odds of conception. Eating a healthy, balanced diet and getting a moderate amount of exercise can help improve your odds of successfully conceiving (but be careful, as too much physical activity can inhibit ovulation).
If you’ve been trying to conceive for several months and your tests keep coming back negative, get thee to your Health Care Professional. Your Health Care Professional can test for vitamin D deficiency as well as a number of other things affecting your fertility, whether you’re a man with a low sperm count or a woman with impaired fertility.
When’s the best time to see your Health Care Professional? As early as possible. When you decide to begin trying to conceive, it’s a good idea to let your Health Care Professional know your intentions and get his or her advice on how to proceed based on your medical history. For example, if you’re a woman with a history of irregular menstrual cycles, your Health Care Professional might refer you to an Specialist. You might want to consider fertility treatments. Remember that fertility issues are not a moral failing and can happen to anyone. The sooner you get help from your Health Care Professional, the better your chances at having a baby on your schedule.
The time you and your partner spend trying to conceive should be exciting and fun, not nerve wracking and clinical. Even if you’re having sex for reproductive purposes, there’s no reason it shouldn’t be mindblowing! So read some erotic novels, get out your favourite fuzzy handcuffs, put on your best lingerie and grab some Astroglide TTC personal lubricant. With the right lube, as well as knowledge about your fertility, vitamins and nutrients and the help of your Health Care Professional, you can help make the dream of parenthood come true for you and your partner.
The summer season is in full swing and just about everyone is heading outdoors. From sangria on a rooftop patio to late-night bonfires on the beach, our favourite experiences are further enhanced by the great outdoors. Sex, of course, is no exception. But before you take your lovin’ al fresco, check out our tips for getting down and dirty in the summer heat.
Whether you’re on the beach, in the woods, or way out in the desert, this versatile position helps to keep the sand, dirt and dust farther away from your most sensitive body parts. The partner in front can lean up against a tree or bend over and hold onto their knees for stability.
If the sand, sun or bugs are too distracting, a tent may be the perfect solution. Enjoy all of nature’s sensual beauty — from the soft breeze to the sounds of the forest — without the full exposure.
Don’t let the rain get you down. Get outside and enjoy the tingling sensation of cool rain on your hot bodies. If the clouds aren’t cooperating, you can always relish in the challenge of peeling off wet layers of clothing and get creative with car washes and sprinklers.
You don’t have to strip down completely to enjoy sex au naturel. Go commando or wear drawstring pants to ease access and increase your chances of getting it on outside of the bedroom.
You can’t always plan for love on the road, but you can certainly be prepared. Throw a blanket, natural insect repellent and lube in your boot uat the start of the season just in case the mood strikes you while you’re on the road. Comfort is key to any sexual experience, so if an extra blanket or baby wipes will help to put you or your lover at ease, toss them in your kit.
It doesn’t get much hotter than sex above the crowds and beneath the glow of moonlight in the city. Balcony sex offers the best of both worlds: the thrill of exhibitionism and the security of knowing that you can always slip inside if the exposure feels too intense. If you don’t have a balcony, consider requesting an upper level room at a hotel or make use of your back porch — just be sure to turn off any outdoor lighting.
If you simply can’t resist the comfort of your Egyptian cotton sheets, you can still indulge in the thrills of outdoor sex. Go for walk in your neighborhood and slip into a secluded park or lane way for some heavy making out. Touch and kiss your partner beneath their clothing and allow yourselves to get a little randy before retreating to the privacy and comfort of your own home. By the time your get back, you may be so overcome with desire that you forgo your high thread count sheets in favour of the cold floor of your entranceway.
Our fans span the globe from Hobart to Nuuk and we know that laws regarding nudity and sex vary across state lines. No sexual encounter is worth a ride in the backseat of a Police car, so pick locations that minimize exposure and risk.
If you’re hitting the gay pride parade circuit, you know that regardless of what town the party’s stopping in, you’re in for an incredible time. From the amazing sense of community and the show-stopping live performances to the volunteer opportunities, there are endless reasons we love gay pride festivals — but, like anything else, it’s important to come prepared to get the most out of your experience.
Let’s take a look at the 10 things you absolutely cannot be without when you go to the gay pride parade:
Any day is only as good as the people you spend it with, so gather your favourite people and make some memories that will last several long, proud lifetimes. After all, you’re about to see some amazing floats, witness mind-bending dance routines, scout some vendors, gather plenty of swag (including free lube!) and likely close out the day with yummy local food and a refreshing cocktail or two. Pride parades are basically the perfect recipe for an unbeatable time with your friends, so round up your proudest pals!
Once you have your crew in tow, it’s time to make your way to the gay pride parade. If you’re carpoolin’ it, having a playlist ready to get you pumped for pride is non-negotiable. Picture this: you’re rolling through your favourite city (or a city you’ve always wanted to visit) with your best friends, windows down, blasting “A Little Respect” by Erasure and belting at the top of your lungs. (Or, if synthpop isn’t your thing, you might opt for “Born This Way” by Lady Gaga or the time honored classic, “I’m Coming Out” by Diana Ross.)
And the best part? Another car pulls alongside you at a traffic light, full of happy people decked out in rainbow, and the driver gives you the thumbs up. That’s because when the gay pride parade is in town, the city takes on a new (rainbow-coloured) light. You’ll probably see a few “Honk for Pride” signs, so make sure to give them the signal while jamming out to your favourite pride anthems.
And most importantly: make sure your friends are singing along with you. It doesn’t matter how out of tune you are today. All that matters is that you’re feeling the love.
Okay, this one is strictly optional, but how many opportunities do you get to deck yourself out head to toe in every colour of the rainbow, complete with plenty of glitter and copious amounts of rhinestones?
Sure, gay pride parades are about something deeper than all the glitz and glam we associate with the floats, costumes and confetti. They’re about the pursuit of equality and freedom for all — most of all, the freedom to be yourself and love the people you love.
But they’re also about exercising your right to celebrate! The community has been working hard all year and gaining some wins, and now it’s time to let loose and revel in the incredible feeling of community and victory.
So don’t hold back! Paint rainbows on your sneakers, if you’re into DIY projects. If you’re into makeup, now’s the best time to show off the rainbow cut crease eyeshadow look you’ve been spending months perfecting. Dye your hair with as many bright colours as you can get your hands on. Own any rainbow jewelry? Wear it all at once! And make sure you take plenty of pictures.
Not only are gay pride parades usually held in the summer, but they also tend to involve a lot of moving around, regardless of if that means dancing, keeping up with your favourite float or just going a little crazy (side effects of gay pride parades may include throwing your arms in the air, jumping up and down with excitement and a sudden increase in energy).
In every case, it’s important to keep yourself hydrated. While there will probably be plenty of vendors along the parade route selling bottled water, you can save yourself some cash (and time) by bringing your own — plus, you won’t have to worry about getting stuck in a long line while all your friends are having the time of their lives without you.
It can be easy to forget to drink water, especially if you don’t necessarily feel thirsty, so remember the signs of dehydration: drowsiness, dizziness and headaches are all early clues that your body needs water urgently. If a friend reports these symptoms, make sure to get them a bottle of water, stat!
We have love for all colours of the rainbow, but nobody wants to end up beet red by the end of the day. While you’ll usually be able to find some shade along the parade route, the last thing you want to do is get caught out in the open with no protection from the sun.
You should apply your sunscreen at least 15 minutes before heading outside, and reapply every two hours after that. If you get wet — or if you’re so hot that you’re drenched in sweat — you should immediately towel off, and then reapply your sunblock. (Yes, even if you’re not pale. Yes, even if it’s a little overcast.)
Other indispensable sun essentials? A nice floppy hat will not only protect your face, but can also be decorated in rainbow ribbons, LGBTQ pride-related buttons, flowers, glitter and other colourful accoutrements. A pair of rainbow sunglasses (with broad spectrum UV protection) will keep your eyes safe from the sun’s harmful rays.
What city is hosting your gay pride parade? If you’re travelling to Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane, Darwin, Adelaide, Hobart or San Diego for pride, you don’t want to miss out on mouth-watering fish tacos or California-style pizza. If you’re in New York, you’ll be surrounded by countless cuisines from all over the world (not to mention the best Italian in the country). After several straight (or not-so-straight) hours of showing your pride, you can work up a mighty appetite, so don’t forget to enjoy a taste of the town!
Oh, and on a related note: don’t forget to keep some cash on you. Not only will there be tasty nosh, but pride parades are a great way to learn more about a city’s LGBTQ-friendly local vendors (which may not accept credit cards). If you love supporting businesses that support the community, today’s a good day to get your spend on.
Yes, those rainbow-coloured five-inch heels are gorgeous. Yes, they make your legs look fabulous. They’d be perfect for a night out (provided you have back-up flats), but you’re going to be on your feet for most of the day. Nobody wants to miss a legendary music performance because they had to go home early due to sore feet. Bring your comfiest shoes and get ready for a day with plenty of activity!
Not only will a good bag help you carry all of your stuff to the parade, it’ll help you carry all of your free swag home with you! One of the best (or worst) kept secrets of gay pride parades is that there’s a ton of free stuff being thrown around. Even if you’re just sitting by the side of the road, you’ll be lucky if you go more than a few minutes without someone handing you something for free.
Speaking of freebies, if you happen to see the Astroglide float at a gay pride parade near you, feel free to wave us over — we’ll be giving out plenty of free lube!
Okay, we’ve been going on and on about rainbows, but as we all know, there’s more to LGBTQ pride than the standard Roy G. Biv, and “G” isn’t the only letter in the alphabet. No matter what your sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, pride parades are for you. So bring your most authentic self, and don’t forget your flag!
Today’s the day to break out your pink, blue and white striped trans pride flag, or your magenta, purple and blue bisexual banner. Maybe you’re blazing black, gray, purple and white for asexual pride, or yellow, blue and magenta for proud pansexuality. No matter your colours, go forth and be represented.
More important than anything else on this list (or, at the very least, tied with water and sun protection) is your pride. Your pride in yourself and how far you’ve come in your life journey, whether you’re gay, straight, trans, genderqueer or questioning. Your pride in the shared community for achieving such great things — and this year, there have been plenty of victories. Your pride in your friends, who are standing alongside you cheering on everything LGBTQ. Your pride in your partner, your family. There are just so many good things to celebrate today.
It’s your day. So live it up.
Finding time to truly be alone together isn’t easy for any couple, which is why many partners are willing to pay thousands of dollars to attend a couples retreat, even if it’s only for a weekend. Unfortunately, not all of us have that kind of money to spend, and even if you do, not everyone is up for the other activities that may be involved, from group therapy with complete strangers to sleeping in cobweb-cluttered cabins in the middle of nowhere.
Here’s the good news — you can create a couples retreat right in your very own home. It’s cheap, it’s fun, and when it comes to building a healthy relationship, it’s definitely worth it. Use these tips to do it yourself:
The best thing about having a couples retreat at home? You can do it over and over again — so don’t feel pressured to make everything perfect on your first try. You’ll learn what works and what doesn’t as you go, and you can use what you learn to make each couples retreat you plan even more awesome!
Sexual chemistry is both a science and an art. As an art form, it requires communication, an open-mind and time to flourish. As a science, however, the chemical changes we experience during lust and love are fairly consistent and can be broken down into two stages: lust/limerence and companionship/attachment.
During the lust or limerence phase of a relationship, your body experiences a flurry of chemical changes as dopamine, adrenaline and serotonin levels spike. Your brain resembles that of a drug user as you experience a natural high from falling in love. Your energy levels increase and your need for sleep may subside as your focus revolves around your new love interest. You’re simultaneously nervous, excited and blissful. Love, in its initial stages, can be blind as you subconsciously fill in the blanks with positive data to supplement the exciting unknown. You don’t notice your paramour’s bad habits and your optimism shines through.
After several months of blind love, couples generally transition into the companionate or attachment phase which is marked by commitment, comfort and security. This phase is associated with the hormones oxytocin and vasopressin, which are believed to promote bonding and increase during sexual activity and physical affection.
Reigniting the spark in a relationship often involves engaging in activities that remind the brain and body of the lustful phase of love. These activities might create mystery, excitement and even anxiety, but ultimately they result in chemical processes involving dopamine, adrenalin and serotonin. Even the happiest couples find that excitement and sexual desire wane with time, so experiment with the tips below to spice up your relationship (and be sure to also check out our quick tips for maintaining connection and promoting attachment).
Nurturing your sense of adventure will help you reignite those powerful feelings and give you tons of new memories to share. Ready to try something new but still aren’t quite sure where to start? Why not ease into things by trying out a new formula of Astroglide? Surprise your partner with your free sample and see where the excitement takes you!
by Andrea Black - Daily Life - Sydney Morning Herald 9/4/13 complete extract below
It's true that in the complicated and convoluted world of sex, myths will always abound. But a slew of research has disproved some beliefs, mostly based on long-held, gender-based stereotypes. It seems, contrary to what pop psychology books and magazine covers would have you believe, women are not from Venus, nor are men from Mars. Herein we dispel these and other commonly held sex myths.
1. Men are more interested in casual sex than women
FALSE: Despite what sitcoms since the 1970s would have us believe, men are not all out to spread their seed on endless one-night stands. Professor Terri Conley from the University of Michigan recently reviewed an oft-cited 1989 study which supported the theory that men are more interested in casual sex. In that study researchers trained young men and women to proposition strangers for sex. They found 70 per cent of the men approached by a woman seeking sex saying, 'sure' while not a single woman agreed. Conley argued that there is evidence that cultural factors play a major role and context was needed. In her study, when men and women considered hypothetical offers of casual sex from famous people, or offers from close friends whom they were told were good in bed, the gender differences in acceptance of casual sex disappeared.
2. Men want to sleep with their friend's wives
FALSE: If you're worried about adultery within your friendship circle this new research may ease your concerns. A recent study from University of Missouri found that male testosterone levels drop when interacting with the spouse of a close friend. Why there may be ample opportunity due to time spent together, researchers believe it might be an evolutionary aversion.
"Men's testosterone levels generally increase when they are interacting with a potential sexual partner," said Mark Flinn, professor of anthropology at the university.
"However, our findings suggest that men's minds have evolved to foster a situation where the stable pair bonds of friends are respected."
3. Men have more sex partners than women
FALSE: According to a study published in the February edition of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, men and women have more or less the same amount of sex across their lifespan. While there are differences in sexual interest over a lifespan, the variation was highest between individuals, not between sexes. And while studies generally find men reporting more sexual partners than women, there seems to be some fibs being told. In 2003, researchers reported in the Journal of Sex Research that if you trick participants into believing that they are hooked up to a lie-detector test, women actually report the same number of sexual partners as men, with women more likely than men to have different answers depending on conditions under being surveyed.
4. Headaches and sex don't mix
FALSE: That old 'not tonight love, I have a headache' excuse might not work as well as expected when your partner explains that, according to a recent study, they know just the cure. Research from the University of Munster in Germany found that having sex may actually be more effective in curing a headache than painkillers due to the endorphins triggered. They found that more than half of migraine sufferers in the study who had sex during a migraine experienced an improvement in symptoms, though for a third of the responding patients, sex worsened the migraines.
5. Sex is a great workout
FALSE: It seems getting horizontal doesn't have the added benefit of being the workout we once believed. A recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine debunked the commonly held notion after finding that on average a 6-minute romp (the average time they found sex to last) would only burn 88 kilojoules (21 calories). This is well under the inflammatory claims in the past of up to 1255 kilojoules (300 calories) burnt per encounter. You could burn those same 88 kilojoules by taking a 4-minute brisk walk around the block followed by a cold shower.
The Perils of Keeping Count
Perhaps one of the most common questions any sexpert gets is "how many is too many" when it comes to one's number of sexual partners. People are curious about what's average, as well as what number can be considered the tipping point when it comes to the labels society throws on people it deems promiscuous. So what is the scoop?
The Medical Journal of Australia published a study in its latest issue which establishes that the quality of a man's experience of sex is strongly affected by his health – those who mistreat their bodies will find that they will negatively affect their sex-life. This, alongside long term findings which suggest that regular sex provides many health-nurturing effects alongside the enjoyment which it can offer couples, paints a picture of sex and health as interdependent qualities. As such, lifestyles which are conducive to great sex will benefit health, and vice-versa.
Sex Can Make You Look Younger by Lisa Chamberlain
Dr David Weeks, A British psychologist, says that his findings suggest that regular sex saves five to seven years in people's age-related appearance. His research, conducted over a decade and incorporating the private testimony of thousands of individuals, establishes that sexual pleasure is a fundamental factor in preserving the appearance of youth. Weeks' research showed that sex causes the release of a number of useful chemicals in the body, such as growth hormone, which causes skin to be more elastic, preserving a smooth appearance. This is alongside the release of endorphins – chemicals which make people feel good – which have the parallel effect of easing sleep, which also improves appearance. In addition, sex increases circulation, which benefits cardiac health while giving skin a youthful glow.
Sex Can Discourage Colds by Lisa Chamberlain
Scientists at Wilkes-Barre University of Pennsylvania released a study in 2009, which explored the link between sex and the human immune system. They asked 111 students at that college about the nature of their sex-lives, establishing the regularity with which they had sex. They then examined how this figure related to the production of a particular immune molecule in the saliva of those concerned. They found that immunoglobulin A, which acts as the body's first defensive system against pathogens, was present to the greatest extent in those who had sex around once or twice per week, 30% more than for those who had sex more or less frequently than this. Researchers also plotted the duration of the relationship and the relative satisfaction of partners against immunoglobulin A levels, finding that as these variables increased, so did the levels of this molecule, offering significant protection against infection.
Better Health Means Better Sex by Lisa Chamberlain
The latest issue of the Medical Journal of Australia carries an article which examines how general health affects the quality of the sex which men experience. Researchers found that as men grow older they are more likely to experience capability issues, but that those who lived unhealthy lives were far more likely to experience this sort of problem, which can have very significant impacts on partners' sex-lives. Associate Professor David Smith of Cancer Council NSW commented that heavy smokers are 86 percent more likely to experience problems, while those with serious weight problems are twice as likely to experience this sort of difficultly. As such, a man's sexual health and vitality are very dependent on his overall health – of course, men who wish to maintain their sexual health later into life can resolve to maintain their personal health. Researchers used data from 101,674 men of 45 and older from New South Wales.
Sex Can Relieve Stress by Lisa Chamberlain
Stuart Brody of the University of Paisley, UK, tested the effect of sex on the stress which people experience due to a serious or important event in front of people. His survey explored how participants performed in a stress test (which involved public-speaking and other daunting experiences) after they had participated in different forms of sex (coitus/masturbation/with a partner though non-coital). Brody found that those who hadn't had sex experienced most stress, followed by those who had masturbated or undertaken non-coital sex, with those who had undertaken vaginal penetrative sex experiencing the least stress.
Overall, it appears that a balanced relationship exists between health and sex – without good habits one can't have the best sex, while good and regular sex help people to maintain their health. In this regard, modern times are some of the best in that people have access to quality food, scientists know the benefits of exercise and the outdoors – meanwhile experts understand how to improve people's experience of sex so that people can make the best choices to improve their lifestyle.
Astroglide Honours Fearless Females during Women’s History Month
Most Likely to Win the Hunger Games? Astroglide Helps Rewrite the History Books with Awards for Women Who Have Changed the World
Of all the courageous, daring and strong women in history, who is most likely to win the Hunger Games? March is Women’s History Month and Astroglide is on a mission to honour the world’s bravest women—and answer the questions that no historian would dare ask. Today, Astroglide presents bold women, living and dead, who embody what it means to be a Fearless Female.
Most Likely to Have a Sex Life We're All Jealous of - Betty White
“I've enjoyed the opposite sex a lot. Always have. Always will.”
If we believe the words coming from America’s only active 92 year old sex icon (Mr. Hefner is 87), Betty White must have had a sex life we can only dream of; Robert Redford may be the only man on Betty’s list without a checkmark—for now.
Most Likely to Win the Hunger Games – Joan of Arc
“I am not afraid... I was born to do this.”
Frenchwoman Joan of Arc kicked the pulp out of the British until her capture in 1430. She was burned at the stake for heresy in 1431, partially for her decision to wear male military clothing. If this fearless female could shake off a blow to the head from a stone cannonball (while climbing a ladder no less!) we’re pretty sure she’d OWN the Hunger Games.
Most Likely to Defeat IBM's Watson in Jeopardy – Judith Polgár
“When men lose against me, they always have a headache ... or things of that kind. I have never beaten a completely healthy man!”
If your first question is, “Who in the world is that?” clearly you have not been keeping up with the international chess circuit. In 1991, Judit Polgár became a grandmaster at 15 and she’s currently the only woman ranked among the top 100 chess players in the world. Polgár and her two older sisters also broke the chauvinism of the Hungarian Chess Federation, which tried to stop them from playing chess against men. And by the way, Judit has an IQ of 170, which is higher than Albert Einstein’s estimated 160.
Most Likely to “Go Commando” on a Daily Basis - Jane Goodall
Not only did Jane have the courage to study chimpanzees in the wild, but she became the lowest ranking member of a primate troop for 22 months. No human had ever pulled that off before. This is a woman who needs no barrier between herself and nature, and for that primal courage, we salute Jane!
Most Likely to Outlast Any Man…In a Debate – Wendy Davis
“Lawmakers, either get out of the vagina business or go to medical school.”
Wendy Davis was the Texas Senator who held an 11-hour filibuster against a state bill that would ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Although the bill eventually passed, Wendy made an unforgettable stand for women’s rights and left us with gem quotes like the one above.
Most Likely to Ruin an Episode of Extreme Makeover - Marilyn Monroe
“Give a girl the right shoes, and she can conquer the world.”
A cultural icon and sex symbol long after her passing, Marilyn was her own woman from head-to-toe. This was a woman who ignored others’ opinions and forced makeovers to define her own style—and we ‘pity da fool’ who dared try to change her.
From the bedroom to the chess table, from medieval France to the African wilderness, history’s women show fearlessness in all forms. If we missed a Fearless Female who the world needs know about, honour her with your own superlative by Tweeting us at @Astroglide with hashtag #FearlessFemales.
Foods to Fight Pre Menstrual Syndrome (PMS) Blues by Cyma Hote at OlWomen
If it’s one thing we girls can agree we hate, it’s that dreaded time of the month. The few days before the D-day, when normal girls turn into witches on brooms! Sounds funny when you say it like that, but those of us with extreme PMS (Pre-menstrual Syndrome) and those who’ve been victims of our wrath would hardly be amused. It’s something that we go through every month, and sometimes we take it for granted and just roll with it. We don’t think there’s any way we could relieve the symptoms, apart from popping a pain-killer and pulling the blanket over our heads. Luckily for us, others have now done enough research on comfort food that helps ward off PMS and reduce symptoms significantly. Read on to find out how you can also beat those pesky PMS blues.
Who doesn’t love this delicious source of vitamin-D, which becomes essential for our bodies in order to absorb calcium. Also, eating fish can trigger the production of serotonin, a positive mood-enhancer (and incidentally, the same chemical released by the brain when you bite into dark chocolate). Make Salmon, Atlantic mackerel, Sardines and Herring your new best friends when you feel PMS strike. Not a fish fan? No worries. Try some walnuts or flaxseed, as they provide the same nutrition as fish. Sprinkle some over your morning cereal or just pop a handful into your mouth. Yum!
When going through PMS, some women seem to have lower blood levels of calcium, while others have low levels of magnesium. A decrease in both can cause mood swings, stress and cravings of the wrong kind. Quick and easy fix? Yoghurt plus banana equals a super healthy and super yummy snack that’ll throw your junk food cravings right out the door. When our body’s normal level of blood sugar drops, we start craving unhealthy snacks that give us a moment’s bliss, but a week full of cramps and bloating. Indulge in some bite-sized chunks of bananas dunked in yoghurt and eat away those nasty cramps or blend these two into the perfect smoothie. Drool!
Now this one may come as a surprise, since with all that irritating water retention and bloating, the last thing you feel like doing is drinking more of it. You couldn’t be more wrong. PMS related headaches and migraines are often best cured by good old water. If you can’t stomach too much of it, opt for water-based fresh foods like celery, sliced cucumbers, red bell peppers and carrot sticks. Make yourself a delicious bowl of salad and feel that thudding headache fade away. Don’t feel like making yourself a salad? A quick fix is a tall glass of orange juice, bursting of deliciousness and health! You won’t even remember you had a headache to begin with.
Beans are another great source of magnesium and help reduce water retention and regulate the activity of serotonin, the “feel–good” neurotransmitter that causes moods. They can be added to salads, dips and soups or if you are a chili fan, sauté them with garlic and green chilies and you have a quick and easy remedy that also tastes fantastic. Add another great source of pms killer; chickpeas. You’ve now got a mouthwatering and irresistible combo that tastes yum every time.
This one comes with an added bonus; it comprises of 3 essential nutrients that combine to help lessen depression, irritability and moodiness. Brown rice contains not just magnesium, but also vitamin B6 and manganese, all of which are a great boost to our vulnerable physical state. Foods similar to brown rice are complex carbs like whole grain pasta, nuts and oatmeal. These complex carbs contribute to an over-all healthier feel, as compared to simple carbs like white rice, white sugar or baked goods that only give us a moments high that is followed by a crash in mood and energy levels.
It’s hard not to ignore our body’s natural cravings when in PMS mode, and a lot of us are guilty of reaching for that tempting box of chocolates or cupcakes, dipping our hands into bowls of salty crackers, or worse, a bag of spicy crisps. We all know what follows, so I won’t go into the gory details but it’s now high time that we paid attention to our body and its nutritional needs. There’s always time to drop bad habits and pick up new ones, and what better than eating wisely during the most awful week that visits us every month. Turn your PMS blues into bliss and make others wonder how you do it all. The secret, of course, is just 5 steps away!
Always read the label, use only as directed
v, yoga, exercise and dancing can all help you unwind, but if you ask us, there is no better way to de-stress than with a red hot bedroom session.
Studies show that pleasurable experiences reduce the stress response in the brain – likewise, those who have sex regularly are at lower risk of cardiovascular issues. This is no surprise given that a healthy sex life is positively correlated with regular exercise, a boosted immune system, a youthful appearance and lower incidence of depression, chronic pain and migraines.
There are several chemical explanations for the association between stress reduction and sex. Oxytocin, for example, spikes right before orgasm, and this so-called “love hormone” is associated with increased compassion and deep relaxation. It makes sense then that sex often leads to restful sleep which carries a host of other related health benefits -- from lower blood pressure to a longer lifespan. While oxytocin surges during sexual arousal, cortisol, the stress hormone, decreases. Studies show that even exposure to erotic materials can lower levels of this stress hormone, so if you’re too tired to get it on, watching a sexy flick might do the trick.
If you’ve ever found yourself in a state of mild euphoria after sex, it may have to do with the endorphin rush during arousal and orgasm. This natural high not only blocks pain and enhances pleasure, but can help you let go of some of the little things that cause unnecessary stress by inducing a state of blissful satisfaction.
The intimate connection fostered through sex also helps to reduce stress. Couples who report having a healthy sex life also report higher levels of relationship satisfaction. And couples in happy relationships are more likely to exercise, eat well, seek medical care, recover from illness and avoid smoking, so the benefits flow from both directions. In addition, some animal studies suggest that sex can also impact the brain in a positive manner. In one study of rats, daily intercourse for fourteen days led to cell growth in the part of the brain associated with the regulation of emotion and memory.
Sex not only reduces overall stress, but it can also help to calm nerves in particularly stressful situations – including public speaking! One study found that participants who recently had intercourse were better able to regulate their stress response when asked to speak in public and perform verbal arithmetic. So if you have a big presentation coming up, skip your last round of rehearsals and get busy already!
Want to make sure your next round of stress reduction goes without a hitch? Grab a free sample of Astroglide, and get to it!