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    The Weird Way Your Menstrual Cycle Affects Your Guy’s Hormones

    We all know how that moodiness around our periods can drive our partners just a bit insane. But your menstrual cycle actually has a biological effect on your partner, too. Yup, per a study, your cycle could boost his testosterone levels. Ah, hormones…

    The study

    Animal studies found that olfactory cues of ovulation (when a biological female releases an egg, awaiting fertilisation by sperm) affected male testosterone levels. Studies conducted by researchers from Florida State University found that the same thing happens to male humans.

    In the studies, women wore t-shirts during different phases of their menstrual cycles. The men in the studies smelled one of the t-shirts worn by a female or unworn t-shirts. Saliva samples were collected before and after smelling the t-shirts s and measured for testosterone levels.

    Men who smelled the t-shirts of ovulating women had higher levels of testosterone than men who smelled a t-shirt worn when the women were not ovulating or a control t-shirt. The scent of t-shirts worn when the women were ovulating was rated as the most pleasing. These olfactory findings brighten the signal that when you’re ovulating, it’s prime time for fun in the sheets.

    But the needle can swing both ways. In another study, researchers measured levels of hormones in heterosexual partners throughout the woman’s menstrual cycle. What they found was surprising: during ovulation, when levels of estradiol are elevated, both partners felt more negatively toward each other than at other times of the cycle. Clearly, your menstrual cycle plays a bigger part in the relationship than you’d think.

    To move closer together, try talking about your feelings to clear the air and make way for a deeper connection and yes, more sex.

    When his testosterone starts to wane…

    With age, men’s testosterone levels do naturally start to decrease. Instead of shoving your nightie under his nose once a month, you could also steer him in the direction of these healthy foods, proven to up his levels: eggs, peanuts, yoghurt, oysters, garlic, oats, avocado, salmon (or other oily fish), fresh fruit and veg, pine nuts, brown rice and liver.

    Add some spice with a sex toy

    We-Vibe Unite Couples Vibrator

    Get that extra deep clitoral stimulation during sex with this remote-controlled toy that you can both enjoy. More

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    The Best Sex Toys For Those With Endometriosis

    Do you have endometriosis? If you do, you’re not alone. According to WHO, 1 in 10 women at the reproductive age are affected by the condition globally.

    Those with endo know how much it can interfere with quality of life, including being intimate with your partner. Because the disorder most commonly involves a woman’s ovaries, fallopian tubes and the tissue lining the pelvis, having sex and/or your period can feel similar to being stabbed over and over again, right in the uterus. Horrendous.

    But having endo doesn’t mean you have to live an orgasm-less life. To help you get your rocks off, sex educator Javay Frye-Nekrasova shares her tips for engaging in partnered and solo sex, plus the best sex toys for those with endometriosis.

    Communication Is Key

    Emotional concerns may include disappointment in not being able to engage in sex with a partner, as one would imagine, as well as frustration with your body. Talk with your partner, share your thoughts, and explore the different avenues of pleasure with each other.

    ‘Warm Up’ Before Engaging In Penetrative Play

    It can take up to 20 minutes for the vulva to be fully aroused. This is important because the vagina elongates when the vulva is aroused, and this can make a big difference in less painful penetrative play.

    Go Solo

    Masturbation can be beneficial for alleviating pain during intercourse as the release of endorphins and happy hormones can help with discomfort. A warm bath with some Epsom salt might also help with pain so that you can enjoy pleasure during masturbation. You can opt for a vibrator like the Mon Ami Bullet, as it is waterproof and safe to join you in the tub.

    Incorporate Sex Toys

    Womanizer | Premium 2 Clitoral Stimulator

    Clitoral stimulation is a great option if penetrative play is painful. The Womanizer Premium 2 is a great clitoral stimulator that uses Pleasure Air technology to simulate oral sex.

    We-Vibe | Tango X Clitoral Stimulator

    If you are more of a vibration lover then the We-Vibe Tango is a great option that packs power in a little package.

    We-Vibe | Match

    For those who want to try out some penetrative play for masturbation, a shorter penetrative toy like the We-Vibe Match could be a good place to start. It is a dual stimulator that stimulates the clitoris and g-spot at the same time. It also has a remote control as well as an app to allow you to control the stimulation.

    The post The Best Sex Toys For Those With Endometriosis appeared first on Women’s Health.

    We may earn commission from the links on this page, but we only feature products we believe in. More

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    Everything You Really Need To Know About Yoni Eggs

    From increased sexual arousal to toe-curling orgasms, there’s a range of benefits that come from exercising your pelvic floor muscles.

    We’ve all heard about Gwyneth Paltrow and her jade eggs, but unlike some of her more left-field ideas – such as her eight-day goat’s-milk cleanse – these eggs do have health benefits. “There are two sides to yoni eggs [yoni is Sanskrit for womb, uterus, source or female genitalia],” says Dr Elna Rudolph, medical doctor, sexologist and clinical head of My Sexual Health. “The physical side, where it acts as a weight in the vagina to train muscles in the same way you would use weights in the gym to train other muscles. And the more esoteric side, where it is claimed to have loads of other positive effects that can’t necessarily be explained scientifically.”

    An ancient Chinese Taoist practice, “yoni eggs have grown enormously in popularity over the past couple of years,” says Yoni Eggs South Africa founder, Juliet Terblanche. “One reason being that women are starting to reject the conventional ways of treating pelvic/reproductive health challenges and are looking for a more holistic approach that is also highly effective.”

    What is a yoni egg?

    Made from a range of stones, the eggs come in three different sizes. When you start using yoni eggs, you need to start with the smallest egg. As your muscles get stronger, you can work your way up to the largest egg. Rudolph suggests using the eggs for very short periods in the beginning so as not to over-burden your muscles. As your muscles strengthen, you will be able to increase the time you use them for. “I wouldn’t advise anybody wear one 24/7 – you need to relax your pelvic floor at times.” According to Terblanche, “a focused daily practice of 15 to 20 minutes is more than enough to experience the benefits of a yoni egg.”

    What are the benefits of yoni eggs?

    So what are the physical benefits of using yoni eggs? “The basic benefit is that it trains the pelvic floor muscles and makes them stronger. This can improve pleasure during intercourse, make orgasms more intense, intensify the sensation for your partner and improve or prevent incontinence,” explains Rudolph. The eggs can be particularly useful for women with weak pelvic floor muscles, especially after childbirth, those with mild incontinence and for those getting on in years.

    While there is a range of benefits, yoni eggs aren’t for everyone: “People with a hyperactive pelvic floor and people who experience painful intercourse, where the cause has not been determined, should not use the eggs,” warns Rudolph.

    Medium Rose Quartz Yoni Egg

    Tone those muscles with this medium egg, perfect for aiding with incontinence and heightening the sexual experience. More

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    Here’s How To Have A Discussion With Your Doctor About Sex

    Your gynae might have “Dr” before her name, but sometimes you have to be the one to school her. That’s because docs don’t always initiate über important talks. It goes both ways, too. We’re often embarrassed to bring up topics about our sexual health for fear of being judged. Per the Ovarian Research Trust, 66% of 18-24 year-olds are so shy of talking with a doctor about sex that they forego the visit altogether, which holds some serious risks, like not knowing your sexual health status and making poor decisions based of Internet research.

    We’ve put down some common topics often avoided at the doc’s rooms, and how you can bring ‘em up constructively.

    Talking with a doctor about: the baby convo

    Many ob-gyns are uncomfortable bringing up fertility, per a recent study. Why? They may not want to seem judgy or presumptuous, and can’t answer the “Am I fertile?” question until you start trying.

    Why It Matters

    If you’re thinking about babies, it’s time to talk about them (egg freezing too), because your reproductive years won’t last forever.

    Your Script

    “I have some questions about my fertility; I’m hoping you can give me better answers than the Internet.” Your gynae will jump at the chance to sift fact from fiction and you can get specific.

    READ MORE: 5 Small Sex Moves So Powerful You Won’t Believe You Didn’t Know Them

    Talking with a doctor about: STI tests

    These aren’t built into your annual check-up, nor are all STIs included when you say, “Test me for everything.” Plus, your doc won’t know when you need ’em unless you tell her (or she sees something amiss).

    Why It Matters

    In many cases, the longer an STI goes untreated, the more damage it can cause. And you

    could spread it. Plus, infections like HPV can turn into cervical cancer (the second most common cancer of women in South Africa and the one with the highest fatality rate) if all goes untreated.

    Your Script

    “What STI tests do you think I need?” This should lead to a chat about sex habits, number of partners, condom use and so on, to determine your risk level. Ask whenever you have a concern or have had unprotected sex. 

    READ MORE: 12 Reasons Why You’re Suddenly Experiencing Painful Sex

    Talking with a doctor about: your sexual happiness

    Loss of desire, trouble orgasming? Too few gynaes will “pry” into this part of your sex life. Almost 65% of SA women are keen to take sexual matters into their own hands, says Désir Intimates owner and MD Brodie Meyer. “They’re big on self-pleasure, with rabbit vibrators making up almost 70% of their purchases, followed closely by lubricants.”

    Why It Matters

    A stronger pelvic floor, healthier heart and immune system, better sleep and immediate pain relief… the benefits of sexual happiness are endless! 

    Your Script

    “Doc, errrr, is too much self-pleasure bad?” This will launch into a larger discussion about your sexual habits between the sheets, which can shed light on the health (and happiness) of your vagina and clitoris. Your doc can also guide you through any problems you may be experiencing during sex, like pains, which could open up a further discussion of possible causes, like endometriosis or a penetration disorder.   

    READ MORE: Pop Quiz: Do You Actually Know What’s Going On With Your Vagina? More

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    12 Reasons Why You’re Suddenly Experiencing Painful Sex

    Painful sex, or dyspareunia, can cause problems in a couple’s sexual relationship. In addition to physically painful sex, there is also the possibility of negative emotional effects, so the problem should be addressed as soon as it becomes evident.
    In many cases, a woman can experience painful sex if there is not sufficient vaginal lubrication. When this occurs, the pain can be resolved if the female becomes more relaxed, if the amount of foreplay is increased, or if the couple uses a sexual lubricant.
    READ MORE: Everything You Need To Know About Having A Coregasm 
    In some cases, a woman can experience painful intercourse if one of the following conditions is present:
    1. Vaginismus
    This is a common condition in which there is a spasm in the vaginal muscles, mainly caused by the fear of being hurt.
    2. Vaginal Infections
    These conditions are common and include yeast infections.
    3. Problems with the cervix
    In this case, the penis can reach the cervix at maximum penetration, so problems with the cervix (such as infections) can cause pain during deep penetration.
    4. Problems with the uterus
    These problems may include fibroids that can cause deep intercourse pain.
    5. Endometriosis
    Endometriosis is a condition in which the endometrium (tissue lining the uterus) grows outside the uterus.
    6. Problems with the ovaries
    Such problems might include cysts on the ovaries.
    7. Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
    The tissues deep inside become badly inflamed and the pressure of intercourse causes deep pain.
    8. Ectopic Pregnancy
    A pregnancy in which a fertilised egg develops outside of the uterus.
    9. Menopause
    The vaginal lining can lose its normal moisture and become dry.
    10. Childbirth
    Intercourse too soon after surgery or childbirth.
    11. Sexually Transmitted Infection
    These may include genital warts, herpes sores or other STIs.
    12. Injury to the vulva or vagina
    These injuries may include a tear from childbirth or from a cut (episiotomy) in the perineum (area of skin between the vagina and the anus) that is made during labour.
    READ MORE: 5 Sex Positions You Should Finish With For An Orgasmic Grand Finale
    How can painful sex in women be treated?
    Some treatments do not require medical intervention. For example, in the case of painful sex after pregnancy, wait at least six weeks after childbirth before attempting intercourse. Make sure to practice gentleness and patience. In cases in which there is vaginal dryness or a lack of lubrication, try water-based lubricants.
    Some treatments for female sexual pain do require a doctor’s care. If vaginal dryness is due to menopause, ask a healthcare professional about oestrogen creams or other prescription medications. Other causes of painful intercourse also may require prescription medications.
    For cases of sexual pain in which there is no underlying medical cause, sexual therapy might be helpful. Some individuals may need to resolve issues such as guilt, inner conflicts regarding sex, or feelings regarding past abuse.
    READ MORE: “I Tried Masturbating To Cure My Hangover — This Is What Happened”
    Call a doctor if there are symptoms such as bleeding, genital lesions, irregular periods, vaginal discharge, or involuntary vaginal muscle contractions and ask for a referral to an SSASSERT-certified sex counsellor if there are other concerns that need to be addressed. More

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    4 Common Injuries You Can Get During Sex That You’ll Only Notice Later

    One more reason to love sex and orgasms: they mask pain, thanks to the endorphins. The downside? You might not notice a sensation that would normally hurt. To minimise sex injuries, we’ve come up with a few common nooky accidents and  how to get off without getting wounded.
    Sex Injury #1: Bruises
    Overly enthusiastic thrusting, groping, kissing or sucking can result in an unwelcome shiner or the dreaded hickey.
    The fixer
    Apply ice to the area, says family practitioner Dr Tamlyn McKeag. “Always cover the ice in a clean cotton cloth. Apply immediately, then for 20 minutes three times a day for the next two days.”
    And next time…
    If your skinny guy’s pelvic bone juts into you, place a folded fleece scarf at the point of impact (use it later around his wrists). And if he attacks your neck like Robert Pattinson in Twilight, break out the garlic and run.
    READ MORE: This Is Exactly How Your Weight Affects Your Sex Life
    Eina #2: Overextended Muscle
    You contorted Cirque du Soleil style last night; now you feel like you scaled Kilimanjaro.
    The fixer
    Rest and stretch out your tender muscles a couple of times a day over the next few days. A heat pack and topical anti-inflammatory such as arnica oil will help, says McKeag. If you’re still lame after 24 hours, see a doctor to rule out a torn muscle.
    And next time…
    Keep supple with this full-body stretch four times a week: sitting on the floor, put the soles of your feet flat together and push your knees into the floor. Start with your back up straight, then stretch your hands along the floor as far as they will go. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds.
    READ MORE: These Are The 3 Top Reasons Guys Fake Orgasms
    Eina #3: Carpet Burn
    Also beware of wooden floors, sheets and the back seat of his Jetta.
    The fixer
    Clean with soap and warm water, air-dry and apply an antiseptic ointment such as Germolene. Then cover with a non-stick bandage, says McKeag. Change it daily, and remove it once a scab forms.
    And next time
    Switch to high-thread-count sheets. Higher equals softer. Or toss a cushy blanket over any surface you tumble on. Avoid terry cloth or scratchy wool.
    READ MORE: The 5 Best Sex Positions For When You’re Feeling Stressed
    Eina #4: Vaginal Irritation
    It happens when you aren’t lubricated enough, you have a bad reaction to a lube or a vibrator, or he didn’t wash his hands well enough after slicing a chilli!
    The fixer
    Thanks to its cell-shedding and natural cleansing acids, your vagina is self-healing. Avoid inserting anything (his penis, tampons or vibrators) for 48 hours – the time it takes to mend. McKeag suggests you soothe discomfort with a warm water bath (no soap – and not in Cape Town, guys!) twice a day; you can add coarse salt. Wear only cotton underwear for the next few days.
    And next time…
    Demand generous foreplay: it takes 30 seconds to several minutes once you’re aroused before you naturally lubricate. Test a new lube on your inner labia and wait a few hours for a reaction before a full-on slather. If chillis are involved, vigorous hand-washing is in order! Avoid jelly rubber toys containing phthalates, as these chemicals irritate tender tissue.
    READ MORE: This Explains The Reason Why You Feel Like You Can’t Pee After Sex More

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    There Are Major Health Benefits When You Masturbate On Your Period

    Oftentimes on your period, the only acts of self-love you feel like treating yourself to are Advil, Netflix, elastic-waist pants, and gargantuan tubs of ice cream. But if you haven’t yet given yourself some literal self-love while you’re menstruating, you’re missing out. Hear us out: Your period is actually a really good time to masturbate. There’s […] More