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    What To Do When You Start Catching Feelings In A Situationship (Oh, oh)

    “Yes to lots of safe sex, definitely no sleepovers, no calling each other on our birthdays, no unnecessary check-ins unless it’s to set up a booty call and most importantly, no acting up when you see me with someone else.” So go the rules of many situationships, often declared at the very beginning to prevent either party from falling in love with the other.
    If you’ve been living under a rock (for some reason), a situationship is a half-baked ‘relationship’ that is neither official or unconfirmed. Most importantly, it’s meant to be uncomplicated. But when have feelings ever respected boundaries?
    Sex with no strings attached can be fun, but can also get complicated really fast. If you happen to wake up pining for your f*** buddy (not in that lust, but the ‘I just want to hear your voice sense’) it could mean that your feelings have gone and crossed the boundary line — without first consulting you nodal! First and foremost, don’t beat yourself up for developing feelings: Women are biologically wired to feel attached to their sexual partners, so it’s not only common, it’s natural.
    Women release oxytocin, a bonding hormone, when they have sex (and particularly when they orgasm), so in many cases, it’s hard not to feel at least a little attached. And of course, the more you spend any kind of physical time with someone, the more you’re likely to learn about them and get to know them on a more personal level. So, yeah… chances are, if you’re regularly having casual sex with the same person, you’re going to start to feel the feels.
    By now, we’ve all established that relationships are complex AF. WH advisor and therapist Dr Chloe tackles your most confusing issues and burning Qs.
    Makes sense. So I shouldn’t worry that my casual-sex thing doesn’t feel that casual?
    “Let’s not pretend this isn’t an issue — clearly, you’re here for a reason, and my guess is that the reason is you think this person doesn’t have those same feelings for you and you’re not sure how to proceed. Perhaps you went into this thing with a mutual understanding that the sex wouldn’t progress into a relationship and your feelings honestly took you by surprise.
    But it could also be the case that, on some deeper level, you sought out a casual-sex situation because you thought it’d be emotionally safer to stick to an arrangement where they can’t reject you. If you’re not ‘putting yourself out there’ in that vulnerable way, you can’t get hurt, right? I know the thinking.
    READ MORE: The 10 Rules Of Casual Dating Every Woman Should Know
    Here’s the truth, though: If you frequently (if not always) find yourself developing feelings for someone you’re having casual sex with, I urge you to consider if a non-relationship is really what you want. If you think casual sex is a way of guaranteeing you won’t be disappointed by a partner because you’re not even putting the idea of a relationship on the table, you’re actually encouraging self-denial, not self-awareness (which as a maturing adult, isn’t the way to go!).
    It’s kind of like overtraining at the gym and then popping a bunch of painkillers to remove the soreness: You might not feel the pain anymore, but the muscle damage is still there. Similarly, having sex with someone you like but who doesn’t cherish you is painful, whether you act like you care or not (by continuing to sleep with them with no strings attached).
    If that’s you — if you’ve never really been able to separate sex from emotions — casual sex might not be the healthiest thing for you. Try limiting yourself to having sex with people who reciprocate a desire for a relationship and emotional intimacy. Even though there’s no way of guaranteeing that a long-term relationship will come out of it, at least you’re not setting yourself up to be heartbroken and disappointed from the get-go.”
    Uuuhhhmmm, Dr Chloe… but that doesn’t help me now.
    “What to do in your current situation? The answer is simple: Be honest. You have absolutely nothing to gain by keeping your feelings to yourself or pretending that they aren’t there. In most cases, feelings only grow with time, so you’re doing yourself no favours by getting in deeper with someone who doesn’t want what you want.
    So tell them. Yes, I know it’s scary, but it’s worth it for the peace of mind you’ll gain after! Try saying: ‘I thought you should know that I’ve started to like you-like you. I think I need to step back, because when I got into this, I didn’t plan for these feelings.’
    READ MORE: 11 Signs Of An Emotionally Unavailable Partner — And WTH To Do About It
    This approach lets them know how you feel but doesn’t put any pressure on them to reciprocate — which you only want them to do if they truly feel the same way as you do. You don’t want a potential partner to stick around just so they can keep their Nice Guy (or Nice Girl) card, so let them know that you’ve decided to walk away without expressing any negativity toward them. That way, if they come back and tell you they want more, you know it’s because they actually want more.
    Now, if they don’t end up coming around with their own declaration of feelings or desire for a relationship on their own time, know this: You just did yourself a solid. The relationship you’re imagining in your head is with a relationship-oriented person who feels a certain way about you, too. And if that’s not them — they only want casual sex, or they just don’t see you in particular as something more than that — then you can accept the reality and let go. It’s much, much easier to move on from someone who isn’t what you want than someone who is.
    Got it. Is there any way to rein my feelings in in the future?
    Of course! If you do decide to enter into another casual-sex shindig because that’s what you really, truly, deeply want, try the following to minimise the chances of getting in too deep:

    Avoid sharing or learning deep personal stories (about your family, hobbies, childhood, etc.), which forms strong connections.
    Avoid frequent or daily texting — only talk for purposes of meeting up for your rendezvous — because frequency and duration of contact is how humans build trust and grow closer.
    Avoid replaying encounters in your mind, which makes your brain grow fonder of them.

    Space out encounters or keep them to long-distance situations. Seeing someone often (and sleeping with them) pumps out all kinds of chemical hormones that can make you feel “addicted” to them.
    At the end of the day, casual sex without attachment is possible, but it’s tricky. As long as you stay true to yourself and your heart along the way, you’ll be just fine. I promise.
    This article was originally published on www.womenshealthmag.com  More

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    Deal Alert: This Thrusting Happy Rabbit Vibrator We Love Is 25% Off RN!

    So. Rabbit vibrators. Thus named because of the two little “ears” that are designed to stimulate your clitoris, while the main shaft of the toy finds your G-spot. Simple enough. And more than effective enough at producing orgasms. What more could a girl want? Turns out, the people at Lovehoney asked themselves that exact question and really pulled a rabbit out of the hat with the Happy Rabbit Thrusting Vibrator.
    Why We Love The This Happy Rabbit Vibrator
    I can see your eyebrow rising in interest at the word “thrusting”. Of course, all vibrators have thrusting abilities – all you need to do is move your hand – but this toy actually does the thrusting for you because it has built-in thrusting technology (sounds super sexy) that delivers real-feel stimulation to imitate real-deal sexual relations.
    READ MORE: 5 Rabbit Vibrators You Need To Add To Your Collection Today
    The shaft has three thrusting speeds and the “happy ears” have a powerful motor with three speeds and six patterns, all of which promise to provide you with intense, spine-tingling blended pleasure. The toy is covered with velvet-soft silicone and is waterproof so you don’t need to limit your fun to dry land. It’s also USB rechargeable and has a nifty travel lock to make sure it doesn’t hop into action as you’re making your way through customs.
    This rabbit is pretty big, so it could be a bit intimidating to those brand-new to the toy game, but it’s super-simple to use (it only has two buttons) so you don’t need a PhD in engineering to get yourself off. If you’re looking for something new and exciting that will take you down a rabbit hole of fun, this Happy Rabbit vibrator is just for you. And as always, a good water-based lubricant is a must.
    READ MORE: 6 Legit **Quiet** Vibrators That’ll Get You Off Anytime, Anywhere
    [buy_button img=”https://www.womenshealthsa.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/happy-rabbit-thrusting-realistic-rabbit-vibrator-lovehoney.jpg” url=”https://c.trackmytarget.com?a=qru1ek&i=ph1q1o&ref1=HappyThrustingRabbitReview&r=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.desir.co.za%2Fsex-toys%2Flovehoney%2Fhappy-rabbit-thrusting-realistic-rabbit-vibrator-lovehoney-ref1761.html” description=”Lovehoney Happy Rabbit Thrusting Realistic Rabbit Vibrator” price=”1 492″ title=”Buy Now” alignment=”row”][/buy_button]
    Heads Up: To celebrate Women’s Day, Desir is giving all the ladies an early spoil with 25% off their entire Rabbit Vibrator category. You can check out all they toys available here. The promotion runs from Monday 1st August until Monday 8th August and is applicable for Showroom visits too.
    Women’s Health participates in various affiliate marketing programmes, which means we may get commissions on editorially chosen products purchased through our links to retailer sites. More

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    7 Habits of Women Who Always Have a Healthy Libido

    Just like exercising to stay in shape or maintaining a meditation practice for your mental health, establishing habits to get your libido in check doesn’t necessarily happen overnight. Sometimes it takes work. It’s important to keep in mind that every part of your body goes through phases over time—even our libidos. And while we would all love a healthy libido 24/7, sometimes our sex drives are going full speed ahead, and other times, they’re at a standstill. If you’re going through a phase where you just can’t get in the mood, know you are not alone and there are ways to get out of it. Everyone deserves to enjoy sex and look forward to it. Read on for seven habits women use to keep their libido healthy.

    1. Prioritize your alone time
    Self-care can apply to many different areas, including your libido. Spending time on your own allows you to reconnect with your body and check in on your mental well-being. Our bodies are interconnected organisms, and if we are stressed, it can often result in more than just symptoms of tiredness or irritability; it can manifest in physical pain (sore back, anyone?) or even low libido. Taking time for self-care—whether it be through exercise, meditation, journaling, a nice bath at the end of the day, or cooking a meal you love—is so important. It’s a mental break we all need to reset and feel more grounded and connected, especially when the outside world can feel overwhelming. 

    2. Try something new
    There’s no better way to stimulate libido than by trying something new. Maybe you and your partner have hit a rough patch and can’t connect like you used to, or maybe you’re single and your vibrator is starting to collect dust in your drawer. There’s no shame in either, but switching it up may be exactly what you need to break the spell. If you’re into solo sex, invest in a new sex toy, experiment with different porn, or set aside a night where you take a bath, light some candles, and indulge in pleasuring yourself. 
    If you are looking to boost sex with a partner, try choosing at least one night a week. Scheduling sex may sound uncomfortable, but it may be the thing to get you both out of a rut. You can also try bringing a sex toy into the bedroom, an aphrodisiac, or watching porn together. The best part? Whatever you choose, it can not only increase your libido but also build a stronger and healthier relationship. P.S. Don’t just stop at one—continue to try new things to keep your libido healthy.

    3. Figure out what you like and dislike
    Part of maintaining a healthy libido is knowing what you like and dislike (AKA what pleasures you or turns you on versus what doesn’t), but it’s OK if you’re still figuring that out—that’s part of the fun in experimentation. Perhaps you could try a new position and role-playing or lean into pleasure that may have felt shameful in the past. Try to vocalize what gets you going and what you could do without. Discovering what you like and dislike means throwing out the narrative you may have learned about what women should like and shouldn’t like about sex. You are allowed to enjoy whatever you like, and no one should tell you otherwise. It’s your body and your libido, so you get to call the shots. 

    4. Build strong trust and communication with your partner
    Whether you’re looking to improve intimacy in your relationship or you’re getting down and dirty with a FWB or casual hookup, you need to feel safe and secure in order to feel vulnerable enough to share your desires. If you feel like you’re lacking something, then it could be time to start an open dialogue with your partner about your needs. Start by planning a check-in or date night where you feel comfortable vocalizing your feelings and come to the table open and ready to share and listen. If you’re in a relationship, remember that your physical relationship can only be as strong as its emotional counterpart. And if you’re not in a LTR, you deserve to feel safe enough to communicate with anyone who’s lucky enough to be with you.

    5. Exercise regularly
    It should come as no surprise that those who exercise regularly are more likely to have a healthy libido. While working out has a plethora of benefits, the endorphins it releases and the effect it has on how we view our bodies directly impact our libidos. Studies have shown that there is “an association between body mass, a negative body image, and the avoidance of sexual situations.” In other words, if we want to feel confident in the bedroom and increase our libido, exercising on the regular and prioritizing our bodies is how we get there.

    6. Take the pressure off
    It goes without saying that women are under a lot of societal pressure. The pressure placed on women to fit into a certain box is prevalent, and I am here to tell you that it’s time to take the pressure off. We’re all wonderfully different, even when it comes to our libidos. Some people naturally have a higher sex drive than others, and that’s OK. Let go of any limiting beliefs surrounding your sexual well-being, and just listen to your body and enjoy sex on your own terms.

    7. Talk to your doctor
    The health of your libido deserves the same attention as any other medical concern you may have. And while your sex drive could improve with the aforementioned habits, there may be underlying factors that require further examination. Aside from mental blocks, including medications, physical changes, and hormonal changes, there are many other factors that can contribute to low libido. If you have a consistently low sex drive, it may be time to talk to your doctor. Maintain regular check-ups with your gynecologist, and prioritize your sexual health as you would any other part of your body.

    Want To Increase Your Libido? I Swear by These 7 Products More

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    10 Foods to Eat If You Want a Better Sex Life, According to Experts

    You’ve probably heard about aphrodisiacs like chocolate and strawberries to get you in the mood, but is there really a correlation between nutrition and sex and if so, what are the best foods for sex? While aphrodisiacs are controversial among experts (no, chocolate is not a magical food meant to make you orgasm), many healthy foods contain important nutrients that can affect hormones or increase blood flow to help increase pleasure in the bedroom (or the bathroom, back of your car, with your vibrator–no judgment!). 
    But just a reminder that libido is a vital sign—a low sex drive could be the body’s way of communicating that it needs something. Therefore, the question is not just how can we improve our sex drive, but why is our sex drive lacking in the first place? This list is not meant to replace talking to your doc about finding the root cause for a low libido.
    Also, the most important thing you can do for your pleasure is to eat a healthy diet. Any whole foods like fruits and veggies can be good for the libido since a healthy libido is a sign of a healthy body. However, I asked doctors, nutritionists, and sex experts for specific foods that contain nutrients that are directly correlated to sexual pleasure. The foods they suggested are healthy, whole foods, so they can’t hurt to eat more of (in other words, whether or not they boost sex drive, they’re still good for you). Bottom line: talk to your doctor to improve low libido, eat a balanced and nutritious diet, and feel good about enjoying the 10 foods below, knowing they are expert-approved for spicing up your sex life.

    1. Raw honey
    If you’re deciding between sweeteners to add to your coffee, you might as well choose the one that can help increase libido. “Honey is packed full of natural goodness, including a mineral known as boron,” explained Reda Elmardi, a certified nutritionist, trainer, and editor at thegymgoat.com. “Boron has been found to help strengthen the bones, enhance muscle coordination, promote protein synthesis, and help increase the natural production of testosterone.” Even though we associate testosterone with men (especially bodybuilders), every gender has a combination of sex hormones, and testosterone directly correlates to sex drive. Raw honey (look for organic or manuka varieties) may help increase the natural production of the libido hormone.

    2. Maca
    Maca might not be found in every grocery store like honey, but it’s been used for thousands of years for energy, hormonal balance, and increasing sex drive. Maca is a vegetable that grows in the mountains of Peru and is technically a cruciferous vegetable, but it is most commonly found in the U.S. in the form of a powdered supplement. And according to some studies, there might be some scientific truth to the ancient use.
    “A number of research [studies have] shown that supplementing with maca can increase sexual desire,” suggested Wendy Lord, a registered dietitian and consultant for Sensible Digs. While many studies about sex drive are performed on men (serious eye roll), a 2008 study showed maca decreased sexual dysfunction in postmenopausal women. If you’re interested in trying for yourself, first talk to your doctor about whether or not it’s right for you, and do your research for trustworthy brands. 
     
    3. Berries
    You probably already know berries are good for skin glow and contain fiber for a healthy gut, but some experts swear that they’re the secret to a better sex life. According to Dr. Markus Ploesser, an integrative psychiatrist and longevity expert, berries like strawberries and raspberries contain zinc, which is important for testosterone level regulation (that hormone associated with sex drive).
    “Blueberries contain flavonoids like anthocyanins and proanthocyanidins, which have been shown to improve sexual function,” Elmardi agreed. Elmardi cited a study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine that found that people who ate blueberry-rich diets had increased blood flow to the genitalia after only three weeks (and when there’s more blood flow, there’s more pleasure). So what does all of this mean? Berries are a healthy source of antioxidants, phytonutrients, and fiber, so if you’re already a berry fan, keep on adding them to smoothies or eating them with yogurt, knowing you could also be getting sexual health benefits. 

    Source: Askar Abayev | Pexels

    4. Saffron
    Forget thyme and cumin–you’re going to want to cook everything with saffron from now on. It is believed that the delicious spice originated and was first cultivated in Greece, but today the spice is primarily grown in Iran, Greece, Morocco, and India. But lucky for us (and our sex drives), you can find it in most grocery stores. “The chemicals found in saffron have been shown to improve erectile dysfunction in men and increase lubrication for women,” Lord explained. A 2012 study gave women with low sexual desire 30 mg of saffron daily over four weeks and found it reduced sex-related pain and increased sexual desire and lubrication, compared to a placebo. To try for yourself, add the tasty spice to salad dressings, grains, marinades, or roasted veggies. 

    5. Oysters
    The slurpy seafood is probably not the go-to food when you think of “sexy,” but oysters have long been known for their aphrodisiac effects. While experts are divided on whether or not there’s any truth to aphrodisiacs, there’s truth to the ones that contain specific nutrients known to improve sex drive. Luckily for shellfish lovers (I had to google if oysters counted as shellfish, TBH), the fancy delicacy does. According to Dr. Ploesser, oysters boost dopamine, which is a neurotransmitter that increases libido. “Oysters are a clichéd aphrodisiac because they contain zinc, which is necessary for the production of prolactin in women,” agreed Candela Valle, the resident nutritionist for MYHIXEL. 

    6. Watermelon
    Watermelon is probably your favorite fruit come summer (so refreshing!), but it has serious benefits year-round. Besides its high water content and nutrients that are beneficial for multiple functions of the body, watermelon is doing wonders for your sex life too. “Watermelon is one of the most effective foods that contain sexually enhanced amino acids (citrulline) that helps blood vessels to relax and improve sex drive,” explained Steve Theunissen, a registered dietitian nutritionist and certified personal trainer. Yes, watermelon is 92 percent water, but the remaining 8 percent is packed with nutrients that can improve sexual health and maintain overall health. 

    7. Fenugreek
    Fenugreek originated in India and Northern Africa and dates back to six thousand years ago. Both the seeds and green leaves have been used as a spice in food and herbal medicine to treat various ailments for centuries. Turns out, it’s been boosting sexual health for a long time too. “Fenugreek contains chemicals that have properties similar to estrogen and testosterone,” Lord explained. “Research that looked at the effectiveness of fenugreek for improved sexual desire showed that it is effective in this area for both men and women.” As for why the herb affects libido? One of the reasons is that it’s a good source of zinc, which is an important nutrient related to the health of the sexual organs. 

    Source: Daria Shevtsova | Pexels

    8. Red wine
    As if we needed another reason to pour ourselves a glass, red wine might be one of the few alcoholic beverages that’s beneficial for libido (and–this may or may not be surprising to you–it’s not the alcohol that can improve your sex life). “Red wine contains quercetin, which might account for the positive response in sex drive,” said Dr. Anderson, Ph.D., a sex and relationship therapist, citing a 2009 study in The Journal of Sexual Medicine that showed one to two glasses of red wine a day increased sexual desire and lubrication in women. “Researchers noted that drinking more than two glasses of red wine daily or indulging in other types of alcoholic beverages did not produce the same results.” Sorry, spicy margaritas–you’re great for Taco Tuesdays, but not for our sex lives. 

    9. Garlic
    The key ingredient that makes pasta so delicious is another ingredient that is under-appreciated when it comes to building up sex drive. You might think garlic is a killer for your sex life (no one likes garlic breath…), but the nutrients it contains could be increasing your pleasure by lowering cortisol. Let an expert explain: “Garlic contains a compound known as allicin, which helps to naturally lower levels of a hormone known as cortisol,” Elmardi explained. “Cortisol suppresses the immune system and also suppresses the natural production of testosterone. As the allicin in garlic helps to naturally lower cortisol, this helps to keep your testosterone levels stable.” As long as garlic doesn’t upset your stomach, feel free to eat it as much as you want, as it’s loaded with nutrients that are good for many functions of the body. Maybe just pop a breath mint or two if you’re getting straight to testing out the results. 

    10. Avocados
    What can’t Instagram’s favorite fruit do!? Not only do avocados make a mean toast and a delicious pudding (a Kourtney Kardashian favorite, TYVM), but the beloved food is good for so many different functions of the body, including sex drive. “Avocados are high in vitamin E, which is a powerful antioxidant involved in widening blood vessels. As a result, you get a sufficient supply of blood to various parts of the body, including the genitals,” explained Barbara Santini, a psychologist and sex and relationship adviser. Bringing blood flow to the genitals means more of the good sensitivity that results in major pleasure. Try it as a spread on bread, cut up into salads, or made into guacamole. 

    We Asked Experts if Aphrodisiacs Actually Work More

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    6 Workout Moves To Try Now That Can Help You Orgasm Later

    So you know there are stretches that can help with anxiety and stretches that can improve digestion, but did you know there are also stretches for better sex? That’s right: You can yoga-pose your way to a better sex life, and celebrity trainer Lia Bartha is going to show you how. Bartha, the founder of B The Method, has worked with supermodels and actresses alike to to strengthen, restore, and protect their bodies through her own method that involves pilates-based, low-impact movements (also, she has an Instagram feed that is totally #wellnessgoals). Read on to get the 411 from Bartha about why exercise can affect the pelvic floor and six moves to get you closer to better sex. 

    Meet the expert
    Lia Bartha
    Celebrity Fitness Instructor and Founder of B The Method
    A former dancer with scoliosis and multiple injuries, Bartha created B The Method, a mix of highly unique pilates-based, low-impact movements—with inspiration from dance and swimming—to strengthen, restore, and protect her own body. Since becoming a fitness expert, she has trained celebrities such as Martha Hunt and Aubrey Plaza.

    Why is the pelvic floor so important?
    When your pelvic floor is either too tight or too weak, sex can be painful and orgasms can be nonexistent. People don’t put enough emphasis on caring for this muscle because they don’t know what it is, where to find it, and why it matters. The pelvic floor is a hammock of muscles located between the tailbone and pubic bone in the pelvis that contract and relax during penetration and increase blood flow during orgasms. Because of this, your workouts can have a huge impact on the health of your pelvic floor.
    High-impact exercises, lifting heavy weights, jumping, clenching while working out, and not breathing properly can cause the pelvic floor to become too tight. This can lead to so many issues within the body, not just those related to sex and orgasms. The same goes with not putting any care and emphasis on strengthening this muscle. I put such a huge emphasis on evenly strengthening and stretching the pelvic floor muscles in my workouts for this very reason. We all want to get in a good workout but shouldn’t have to sacrifice our sex life because of it.

    6 moves to help improve your sex life

    1. Happy Baby
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    Lay down on your back with your knees bent and feet in the air. Hold your big toes with your fingers and press your tailbone down to the floor in a neutral pelvis. This position will actively stretch your pelvic floor and force it to relax. The hip stretch is amazing as well for getting flexible and comfortable in a variety of sexual positions.

    2. Open Butterfly Stretch on a ball
    [embedded content]
    Sit on top of a small stability ball, like this one, with your legs open wide. Lay your chest forward toward the ground with your arms straight on the floor. Rock your hips side to side on the ball. This position will actively stretch your pelvic floor while stimulating blood flow to your genitals.

    3. Circle Gut Massage
    [embedded content]
    Lay down on your stomach with the ball placed under your low abdominals and pelvis. It will fit right in that “v” muscle area. Circle your hips five times in one direction and then switch directions. This will stretch, massage, and reset the gut, hips, and lower abdominals that are used for movement during sex. Think of it like foreplay, warmup, or even a cool-down.

    4. Bent Leg Circles
    [embedded content]
    Lay on your back in a neutral pelvis and spine. Lift your legs into a tabletop position. Either laying flat or lifting your neck and shoulders slightly with hands clasped behind your head, start to circle your legs in opposite directions from each other. Then, repeat in the other direction. This move will strengthen the pelvic floor and inner thigh muscles while loosening up the hips. 

    5. Moving Frog Plank
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    Get into a child pose with your feet tucked underneath. Lift your knees and press out into a plank position with a slightly externally rotated hip. Toes are apart and heels are squeezed together. Now, push back on your arms and into a child’s pose position, but keep the knees hovered. This move will both stretch and strengthen the pelvic floor in a single exercise.

    6. Core Bridging
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    Lay on your back with your feet and knees in parallel. Start to tuck your hips up into a bridge but make sure not to clench the glutes. Lead the exercise from the lower abdominals, pelvic floor, and inner thighs. You won’t be able to lift as high, but you will definitely understand why this is good for orgasms when you get into the position. You will feel the connection into that pelvic region. 

    5 Benefits of Orgasms We All Need RN, According to Experts More

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    9 New Products for Your Vagina That Will Transform Your Sexual Health

    Growing up, learning how to use a tampon was the extent of my knowledge of vagina products and sitting through sex ed was my only understanding of the inner workings of the vagina. Every time the word was mentioned, I turned red with embarrassment. Thankfully, gone are the days of keeping any talk of “the vag” reserved for awkward and often misleading education that makes you want to leave the room.
    Thanks to revolutionary, female-led companies leading the charge in redefining sexual wellness, the once hush-hush topic is not only openly and honestly discussed but also celebrated (as it has always deserved!). From innovative menstrual products to refreshing hygiene offerings we never knew we needed, these brands have all of our “down-there care” needs (and wants) covered. Read on for nine feminine care finds you’ll want to “Add to Cart.” Spoiler alert: There’s something for everyone.

    The Period Company
    Period Underwear
    Being on your period and feeling sexy (and comfortable) never belonged in the same sentence—that is, until now. Stylish and functional, the Period Company’s panties feature toxin-free, moisture-wicking fabric, four-layer absorbency, and leak-proof technology. Choose from heavy, sporty, light, and overnight styles. Whether you’re ready to swear off pads and tampons because of the negative impact they have on the environment or they’re annoying and messy (I could go on and on), these eco-friendly substitutes prove you don’t have to sacrifice hot girl vibes for protection. Period.

    Heating Patch
    We all know that riding the crimson wave comes with bloating and painful cramping. Enter: these heating patches that give off soothing warmth to help relax your muscles and provide relief from nagging cramps and uncomfortable bloat. Did I mention they’re made with botanical oils that won’t mess with your hormones or skin? No harsh chemicals here.

    Feminine Wipes
    You know that so-fresh-and-so-clean feeling you get after washing your face? These plant-based, pH-balancing wipes will leave you with that same feeling down there. What’s more, they’re equal parts convenient and versatile—use them after a gym sesh, before or after having sex, or when you’re on your period. Your “honeypot” (vagina, ICYMI) will thank you.

    Vaginal Balance Capsules
    Sexual health is not only about what’s on the outside. Feeling and functioning at our best means taking care of our insides too. If you could use a little help in that area, talk to your doctor about adding these supplements, which support your urinary tract health and balance your vaginal pH to your wellness regimen. With ingredients sans GMO, gluten, harmful fillers, and artificial preservatives, you can rest assured that you’re giving your vagina the right kind of TLC.

    Elvie Trainer
    The pelvic floor (made up of the muscles between the tailbone and the pubic bone) is having a moment, and rightfully so. From bladder and bowel movement control to better sex and core stability to prenatal and postpartum well-being, the muscle group has a lot of crucial functions, and it’s about time we give it the time and attention it deserves. The Evie Trainer helps you do just that. Inserted like a tampon, the app-connected device will lead you through targeted exercises that’ll give your pelvic floor a workout—consider it your new personal trainer. Before trying, make sure to talk to your gynceologist or pelvic floor specialist to see if it’s right for you.

    Natural Cycles
    NC° Birth Control
    Birth control that is hormone-free and side effect-free sounds too good to be true, but this new birth control method is changing the game. Using an app and your basal body temperature, this FDA-cleared digital contraception tool tracks your fertility status and tells you when to use protection to prevent pregnancy. Offered as a monthly or an annual subscription, the app boasts a 98% effectiveness when used correctly. As always, talk to your gynecologist about a birth control plan that’s right for your lifestyle, health goals, and body.

    Finger Vibrator
    PSA: Self-pleasure is a form of wellness, and this finger vibrator does the trick. Meant to be worn on your finger, its design is as versatile as it is sleek. Whether you favor the flat and squishy angle or use the device before, during, or after sex, the Fin Finger Vibrator lets you call the shots. The best part (other than the “O” you’ll get, of course)? It’s small but mighty and discreet enough to take on the go.

    Travel Size Lube
    Small enough to throw in your carry-on and tuck away in your nightstand, this lubricant duo is TSA- and bedroom-approved (because you never know when the mood will strike). The organic lube is moisture-boosting and both device- and condom-friendly, while the silicone alternative boasts long-lasting lubrication and is best used with condoms. They’re vegan and cruelty-free with no added fragrance or parabens, so the only thing you have to worry about is deciding which one you’re more in the mood for.

    Author: Nadya Okamoto
    Period Power
    Though not a product you can use on your vagina, this book is a must-have, whether you’re a “menstruator” or not. It takes a deep dive into menstruation, the stigmas and inequities surrounding it, and how to break down the silence, shame, and stigmas to change the conversation around periods. To continue her advocacy, author Nadya Okamoto launched August, a period care company and community that promotes honesty, transparency, inclusivity, and diversity in relation to menstruation.

    Please consult a doctor before beginning any treatments, supplements, or product routines. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read in this article.

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    How To Meditate Your Way to a Better Sex Life

    I know what you’re thinking: meditation for sex? What do meditation and sex have in common? As it turns out, a lot. The practice of meditation is centered on a mind-body connection, so what if you could use that connection to tap into increased pleasure? Sign us up! A study done by the NATSAL showed that 51% of the women surveyed reported at least one sexual concern that lasted three months or longer, and less than 20% of those women sought out advice or help for it (PSA: Talk to your doctors and partners about increasing pleasure, ladies!). Many of us have experienced sex that isn’t enjoyable and just accepted it as normal, but it’s time to say goodbye to mediocre sex because you deserve to have a great sex life. Here’s how to use meditation to get there.

    How meditation can affect your sex life
    Some studies have shown a direct correlation between sexual functioning and meditation and that people who meditate experience a higher chance of sexual arousal. To me, this just makes sense. As a certified Breathwork Facilitator, I incorporate a meditation practice into my daily routine. When I stray from that routine (as we all do from time to time), I notice changes in my mood, energy, and attention. I am more irritable, less focused, and usually come home exhausted. The combo of those three emotions is not a recipe for a great day, let alone a great orgasm. In order for sex to be pleasurable, you have to connect to your body and feel confident in your desires. Consistent meditation can help boost overall mood and energy, which gives us the best chance to get in the mood for sex.
    In addition, practices from meditation can help us stay present during sex, which leads to greater pleasure. When meditating, we focus on how the breath moves through the body and out the mouth. Sometimes, other thoughts will arise, but we remind ourselves to go back to the breath. If we apply this same practice to sex, we’re less likely to think about how our bodies look, worry if we’re satisfying the other person, or zone out and think about tomorrow’s to-do list. Meditation allows us to stay present and tuned into our bodies. Sex and meditation both require ultimate mind-body connection; you can’t have an orgasm unless your mind and body are equally stimulated.

    Meditations for a better sex life
    Meditation to improve body image
    We are our own worst critics, and most of the time, it starts with the way we look. If you want to feel comfortable being naked with another person, you first have to feel comfortable being naked on your own. Try this practice every day to improve your confidence. Each morning when getting ready for the day, take a look in the mirror and smile at yourself: Look at your cheekbones, eyes, ears, and every little freckle, appreciating all of it.
    Repeat this for a couple of days, and then try it again but without your shirt. Look at your upper torso, breasts, and stomach, smiling and sending love to every body part. A couple of days later (after you feel more confident), try this practice fully naked. It might feel weird and uncomfortable, but that’s OK. Tell yourself, “My body is beautiful” (even if you don’t believe it), and repeat this over and over again. Continue this practice until you start to believe the compliments you’re giving yourself.

    Meditation to improve mindfulness
    Nothing kills the mood like being distracted. It’s hard to have great sex unless we are in the moment, and being present is a skill that can be honed. This meditation is great to do before sex to help you get in the right mindset. Start by sitting in a comfortable position with your feet on the ground. Close your eyes and take a deep breath in through your nose, then breathe up and out of your mouth. Repeat a couple more times. Relax your shoulders and feel your feet on the ground. Feel the surface beneath them and feel the heaviness of your feet as they connect to the earth.
    Allow whatever has gone on today that made you happy, sad, or angry to flow out of you, through your feet, and into the earth. Just let it all go until you feel lighter. Now that your mind is clear, return to your breathing and notice how your chest rises and falls. Become aware of how the breath travels through your body without judging whether it’s fast or slow. If your mind wanders, simply come back to the breath. Now, repeat the phrase “I am here.” When you are ready, slowly open your eyes. 

    Meditation to increase pleasure
    Do you know what turns you on? I’m talking about your wildest fantasies—the stuff you’re maybe too fearful to admit to your partner (or even yourself). The goal of this meditation is to connect to your deepest turn-ons. To start, sit in a comfortable position and close your eyes. Take a deep breath through the nose and out through the mouth. Repeat this until you feel more relaxed and centered in the body.
    Now, tune into your sensations. Notice the hairs that stand up on your skin, the feeling of your heart beating against your chest, and the temperature of your body. Now, ask yourself, “Where do I feel pleasure?” Allow yourself to let go of any preconceived notions of where pleasure should be or what your fantasies should be. This is your private meditation. Feel that desire in your body, wherever it is, and allow it to flow to other areas of the body. Permit yourself to feel this pleasure during sex and to feel the joy of it fully. When you are ready, you can slowly open your eyes.

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