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    Here’s Exactly How Your Vagina Changes In Your 20s, 30s And 40s

     Though you may not be aware, vaginas go through changes along with the rest of your body. Here’s of the vagina changes over the decades from your 20s, 30s and beyond …

    Why do vaginas change?

    Through the years, your vagina changes with the rest of your body, drooping and even drying as you approach menopause. Hormonal changes influence the way your vagina looks and feels – though it’s all totally normal. Over time, you can expect a change in vulva thickness, lubrication and pelvic floor strength. Read on for the specifics of how your vagina changes with age.

    In your 20s

    Normal shrinkage

    Puberty’s over (thank goodness) and your organs have reached their adult size. Except, that is, for your labia majora – the outer “lips” that enclose the rest of your privates. Don’t be shocked to see these looking slimmer. As you age, subcutaneous fat, including that of your genitals, decreases.

    In your 30s

    The big stretch

    The uterus balloons to watermelon proportions during pregnancy – then shrinks back down within six weeks after birth. In South Africa, statistics show that the majority of births in private hospitals are conducted by C-section, sparing their vag opening similar stretching.

    Dark shadows

    The hormone shifts that come with pregnancy or ageing can cause your labia minora, the “inner” lips that encircle the clitoris and vaginal opening, to darken in colour. So you can relax if, on your next self-check, it’s like 50 shades of (mauve-ish) grey down there.

    In your 40s

    Short stuff

    Though a woman’s egg supply dwindles rapidly in her early forties, she still ovulates and (sigh) gets her period. Cycles are a bit shorter, though, and tend to peter out by age 51 – i.e. menopause. Your body puts an end to fertility five to 10 years before that.

    Deep squeeze

    Your repro organs are supported by a hammock of tendons, tissue and muscle. Extra kilos, ageing or years of high-impact workouts can loosen this pelvic floor, straining organs and causing bladder leakage or a “heavy” feeling down below. Your move: Kegel exercises! These simple moves strengthen your pelvic floor, making it healthier – and for stronger orgasms.

    Desert rescue

    Lower oestrogen levels affect the vagina’s acid-alkaline balance, which can spur inflammation – along with thinning and drying of the vaginal walls, which can cause itching, burning and redness. Silver lining: regular sex can prevent this (get on it!).

    This article was first published in More

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    There Is Nothing Normal About Pain During Sex

    First-time sex is supposed to be painful due to the hymen (a thin piece of tissue located at the opening of the vagina) tearing. Most of us grew up hearing this statement. We held on to it as the gospel and waited our turn to feel this ‘natural’ pain. 

    There’s no bigger lie, believes psychosexual therapist Catriona Boffard, who has been in the game for well over 13 years and is particularly passionate about this subject. She believes that young women being taught that first-time sex is painful creates more long-term damage than we let on and it’s something that should never be normalised.

    “One of the biggest issues is that when women expect something to hurt, or if there has been some physical sexual trauma, chemotherapy treatment or a skin condition, they aren’t going to be sufficiently aroused physically and psychologically – and that will automatically lead to pain. There are many reasons why a woman has unwanted pain during sex, but her first time is not one of them. A woman’s first time shouldn’t hurt.”
    Catriona Boffard

    READ MORE: 5 Things You ALWAYS Need To Do After Anal Sex

    Why you could be experiencing sexual pain

    There are various health and psychological reasons that cause pain during sex – and these should be treated with the utmost urgency. “One of the most common reasons why women experience pain during sex is that they’re not sufficiently aroused. Also, because society tells us that sex first-time sex is going to hurt, that also switches off the probability of being physically and mentally aroused. Her vaginal muscles tense up leading to sexual pain,” explains Boffard. 

    Another reason could be due to sexual pain disorders. “It’s usually a psychosomatic issue that a woman experiences where there is a fear-pain cycle that perpetuates in the brain. It could be that she’s experienced psychological and physical trauma before when inserting a tampon or a finger, being examined by a gynaecologist or when a penis penetrates,” shares Boffard. 

    READ MORE: Vanilla Sex: Not As Boring As You Think

    The third reason is due to dermatological conditions such as lichen sclerosis which affects the tissue in the vulva area or recurring vaginal infections, adds Boffard. Then there’s also the effects of ageing, menopause or chemotherapy which causes shrinking and atrophy (skin condition demonstrated by thin shiny-appearing skin, small readily visible blood vessels, bruises, stretch marks, increased hair, redness, and pigmentation changes) in the vaginal tissue, particularly in the labia. 

    Possible treatments

    Should you decide to consult a psychosexual therapist for your pain during sex, they are likely to first refer you to a sexual health doctor for a full examination and assessment to rule out the possibility of the pain being caused by clinical reasons. “The treatment usually depends on what it is that she’s experiencing. There is no one-size-fits-all model. Every woman needs to be treated differently depending on what her concerns are,” says Boffard. 

    READ MORE: 10 Quiet Vibrators That Will Let You Play In Peace

    One of the most common causes of unwanted sexual pain in women, from a psychological perspective, is negative messaging around sex. “A woman living with vaginismus (the tightening of the muscles on the vagina) may need sessions with a physiotherapist to manage the movement of their pelvis and another may need some psychological therapy sessions. Ideally, a woman experiencing unwanted sexual pain needs a team made up of a sexual health doctor, a sexologist like myself and a physiotherapist,” she says. More

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    11 Things I Wish I Learned in Sex Ed (but Didn’t)

    When I think back to 7th-grade sex ed, I recall a series of three VHS videos that are burned into my memory: a graphic depiction of a baby crowning during birth, an instructional video about how to use a condom, and a sketch involving a student who drops a massive box of tampons at school and a teenage boy who steps in to help (and who, BTW, is entirely unphased by the sheer number of feminine products in her possession). These were the takeaways of the lessons I learned: birth is wild, protection is non-negotiable, and menstruation is normal. (Of course, that last one only the female students learned while the males were shuffled into another room to learn about wet dreams and such.) 
    As I advanced into adulthood, I remember coming across various scenarios that prompted the thought, “Huh, that would’ve been nice to learn in sex ed.” And I know I’m not alone. So I decided to team up with Ariele Myers, a fertility specialist, board-certified herbalist, licensed acupuncturist, and Founder of The Whole Woman Collective, to devise the top things I wish I’d learned about the female body in sex ed. Ahead, 11 lessons about sex I wish I learned, but didn’t. 

    Meet the expert
    Ariele Myers
    Myers founded Arieles Apothecary, where she worked with some of the top Reproductive Endocrinologists and IVF centers in the country to help hundreds of women on their hormonal health and fertility journeys. In 2016, she founded Wisdom of the Womb, an online platform to educate on all things reproductive health.

    1. It’s not that easy to get pregnant
    In a very informal poll I took of all my friends, this was the number one issue that we felt our sex ed classes misled us on. I get that it’s tough to explain nuance to a bunch of 7th graders, but if you’re under the impression that you can get pregnant any day of the month, you’re in for a surprise if and when you decide to try to get pregnant. According to Myers, a woman’s “fertile window” is about 6 days long. The math here is that women ovulate for about 12-48 hours, and “While our egg is only viable for a short time, sperm can live for 5 days, so we can actually become pregnant by having sex before we ovulate,” Myers explained. 
    If you’re trying to avoid pregnancy, Myers suggested backtracking 5-6 days from the day you ovulate and either avoiding vaginal sex or using contraception until about 48 hours after ovulation to be safe. Basically, avoid unprotected sex for a week. “Where some women go wrong in trying to avoid pregnancy is that they wait until they’re ovulating to abstain from penetrative vaginal intercourse,” Myers added. “If there is sperm in your body at the time you ovulate, you can get pregnant.” Another disclaimer: This can be a helpful timeframe if you have a regular cycle, so if you have an irregular cycle (and even if you don’t), chat with your doctor about a plan that works best for you. 

    2. Tracking your ovulation is a great way to get to know yourself
    If you’ve never tried tracking your ovulation, I highly encourage you to. Not only does it empower you to know when pregnancy is possible (whether you’re trying to achieve or avoid it), but it’s also an indicator of good health. There are a few ways to track your ovulation, and Myers’s favorite is by tracking your Basal Body Temperature (BBT). “BBT charting tells us so much about our reproductive health, like our follicular and luteal health as well as how we ovulate, not just if and when we ovulate,” Myers said. 
    If you’re into cycle syncing, BBT is an excellent way to gauge which phase of your cycle you’re entering. Myers offers a free YouTube tutorial on tracking BBT if you’re wondering how to start. Alternatively, you could buy an Ovulation Predictor Kit (OPK) at any major store that sells pregnancy tests. “OPK testing is simple, pee-on-a-stick easy, but can get expensive if you’re using them monthly,” Myers stated. These tests can also misread whether you’re actually ovulating as they often only track LH (luteinizing hormone) spikes, which occur just before ovulation, and not the progesterone that kicks in after ovulation.
    Lastly, you can keep an eye on ovulation by tracking your cervical mucus, which Myers referred to as helpful, but also takes some figuring out. “Around the time you ovulate, the consistency of fertile cervical mucus [will be] similar to that of raw egg whites,” Myers said. “Ever try to get a little piece of shell out of the egg white? It’s nearly impossible!” This “raw egg white” consistency usually appears within four days of ovulation.
    3. Period pain is not normal
    I was shocked to discover well into my mid-20s that severe cramping alongside my period—though common—wasn’t actually “normal.” Rather, it was a sign that my hormones were out of whack. “Within the framework of Eastern Medicine, pain before and during our cycle can indicate a stagnation of Qi and Blood or blockage in our reproductive organs,” Myers said. “This can inhibit blood flow, which can contribute to pain and cramping.”
    I can personally speak to the power of acupuncture (and herbal tea!) for hormonal health (after going down that road, I rarely cramp when I menstruate). “Some profoundly impactful ways to reduce your menstrual pain at home are Moxibustion and womb massage,” Myers added. 
    4. The birth control pill is not a cure-all for all menstrual issues
    Birth control can be an effective tool for contraception, but it’s often used to treat a myriad of menstruation issues. And like all medications, it carries risks along with benefits. “While I believe that the hormonal contraceptive was one of the best things to happen for women’s reproductive freedom, anything we put into the body has to be processed by our body—by our liver—and this does impact our overall health,” Myers said. “Birth control pills are a powerful method of preventing pregnancy, especially when a woman isn’t available or open to tracking her cycle.” But if you’re looking to improve the health of your hormones or your cycle, options outside of birth control might provide a better long-term solution.
    5. Orgasms are good for you
    I honestly can’t remember if orgasms were discussed in sex ed, but I know we didn’t talk about their health benefits (spoiler: there are a lot of benefits!). “During orgasm, women release endorphins, ‘feel good’ hormones like oxytocin and dopamine, and prolactin,” Myers explained. Not only do these chemicals counteract stress, but they can also relieve anxiety. Pleasure can actually be healing if we are intentional about how we access it. Imagine if your sex ed class encouraged you to explore what made you feel good. 
    “Only 31-40% of women say that they reach orgasm during penetrative intercourse, and many women say they feel ashamed or embarrassed that they don’t orgasm,” Myers pointed out. “I want there to be so much more support for people to have the time and space to learn what their body likes and wants. Emily Nagoski’s book Come As You Are is an amazing resource for all bodies wanting to understand and discover their capacity for desire.”
    6. Post-sex care is important
    Do you know when I learned it was important to pee after sex to avoid a urinary tract infection (UTI)? After getting my first UTI. Though it may feel like hearsay, it’s not a myth: “Peeing after sex is important as it helps you flush bacteria that could potentially cause UTIs out of the urethra,” Myers said. “The belief that it can ward off pregnancy, however, is not factual as the urethra is separate from the vagina.” Emotional post-sex care is important too, Myers pointed out. “Some people need and want cuddles or talking after sex, some need a nap, and some are fine to just get up and go,” she said. She encourages leaning into what you want and need—and practicing asking for it.

    7. Intimacy and sex are different
    Though this isn’t strictly related to physical health, it’s important for anyone engaged in sexual activity to know how to differentiate the physical act of sex from the emotional bond of intimacy. “It feels important to remember that sex is sex and love is love,” Myers said. When both parties aren’t aligned on exactly how they’re using sex, people can get hurt. “It’s OK to have sex without intimacy and connection if that’s what you choose,” Myers noted. “But when you have sex as a means to increase connection,” especially when the other person isn’t on the same page, “it often doesn’t work and can leave us feeling vulnerable.” Wouldn’t it have been great if sex ed helped us navigate these nuances from the start?
    8. Consent is an enthusiastic “yes,” and “no” is a complete sentence
    Consent is critical for obvious reasons, but I wish the nuances of consent had been discussed and taught more clearly in sex ed. Myers explained that so many women tell her they don’t feel entitled to their “no.” Other times, they worry about the other person feeling rejected. “‘No’ is a complete sentence,” Myers said. “Even if you like someone, even if you want to continue feeling connected, you never owe anyone your body. Sexuality is not a performance. I believe this should be the foundation of sexual education: that we get to feel, explore, and honor our feelings of desire as well as lack of desire.”
    In the same vein, if you have been told “no,” know that it is not a reflection of your worth (another thing I wish they told us in sex ed). There are so many reasons a person might not be interested in sex that have nothing to do with who you are. 
    9. What you’re calling a “vagina” is probably a “vulva” (and they all look different!)
    Screaming “penis” and “vagina” at the top of our lungs to normalize the words—another sex ed lesson burned into my brain (anyone else?): “A” for effort, but it reduced our understanding of the anatomy to two terms. I’m pretty sure I thought my vulva was called a vagina well into my 20s, and most men I know still don’t know the difference.
    Let’s settle any confusion now: The vulva is the area outside a woman’s genitals. Within the vulva, you’ll find a clitoris (the pleasure center), labia majora and minora (the outer and inner lips), a urethra (where urine travels), and the vaginal opening. The vagina is actually inside the body. It’s the inner canal that leads toward the uterus. The beautiful thing about vulvas is that no two are identical, much like fingerprints. It can be maddening when younger women worry about whether their vulva looks “normal,” because there’s no real “normal” to compare it to. Again, that’s something that would have been really helpful to learn in sex ed.
    10. Non-sexual infections happen and are nothing to be ashamed of
    There’s a lot of talk about sexually transmitted diseases in sex ed, but not a whole lot of discussion about the fairly common non-sexual infections that can crop up—yeast infections and bacterial vaginosis. “It is best to go to a doctor to check on any excessive itching or unusual discharge,” Myers suggested. But it’s not necessary to get overly concerned right away. These types of infections can occur as a side effect of antibiotics, birth control, hormone imbalance, or diet. “Our digestion can change the pH in our vagina, which can become a breeding ground for infections, like Candida overgrowth,” Myers said. Talk to your doctor if you experience any changes, and practice proper hygiene. 
    11. Sex is not just heterosexual (because duh)
    This one really goes without saying, but we’re saying it anyway. It’s hard enough navigating being a woman in a heteronormative society, considering the fact that women were forced to rely on a man for survival throughout most of history. “This framework only shifted as recently as the 1970s when women could open their own bank account and even be considered for certain professions—but our value as women is still strongly steeped within that historical context,” Myers shared.  
    For folks who identify outside the bounds of heteronormative culture, who have faced even more invisibility and had to fight for any real contextualization of value at all, navigating sexual intimacy is even hazier. Queer relationships need to be visible, normalized, and valued so that the folks who reside within them can feel visible, normal, and valued. And sexual education needs to cover these kinds of relationships so that all students are offered the health and safety information they deserve.

    The Surprising Connection Between Posture and Sex More

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    The Surprising Connection Between Posture and Sex

    We all know posture is important. We grew up with at least one parent whose favorite pastime was to jab their thumb between our shoulder blades and remind us to stand taller (Just me? Cool, cool). We know posture is helpful to ensure proper muscle function, and it’s important for proper alignment of joints and bones. But did you know your posture can make or break your sex life?
    Because I didn’t—and I’ve never been so motivated to stand up straight.
    After having a baby in 2021, I started following various pelvic floor therapists on Instagram. When I connected the dots between posture and vaginal flexibility, I started to pay more attention to the way in which my shoulders slump when I’m at my computer, or how I tuck my pelvis and lean back when I’m holding my 30lb toddler. One follow I’ve found helpful is Jesse Truelove, a pre-and-post-natal trainer who specializes in women’s corrective exercise and pelvic floor work. Her reels on posture have helped remind me to move more consciously, whether I’m at my desk or dead-lifting the little one.
    So I decided to reach out to Truelove to see if she could speak directly to this connection between posture and sexual pleasure. And from what she told me, it’s a widely unknown issue. “Something a lot of people aren’t thinking about is tension in the pelvis and how that impacts sexual pleasure and orgasms,” she explained. Read on to find out how posture affects sex and Truelove’s best tips for improving your sex life (BTW, these tips apply to everyone with a uterus, whether or not you’ve had–or intend to have–a child).

    Meet the expert
    Jesse Truelove, CPT, WFS
    Core & Pelvic Health Specialist
    Jesse Truelove is a pre/postnatal trainer and creator of the MomCORE app, which helps women recover from common dysfunctions post-pregnancy. She is certified in pelvic floor corrective exercise and kinesiology, and has coached thousands of women to heal their pelvic floor.

    In this article

    How Posture Affects Sex
    According to Truelove, when you sit all day with your pelvis tucked under you or if you tend to clench your butt while standing or walking, it can actually shorten the muscles in both your glutes and your pelvic floor. “When this happens over an extended period of time, blood flow is reduced, and we need blood flow for a clitoral erection.” Translation: not paying attention to your pelvic floor muscles and posture can actually impact clitoral stimulation. What’s more, Truelove adds, “We need to be able to contract and lengthen our pelvic floor muscles to allow for penetration and the ability to orgasm.” Basically, poor posture can constrict the muscles in your undercarriage to the point where you can’t easily lengthen them, which can lead to pain during sex or difficulty achieving orgasm.

    Signs That Your Posture Might Be Affecting Your Sex Life
    Your body’s default is to slouch
    One red flag that indicates you might start to see muscle imbalance or chronic pain in the future (and less-than-ideal intercourse) is when you notice your body default to a position where your shoulders round, head juts outward, and pelvis tucks under, as Truelove told me. My shoulders are constantly rounding—to a point where that rounded position feels like a relief. My back starts to get tired if I’m holding a straighter posture. Truelove suggests it’s because my body has learned that the slouched position is my default. “Our bodies are very smart and want to conserve our energy,” she said. “Sometimes at the expense of our [long-term] comfort.”

    You’re chronically stressed
    Sitting all day isn’t the only reason your tailbone might be tucked, leading to poor posture and pelvic floor function. “A tight pelvic floor and tucked pelvis can also be a symptom of chronic stress,” Truelove emphasizes. “If you think about a dog that gets yelled at, it tucks its tail to protect its most vulnerable space, and so do we. We tuck under, clutch, and protect.” It’s wild to think about how subconsciously our body language operates, but it makes sense. Our bodies are always communicating with us. And when we are constantly stressed, our bodies constrict and create tension. “The body is more connected than you may think,” Truelove notes. “Even tension in the jaw translates to tension in your pelvic floor, too.”

    It’s hard to find a comfortable standing position
    Another, more surprising, red flag is when you notice it’s hard to find a comfortable standing position. “You may not be able to find comfortable upright positions and [as a result] are constantly looking for your next seat for relief,” Truelove says. If any of these signs makes you wince a little because they’re too real, I’m right there with you. There’s good news, though, if you (like millions of us) are tied to your desk chair all day and are operating under chronic stress, you can absolutely rectify pelvic tightness in your body. Truelove reassures that taking the time to notice and shift your habits around posture and even your breathing patterns can have a major positive impact on your sexual pleasure.

    Expert Tips To Improve Posture and Support Your Pelvic Floor
    1. Breathe into your pelvis
    “When you inhale, imagine filling a balloon that’s sitting in your pelvic bowl,” Truelove explains. By breathing in a way that feels like you’re pushing your hip bones away from each other, you’re activating and stretching the deep core muscles that support your pelvic muscles. “Most people inhale and their shoulders come toward their ears, [but] this is not deep breathing,” Truelove says. Timing yourself for just a few minutes at a time and breathing deeply into your pelvic bowl can shape your breathing habits over time.

    2. Release your glutes
    We often don’t know that we’re tightening a muscle (like clenching our jaws) when it’s an engrained habit, but taking a few minutes to check in with yourself—while you’re brushing your teeth or waiting in line somewhere—could make all the difference. “Butt tucking and tension can restrict blood flow to the pelvic floor area, (goodbye orgasms and pleasure),” Truelove warns. And although it’s a tougher habit to break, it’s doable. It’s just a matter of starting to be aware when you’re tensing up your glute muscles, and then releasing. 

    3. Go barefoot when you can
    Yes, wearing shoes may be hindering your ideal posture. “Our feet are our foundation,” Truelove explained. “What you put them in is absolutely impacting your pelvic health. Jamming your toes into narrow heels or trendy athletic shoes or even flip flops is sending tension signals to your pelvic floor that you don’t even realize.”
    If you need proof, try scrunching your toes together really hard right now. You might notice tension in your pelvic floor. Or it might feel like you’re clenching as though you’re trying to hold back some gas. It’s subtle, but it’s all connected. Does this mean it’s time to say goodbye to heels forever? Not necessarily. “Try going barefoot more often, and opt for more foot-shaped shoes,” Truelove suggests. If you’re really attached to the trendy footwear that smashes your toes a bit, try striving for balance. The danger is when those toes never get to splay.

    FYI–You Don’t Need Perfect Posture To Have Great Sex
    When I asked what kind of posture to shoot for, Truelove reminded me to manage my expectations. “Perfect posture doesn’t exist,” she said. “We are all unique and different, and life was meant to happen in all different positions.” Varying lifestyles are going to require slightly different postures to support different types of movement. “With that said, alignment is important for great breathing, pelvic floor function, and more. Problems start to arise when we get ‘stuck’ in one posture and have trouble getting into certain positions without pain or compensation.”
    The best thing to do to “enhance” your posture is to focus on aligning your spine by shaking up your habitual movement patterns. For example, “If you lead with your pelvis [while walking] and lean backward with your upper body, try to stack your pelvis under your ribcage and then your head over your shoulders,” Truelove suggests. She acknowledges that it may feel very unnatural, but that’s OK because with more awareness and practice it will all feel more natural. Our muscles can unlearn old habits with time. Discomfort in the short term will lead to major physical relief in the long run (80-year-old future you will thank you!).
    If doing it on your own feels tricky or you need a little extra support, think about setting some goals with an accountability buddy or look into programs like Truelove’s MomCORE app, which offers a one-week free trial, one-on-one coaching, and a community of women like you who are all reaching for the same goal.

    The Latest Sexual Wellness Trends You Are Going To Want To Try More

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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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    The Latest Sexual Wellness Trends You Are Going To Want To Try This Year

    When you hear the word “wellness,” chances are smoothies, Pilates, and trends like mouth taping, red light therapy, and cold plunges first come to mind. A self-pleasure protocol and regular orgasms probably are not the first things that come to mind. But tending to your sexual health, desires, and sexuality is a form of self-care, just as much as therapy, journaling, and getting quality Zzzs (more on that to come).
    Thankfully, 2023 is the year of normalizing sex (seeing it an essential part of our overall well-being) and sexual inclusivity (AKA de-stigmatizing sexuality). Case in point: the range of sexual wellness products (think: vibrators, lubes, toys) that you’ll be able to shop in-store alongside your beauty must-haves, feminine products, and groceries in one fell swoop. From self-pleasure and sexual mindfulness, I asked sex experts to dish on the sexual wellness trends you don’t want to sleep on this year. Read on to get a head start on what’s hot on the sexual wellness scene for 2023.  

    1. Sexuality as self-care

    Bubble bath? Check. Hot girl walk? Check. Vibrator? Check. Equal with pampering yourself and exercising regularly, taking time to be sexual falls under physical self-care, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness’s Self-Care Inventory. In other words, we should be prioritizing taking care of our bodies sexually in the same way we do our healthy eating, exercise, and skincare routines. “We saw a huge rise in attention to health and self-care during the pandemic and sexual wellness fits right in,” explained Brittany Lo, Founder of sexual wellness brand Beia. “There are so many health benefits to sexual wellness: for example, orgasms can help you sleep better, boost your mood, and strengthen your pelvic floor muscles. Expect to see a shift in focus from sexual wellness being indulgent to an every day practice.”
    And it goes without saying that sexual wellness doesn’t start and end with having pleasurable sex, whether we’re talking with a partner or going solo. Following through with your annual wellness visits, getting tested for STIs, exploring self-discovery, and becoming aware of your own body, sexuality, and what feels good all make up a holistic approach to sex-care. 

    2. Sexual products with clean, organic ingredients
    Just as we’re becoming more conscious of using more natural skincare and household products, the oils, lubes, supplements, wipes, bath salts you use in your sex life should be no different. Thanks to revolutionary, female-led companies leading the charge in redefining sexual wellness, we now have our pick of intimate goods that deliver on clean ingredients as much as they do pleasure. “The sexual wellness category is still in its infancy so I think we will see a lot of outdated products go out of style and focus on clean, vegan formulas the same way many of us do in our skincare products,” Lo predicted. 
    “We’ve had a great increase in options for all-natural products that are designed for the female body, but what most consumers don’t realize is that your vulva and vagina are very absorbent and made from the same mucosal lining as your mouth, which means anything and everything you put on it absorbs into your body,” agreed Kiana Reeves, a somatic sex educator, pelvic health practitioners, and Chief Content Officer at Foria. “That’s why it’s super important to not just use natural products, but they also really need to be organic.” Bottom line: Avoid ingredients like glycerin, nonoxynol-9, petroleum, propylene glycol, parabens, and chlorhexidine gluconate. There’s nothing sexy about added toxins. 
    3. Self-pleasure routines
    There’s nothing like a euphoric, toe-curling orgasm and the physical and emotional effects that come with it (hello, feel-good chemicals). And taking matters into your hands (literally)—whether that looks like experimenting with multiple erogenous zones during a solo sesh (see: Friends episode where Monica describes the seven different ones to Chandler) or stepping up your sex toy collection—means getting to know your body better and what turns you on, not to mention developing self-confidence inside and outside the bedroom.
    “Taking charge of the sexual [element] in your romantic relationship and not constantly depending on someone else to provide you that spark will be on most people’s list this year,” explained Aliyah Moore, a certified sex therapist. “This year, many couples will be seeking ways to be more present in the bedroom while also igniting the spark of passion and pleasure within themselves, rather than relying only on one another.”

    But self-pleasure goes beyond reaching the big “O” solo. It also involves letting go of any shame and judgment surrounding your sexual self. “A reclamation is happening: women are taking their power back over their femininity, pleasure, and sexuality, releasing generations of sexual shame and allowing themselves to meet their own needs and desires first,” conveyed Steph Morris, a love, sex, and relationship coach. Morris suggested planning regular dates with yourself and romanticizing your life, allowing yourself to meet your own needs and self-sourcing your own pleasure.

    4. Foreplay products

    If the growth of the global sex toy market tells us anything (it’s expected to reach over $62 billion by 2030), it’s that the use of sex toys for more sexual satisfaction is only going to become more accepting and ubiquitous. “There [has been] such a big stigma against using sexual wellness toys to enhance pleasure, even though they play a crucial role in closing the O-gap,” Lo said. “80% of women have faked an orgasm and I think a lot of it comes down to not feeling in control of your own pleasure. Toys are a great way to take control and find what works for you.”

    Reeves explained that over the last few years, we’ve seen the sexual wellness market heavily focus on lubes, arousal oils, and all-natural alternatives to support pleasure during sexual activity. “This year I think we will see a wave of products that focus on enhancing sensuality and foreplay, helping to set the mood, connect people with their desire, and reach deeper levels of pleasure and arousal,” she predicted. “Foreplay is an essential act that often gets forgotten in the throws of passion or when the familiarity and sexual habits of a long-term relationship take hold.” Still not convinced? Using sex toys can help boost body confidence, better sleep, and relationship satisfaction, just to name a few. *Immediately adds five to cart.*
    5. Sex therapy

    Sexual health is equal parts physical and mental. We seek therapy for mental and emotional health, so why not for our sexual well-being to? “People are realizing that sexual health is just as important as mental health,” explained Dr. Lee Phillips, a psychotherapist and certified sex and couples therapist. “Sexuality is a phenomenon in which biological and psychological factors intersect, so both a person’s physical condition and their psychological well-being represent interdependent cornerstones of sexual health.” Common issues can include sexual problems related to chronic illness, pain, and disabilities, unsatisfactory libido levels, orgasm difficulties, painful intercourse, sexual trauma, gender and sexual orientation concerns, and relationship issues, all of which can create shame, depression, anxiety, stress, and anger.

    The good news? There’s an app for everything, even therapy for sex and relationships. “These apps can assist those who find discussing sex awkward and serve as a means to bring up problems with their partner and resolve them in the privacy of their own homes,” Moore concluded. “Making therapy more accessible, encouraging crucial partner conversations, and fostering a better awareness of our own bodies can only result in positive things.” Look for a sex therapist in your area or download an app like Coral.
    6. Sexual mindfulness

    “Experiencing sex in a whole new way is possible when you get out of your busy mind and into your physical, emotional, and energetic bodies,” Morris affirmed. Enter: mindfulness. When you pause, become more aware of your sensations, thoughts, and feelings in the present moment, and let go of any feelings of shame, you can increase your mind-body awareness and your capacity to feel pleasure. “Breathwork is a powerful embodiment practice that sensitizes your whole system, cultivating a deeper connection with your body and deepening your feeling of safety and ability to surrender to more pleasure,” Morris continued. The result? A powerful orgasm. 
    Morris suggested taking five minutes to do a connected breath in and out through your mouth (either alone or with your partner) to get your body warmed up and quiet the mind before getting into intimacy. In the same vein, you can go the meditation route because, yes, you can meditate your way to better sex. A 2018 study found that people who meditate tend to have more sexual desire and better sexual functioning than people who don’t. Meditation decreases stress and helps you tune into your body and let go of distractions after all, leading to higher levels of sexual satisfaction. So before getting steamy between the sheets, try a guided meditation or setting an intention, then taking deep, slow breaths as you stay present and feel every sensation. 

    How To Increase Your Libido in 2023, According To Sex Experts More