Saturday, November 25, 2017

Solutions To Erectile Dysfunction

It happens to me several times a week. I sit with a couple about to end their relationship. One partner is visible upset, typically believing the other is cheating, not in love with them, or no longer attracted to them like they once were. The other partner lowers his head in embarrassment, aware that something outside his control is causing the turmoil. I know from the moment I walk in the exam room that I am dealing with Erectile Dysfunction, a medical condition affecting nearly 30 million men in the United States and over 100 million around the world.

Erectile Dysfunction is defined as the inability to achieve or maintain an erection meaningful enough for sexual activity. A broad definition, but one men of all ages know all too well. For the couples I see, the knowledge that they are dealing with erectile dysfunction is only a small part of the problem. They want to know what causes such a life changing condition and what options I have to treat it. Declining testosterone that happens with age is the primary cause in a small percentage of men while nerve damage from prostate surgery, traumas or neurologic conditions affects another slightly larger group. However, it is a hardening of the small blood vessels to the penis that cause the majority of the cases of erectile dysfunction worldwide. Smoking, diabetes, high blood pressure, medications, and a sedentary lifestyle can all lead to a progressive inability of the arteries to the penis to bring enough blood into the penis for meaning sexual activity. To make things worse, once the damage is done there is no going back.

However, when it seems like all hope is lost, I am happy to tell patients that there are many options in treating Erectile Dysfunction. For men with nerve damage or blood flow issues, I typically start with pills to improve blood flow. Viagra, Cialis, and Levitra are all designed to stimulate the blood vessels to stretch open for a longer period of time, leading to better and longer lasting erections. Ultimately, some men will not get to where they need to be with the pills alone. For these men, the permanent solution is available in the form of a penile implant. The implant is a procedure done through a keyhole opening that allows men to achieve an erection on demand without the need for pill. Made famous when Telemundo star Andres Garcia publically announced he had undergone penile implant surgery, the penile implant has been around for over thirty years. Garcia named his implant “La Bombita”, the little bomb, on public TV and proclaimed the benefits to thousands of men.

The take home is clear, despite erectile dysfunction being incredibly common and anxiety inducing, men can regain their confidence and intimacy through several treatment options. Seeing an expert allows for a customized and individualized plan to get men back in the game.

For other alternative solutions to Erectile Dysfunction, click here.

Coming Out Again… And Again… And Again

We talk about coming out as if it’s something you only do once.  In my experience it’s an ongoing part of life. Sometimes it’s easy, and other times it makes my stomach flutter. I first came out as a lesbian 30 years ago when I was still in college.  Initially I was very careful about whom I shared this tender information with.  In 1985 being gay felt both like being part of a special club and living in a freak show.

Over time, I widened the circle of people that I told.  Sometimes I was praised for being courageous and other times I was treated with contempt or confusion.  One of the more memorable responses to my coming out was when my sister-in-law’s 60-year-old mother said, while we were cooking Thanksgiving dinner, “I’ve seen that on the Phil Donahue show, but never met one before.”

In 1991, my partner Rinda and I had a service of commitment in our Unitarian Universalist Church.  Most of our family members came, and as far as I was concerned I was out to the world. It was a done deal.

Little did I know that becoming a parent would force me to be out in whole new way.  It started at the birth in the hospital where I had to justify my relationship with my own child at every change of shift.  Some nurses were tickled pink to be working with an ‘alternative’ family.  But others were confused, offended, or outright hostile.  Looking back, I wonder how well I explained the situation–sleep deprived as I was.

At restaurants, waitresses would casually ask, “Who’s her mother?” Rinda and I would stare at each other, unprepared at first. Eventually we learned to say, “We both are. We’re a couple.”

“Who’s her real mother?” often came next.

“We both are. But Rinda’s her birth mom, if that’s what you’re really asking.”

By the time we had two kids, with the same donor but two different birth moms, the story of our how our family came to be was often more than we wanted to convey to a casual inquiry before ordering drinks. And yet, we wanted our children to hear us talk easily about our family structure and learn how to explain it themselves.  Their experience of having two moms was nearly invisible in popular culture.  We wanted to make it a source of pride, and not shame.

So I learned to say enough without saying too much.   And I learned to uncover what I was really being asked. And I learned when to give a ten-second explanation and when to have a longer conversation. And I learned to let our children take the lead as they grew older. And I learned to say the word ‘wife.’

I never expected to be a wife or have a wife, but now I am one and I have one.  It’s turned out to be the best thing ever, because that single word conveys so much, so clearly.  Without any further explanation, total strangers understand my relationship to Rinda. “Girlfriend,” “partner,” “life mate” require more sentences to be certain that I’m being understood.  But “wife” is completely clear.

The federal legal recognition that came last year brought more ease and clarity to my life than I had expected.  After all, we’d been married in our hearts and souls since 1991.  And our marriage was recognized in the state of California. What could a federal blessing of our marriage give us that we didn’t already have?

It turns out, a lot. Now that we were ‘out’ to the federal government, when we got a mortgage we knew how to hold title.  In the past we had long conversations with the title company; and all of us were just making a guess about the best way for us to hold title as a couple that was legally married in California, but not at the federal level.

We only have to fill out one joint federal tax return, which can be used for our state return.  For many years our accountant did a joint federal tax return so he could do a joint state return, and then he did an individual return for each of us.  We paid a lot of money for those extra returns.

When I fill out our Federal Financial Aid forms for college, I don’t have to leave out a parent.  In the past I felt like I was holding back information, but there was no way to represent our reality because federal tax returns (the basis for the form) did not recognize both parents.  I even called to make sure I was doing it right.  The woman on the phone was kind, but told me that the financial aid form simply did not include a way to represent the reality of our family.

Changing laws is important to creating the just, multicultural society the U.S. Constitution promises.  Changing hearts and minds is equally important in making that dream a reality.  As we make these changes, our coming out stories change as well.

I’m part of a Facebook group for queer moms.  Lately there has been a string of posts from women about their experiences with hospitals.  The common theme is that they start out ready to fight to have “our family” recognized in Utah, or a in Catholic hospital.  But instead they are met with respect, joy, and clarity about filling in birth certificates, NICU visitation privileges, or being called Mom.  Those stories bring tears to my eyes. Wow!  The pace of change of beautiful.  And yet the moral arc of the universe doesn’t easily bend toward justice.  There are always steps backwards:  see the new Jim Crow and North Carolina HB2.  We can’t let those who are afraid of widening the circle of love and justice decide the parameters of the conversation.

My favorite coming out moments are the ones that shine a light on my own prejudices.  The times I was met with love and respect from the very people I had been taught would hate me filled my heart with grace.  The military officer who told me that part of his duty was to stand with gay and lesbian service people who were being drummed out of the service because of their sexual orientation.  My 80-year-old, devoutly Catholic aunt who told me that God loves everyone and doesn’t make any mistakes.  The grandmother at my children’s elementary school, a Jehovah’s Witness, who apologized with tears in her eyes that her grandson had teased my daughter about having two moms.  Each of those encounters taught me to put away my assumptions and treat people as individuals.

The potential cost of coming out is rejection. But the cost of being hidden, of living in shame, is far greater.  And the opportunities that coming out affords are enormous. Coming out as a lesbian has given me the courage to come out as an artist, a writer, a Black Lives Matter activist, and a person of faith.  It’s allowed me to be more of my authentic self in so many ways, and hopefully gives others the courage to do the same.  And it’s given people permission to tell me their stories of spiritual and personal growth, connecting us across differences, but reminding us of our shared humanity.

More Toys For Masturbation Month

As National Masturbation Month winds down, you might be tempted to touch yourself less.

Don’t stop.

You might think now is a good time to submit to hibernation with just one toy.

More.

Do you really need to get completely naked?

Yes…

Touch yourself totally?

Yes…

Treat yourself to something new?

YES!

I had such fun celebrating masturbation at last weekend’s Taboo Brunch, I thought I’d detail some of my talk here. If you skipped the brunch, you missed out on exclusive content such as biased poll results, accidental puns, and me waving uncut dildos in the air. I’ll give you a peek at my main point, though:

You not only deserve masturbation, you deserve GOOD masturbation.

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I often refer to masturbation as “self love.” Partly, I call it that because they don’t let me say “rub one out” on the radio. But also, touching yourself can and should be an expression of love. Your body is beautiful. It deserves to be caressed. And you deserve to caress it.

You also deserve to know it. Too often, we avoid looking at our naked bodies. We don’t want to see our flaws, and we definitely don’t want to know what’s hiding in the spots we can’t see. But we can’t love what we don’t know, and loving ourselves inspires the positivity and confidence that makes it easy to be loved by others.

So turn on the lights. Get completely naked. Look in a mirror. Straddle a mirror. Then start touching yourself.

Start slowly. Start with your hand. Run your fingers up your arm, along your collar bone, between your breasts. We lead busy lives, frequently out of our own skin. We’re online, on social media, on to the next thing. Be present in your body. You have access to so much sensation without gels and toys. Awaken that, first.

And then, bring in gels and toys. Because you deserve it.

Got a favorite? Good. But regardless of your relationship status, no one wins with toy monogamy. Employ your favorite frequently, but don’t forget that there are other toys in the box.

And if your favorite is a clitoral blaster that quickly knocks your orgasms out, congratulations. You’ve succeeded in masturbation, or at least crossed the finish line. But, while orgasms themselves pack a ton of health benefits (heart health, lowered risk of diabetes, better sleep, kegel strength, relaxation, I could go on and on) you haven’t really given your body the attention it deserves.

With our partners, we put in work. We aim to keep things fresh and exciting. Because we desire our lovers, we relish touching their skin and being touched by their hands. Because we care for them, we want them to feel fantastic.

By ourselves, we often assume the most physically comfortable position, yank our pants down, and reach for whatever toy is easily accessible and fully charged.

My Taboo Toy Reviews have enabled me to “date” a ton of toys. We’ve shared dinners and movie nights and I’ve given some of them names. It’s probably my solo use of couples toys, however, that has really impressed upon me the equality of sex with a partner and sex with oneself. I’m not suggesting you handcuff yourself to your bed, but I’m not suggesting you don’t.

Discounting a toy or practice as a “couples thing” unnecessarily limits the fun you can have by yourself. Before I received my first anal toy for review, it never would have dawned on me to invite anal stimulation into masturbation. Uncomfortable at first but eventually rewarding, “butt stuff” is like slaving over a stove all day for a delicious ten minute meal. I’m a lot more apt to do it if I’ve got someone to share it with.

But if I don’t, do I deserve that meal less? Is it any less satisfying?

Your strides are limited inside your own comfort zone. Switch toys, rooms, positions. Suction a dildo to the edge of your tub and ride it. Suction it to your shower and back it on up. Not super into nipple stuff? Pinch your nipples anyway. Lick them if you can. Suck your toes. Smack your ass.

Love yourself.

Love yourself as fully as you love your partners, and then invite them to love you that way, too.

“Sexy Doesn’t Have An Expiration Date” at CatalystCon with Dr. Nancy Sutton Pierce

I had the pleasure of speaking with my colleague and friend Dr. Nancy Sutton Pierce recently about her success with clients in bringing out their inner “sexy.” Nancy is an inspiration to her students and clients, walking the talk in her own life as a dynamic sensual yoga teacher and exotic lifestyle retreat leader.
This video is a sneak peek into what she’ll be talking about at CatalystCon this September 16th, 2017 in her lecture, “Sexy Doesn’t Have An Expiration Date.”
 
She’s also speaking at Naughty in LA which takes place Sept 30-Oct 2, and again on the Naughty cruise Oct 3-7.

Dr. Nancy Sutton Pierce is a Holistic Clinical Sexologist with a Doctoral Degree in Human Sexuality from the Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality in San Francisco, California.

She is also a Yoga Therapist with a Structural Yoga Therapy Certification, Mukunda Stiles, Pasadena, California. She teaches partner yoga and Sexycises to couples who want to enhance their intimacy and experience growth at a deeper level. As a Radio Talk Show Host for The Conscious Living Show, she brings awareness to all her passions. Follow all of Nancy’s events here!

To Spit Or Swallow?

I was in the nail salon, gazing at a turned off television flanked by fake flowers, when the age-old question, “Do you spit or swallow?” eeked into my brain. “Spit or swallow” is the harshly limited ultimatum posed to teenagers, and most of us haven’t heard it since high school. Back then, I’m pretty sure I knew girls who answered both ways. Not being on the receiving end of fellatio, I took little note of who said what or why.

While one hand soaked and the other’s nails were filed, I wondered, “does anyone really spit?” Do women actually take ejaculate into their mouths and then spit it out because they object to swallowing? Is there a reason for objecting to swallowing other than disliking the taste? Doesn’t everyone know that tastebuds are on the tongue and not in the stomach?

While my polish was applied, I determined that no, no one spits. At least not anyone out of high school, and probably not even teenagers, given the extent of information and entertainment on the internet. That might have been that (I’m good at deciding things and singularly declaring them to be true) if the subject hadn’t come up later that night.

Our spit vs. swallow conversation derived from the topic of sexual education and the darnedest things kids say. A friend’s pre-teen had recently learned that oral sex is a thing, and wondered why people do it.

“So, but, do kids actually still talk about ‘spit or swallow’?” I interjected. Does ANYONE spit? I mean, for reasons other than being stimulated by the visual of spitting and then maybe licking it back up?”

I got a few blank looks and the familiar comment, “You’re on the other far side of the spectrum.”

Someone suggested I conduct I survey. We all admitted that, coming from Taboo’s social media followers, the results would be extremely biased. Then I did it anyway.

Here’s what my seven question, extremely biased “Let’s Talk About Head” survey taught me:

60% of women really enjoy giving head. 30% dig it when they’re in the mood, and 10% will do it to please their partners. Conversely, a whopping 90% of men love performing oral sex and only one responded that he didn’t enjoy it at all.

When it comes to climax, 75% of women and 84% of men want to do it in their partners’ mouths.

When I asked how women feel about their partner climaxing in their mouths, 58% said it turns them on. 33% responded “It’s nice, I guess.” 7% refuse it.

Contrarily, 88% of my male respondents are turned on by receiving orgasm orally! High fives!

 Finally, do women spit or swallow?

My super-scientifically sound survey determines that 79% of women swallow.

7% spit because they don’t don’t enjoy swallowing, 5% spit because they find it erotic, and 9% never let ejaculate touch their lips. Those who find spitting erotic were some of the first to respond, so I’m pretty sure they’re my employees, but I stand by the authenticity of my results.

So, okay, a few of you do spit. Color me the teensiest bit wrong and the slightest bit confused. However, I like it when sexual practices surprise me. It means folks are keeping it fresh, which is one of the first rules of good sex.

Another is being true to yourself. While pushing personal boundaries is often stimulating, no one should feel pressured to participate in what makes them uncomfortable.

You do you, but I’ll leave you with a healthful facts about semen:

  • Is a natural anti-depressant
  • Contains anti-anxiety hormones
  • Encourages better sleep through melatonin
  • Improves memory and brain function
  • Contains zinc, an antioxidant that slows aging

Cheers.

10 Best Libido Boosts When You Have Breast Cancer

Breast cancer can be detrimental to your sexiness. Undergoing extensive treatments from surgery to medication and radiation, stress, anxiety, changes in body image, side effects of treatment, pain, hormone fluctuations and even depression can negatively affect your libido. However, the good news is that you can heal and regain your sexual health during treatment and beyond.

With the understanding that each individual is different, here are 10 steps to help get your sexy back.

#1. Take Control

It’s a fact that some medications and treatments that help to fight cancer have side effects that can diminish your libido.  Observing what time of day or night you feel most energetic or more relaxed can help you tap into your own comfort level with regard to romance or sexuality. A vital part of getting your sexy back is to know yourself so that you can better share that inner sexpot with your partner.

#2. Love Who You Are

The first step in improving relationships with others is to take an inward look at yourself to build self-confidence and self-esteem.  If you’re single and not dating anyone special, there’s no need to share your medical history or disclose your cancer. Be sure to let your date see all of your healthy qualities, fun attributes and fabulous personality. Then see if there is any relationship possibility before you disclose your prognosis, as you do not want to define yourself by your physical condition.

#3. Healing Inside & Outside

Different people may experience varying levels of physical, mental and social anguish, but it is important to remember that there is hope. If you have a lack of desire from a hormone imbalance, or issues with body image or just a lack of support and understanding, it may contribute to social withdrawal, canceling plans with friends, shying away from family functions, etc. Reaching out is key to improving the whole person on the inside and the outside.

#4. Be Heard

The best way to clear feelings of fear, guilt, insecurity or even neglect is through open and honest communication. I know it’s not always easy to ask for what you want; so one way to start is to ask for little things like a hug. Then let your partner know where you are emotionally by telling them explicitly with no holds-barred honesty. One of the fundamentals to accessing your sexiness and letting go of inhibitions is feeling heard. Provide open communication about your needs to help make you feel sexy again, even if it is just patience!

#5.  Surrender To Pleasure

Remove yourself from reality and create your own sensory escapism like Shangri-La, a place of paradise and bliss. Light the bathroom with candles, put on soothing music, and fill the tub with bubbles and warm water. Enjoy the way you feel. Release yourself from negative thoughts and worries. Focus on the delight of eating some of your favorite foods such as chocolates or ice cream and get into a sexy state of mind by enhancing all five of your senses. Surrender to pleasure.

#6. Heal With Laughter

Humor and playfulness with friends, family, dates or lovers can trigger positive thoughts and emotional connections. Laughter is also a powerful remedy for pain, stress, depression and whatever ails you as it releases feel good hormones and prompts healthy changes in the body. Watch comedies on TV, at the movies or share jokes and funny stories to experience the healing power of laughter as it improves your mental, emotional and physical health.

#7. Keep Up Your Sexycises

Physical exercises can help to reduce the risk of breast cancer and help people to feel better while going through cancer treatments. A balance of aerobic, strength training, stretching is important, but always check with your doctor before undergoing any strenuous exercise regiment. Do your Kegel exercises regularly, but especially right before sexual intercourse to get the blood flowing to your sexual organs and strengthen the vaginal muscles. Medical devices for women like the Intensity or Apex do your kegel exercises for you while men can use PrivateGym. Remember, men get breast cancer too.

#8.  Connect Through Mindful Touch

Perhaps your illness is one of life’s challenges that will make you stronger as an individual and potentially draw you and your partner closer as a couple. Especially during trying times, couples need to communicate their needs, so tell your partner that a healing massage would be a great way to relieve tension, improve blood circulation and relax your mind and body. Tell him or her the places you would like to be massaged the most. Massage is a mutually satisfying way of helping couples to exhibit intimacy for one another.  It is a precious gift that you can give to your partner when they need it most.

#9. Use Love Scents To Lift Your Spirit

Jasmine, rosemary, and sage are said to increase arousal when rubbed on the skin. Applying them to erogenous zones like the neck and to stress-carrying areas like the back, lower tension can stir sensuous feelings. For intimate dryness, be sure to have some lubricant ready to make sexual intercourse more comfortable and reduce friction or discomfort. Lubricants can also enhance masturbation for a smoother, silkier and wetter solo-sexual experience.

#10. Practice Neuroloveology

The brain is the most important sex organ in your body, and its neural pathways are changeable. When the brain taps into a peak pleasurable experience, it doesn’t know whether you are living it or just thinking it, and will release feel-good chemicals that flood your body. So fantasize freely and give yourself erotic pleasure! If you maintain optimistic thinking, the other sexual parts of your being will organize themselves to stay within your cognitive powers. For more sexy neuro-cises, read Neuroloveology.

Unique Orgasms With Dr. Ava Cadell & Dr. Hernando Chaves @ Sexual Health Expo

The first ever Sexual Health Expo was a huge success with a dazzling trade floor and enlightening, entertaining panels filling each day’s schedule. Hosted by Emily Morse, there were talks by dozens of renowned sexologists like Charlie Glickman, Jaiya, Elle Chase, Sex Nerd Sandra, Ashley Manta and many, many more. My presentation was on Unique Orgasms and Dr. Hernando Chaves was my co-presenter. We had two life-like torso dolls, donated by Pipedreams and Sextoy.com, which we called Quasimodo and Esmerelda – they were the life of the party, allowing us to demonstrate everything from a perineum orgasm to a quadra-gasm and beyond.

Watch the highlight reel of our standing-room-only presentation, and don’t miss the hilarious cameo appearance by Ron Jeremy!

Pheromones Make You More Attractive, Social & Successful

Have you ever been drawn to someone whose smell was intoxicating and you just couldn’t stop thinking about them? That’s called chemical attraction, and is caused by our natural pheromones that are secreted from our glands, which send signals to trigger specific mating responses in our brain. They are sensed by an organ in the nasal passage known as VMO, then send messages to the brain to interpret signals that can include fertility, confidence, sexual attraction, trustworthiness and even success or power. Consequently, pheromones can produce overwhelming attraction, even when the physical attributes are lacking.

Studies have shown that pheromones can help others to see you as more open, attractive, charismatic, and easy to talk to. They can facilitate conversations, interest and create enhanced friendly feelings. For best results, apply just below the neckline and wrists where you have your sweat glands. For a variety of products infused with pheromones such as candles, fragrances and sunscreen, go to here.

Our natural gender specific pheromones include Androstenone associated with alpha male sexual tension, Androstenedione, a chemical found in sweat, Androstenol, the female pheromone associated with romantic interest and Copulines, the female pheromone released during ovulation that has been shown to increase male testosterone.

Pheromones are emitted from our sweat glands, pulse points and anywhere that we have hair, so you can release attraction-boosting signals by going commando, not showering right after exercising and by not wearing deodorant or fragrances that will mask your natural scent. I’m not suggesting that you don’t maintain good hygiene, but bathing with warm water while cutting down on soap will wash off fewer of your body’s pheromones. You can also enhance your pheromones by eating foods high in zinc such as oysters and other fresh seafood aphrodisiacs known to increase testosterone in men and women.

Independent studies have been conducted at leading universities worldwide, such as Stanford University, the University of California at Berkeley, the University of Chicago and the Karolinska Institute, one of Sweden’s oldest medical schools have shown that pheromones do have a profound effect on human behavior.

Fifty Shades of Inverted Play, free workshop this Sunday at The Pleasure Chest!

**Free workshop** at the Pleasure Chest LA this weekend with Inverted Play!

Why is sex upside down is so much better?!  Come experience Inverted Play… Fifty Shades darker.  Miyoko and Eric will explain what happens to the body during inversions and how you can apply the products featured in the best-selling novels by E.L. James. Understand the human response to inversion, how creating weightlessness and suspension can calm the body, enhance trust, and encourage open communication.

Learn how to safely invert your partner to give them a weightless and sensual experience.  We’ll cover fundamental acroyoga moves and combine them with exciting sensory stimulation, sensory deprivation, and light impact play.

No partner?  No problem!  You can either bring a friend or make a new one when you arrive!  Acroyoga is a safe and consensual practice that builds communication skills, and increase awareness whether you’re single, or in a relationship.

This class will be interactive: wear comfortable, form-fitting clothes, bring a yoga mat and a partner, or come solo and make new friends! No fitness or flexibility required. Just bring your sense of adventure!

The Pleasure Chest is located in West Los Angeles at 7733 Santa Monica Blvd.
West Hollywood, CA 90046  323.650.1022

They do not offer advance registration or reserved seating for free workshops or events. Attendance is on a first come, first served basis. Early arrival is recommended to secure your spot!

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Creating Your Own 50 Shades Sexperience

With the movie Fifty Shades of Grey becoming a global phenomenon (earning over 400 million globally in ticket sales in the first two weeks), it is very likely that many couples will be heading home to create their own “Red Room” of pain or pleasure (if they don’t end up in handcuffs before ever leaving the theater itself, that is). So, while you may be tempted to masturbate at the movies during some of the hot, sexy scenes, or worse!, I encourage you to create your own fifty shades of grey experience in a safe, sane and consensual fashion.

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Your Contract

In the film, Christian and Anastasia negotiate the terms of their contract, which will not include any activities than are non-consensual, and she defines her list of limits (activities she will not do). Before you create your own “Red Room,” you and your lover (or play partner) should have a talk about what activities you will try out and which ones are off limits (don’t go there). This is super important before taking part in any type of kinky play (or sex for that matter), so partners can stay within the boundaries of that agreement and construct a safe space to play within, both physically and emotionally. This safe environment allows both parties to better immerse themselves more deeply into the play, knowing their limits are already defined and that they have a secure space to explore their fantasies together. Please note: exploring fantasies in a safe, negotiated, consensual environment is much different than a real life. Many people have fantasies about being bound, whipped, raped and dominated, but in real life No means NO!

While it is not necessary to have a written contract, a BDSM Checklist can inspire you to add different elements to your play you may not have thought about, as well as learn about activities you may want to avoid. Here is the actual contract from 50 Shades that you can print out and share. Here is a BDSM checklist similar to one that I have used in the past.

Also noted in the books and used in BDSM play is the use of a safe word or words. The word “Yellow” is used during a play scene to bring attention to the dominant/top that the submissive/bottom is close to their limit of endurance, or that the dominant needs to slow down, stop or change the activity. “Yellow” could also indicate the need for a break, or water, or that the submissive is getting dizzy, overwhelmed, etc…, so this is when the dominant checks in the with sub to see what’s going on. Of course, the dominant (or giver) should be constantly checking in with the submissive (receiver) during an entire scene by paying attention to their body language and making sure they are okay verbally. “Red” means stop activity immediately and completely, and usually indicates that the submissive has met their limits. A smart and empathetic dominant will hopefully never make their partner use the “Red” word, as they are constantly paying attention to their partner’s needs. It is not cool to push limits, unless this is previously negotiated. The reason safe words are used in BDSM play is because a submissive may say “No!” during a scene, or “stop!” when in actuality they want their partner to continue, as they are playing a role. They know that this is a fantasy and that their partner will not really hurt them. This is how a BDSM fantasy differs than real life when No does mean No!

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The Scene

The atmosphere you create for a scene can be very important, allowing both partners to get into the roles better. There are lots of ways to create a seductive (or intimidating) Red Room scene by using music, lighting, fabric, props, tools and attire. In 50 Shades they used a lot of red, black and brown: red walls, dark furniture, dark colored play toys and lots of leather. You can easily create a sense of this by draping the walls with red fabric, hanging toys from chains, and spreading red “pleather” over the bed. Using candles can go a long way to create atmosphere as well, but just be careful not to turn your play space into a red fiery blaze. I personally like the metal sconces you can get from dollar stores that have flickering lights that look like candle light. Much safer when your mind is elsewhere.

For bondage furniture you can DIY your own make-shift pervertables like a spanking bench made out of a padded chair or an old saw horse wrapped in leather. There are designs online for creating a Saint Andrew’s Cross or other dungeon furniture if you are handy with tools. Then again, you can purchase sex toy furniture rather cheaply that can be used in a pinch like over-the-door restraints, or bedroom bondage kits.

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Play Toys

There are several types of play toys that Christian uses on Anastasia during the movie. Remember it takes time learning how to use new tools, so be careful and try to learn various techniques before you start playing on an actual living body. There are lots of sources for learning including DVDs, books and local play groups which hold Kink Aware demos and workshops.

Bondage Toys—In the movie, Christian uses various types of bondage equipment to tie Ana up with. There is the infamous grey tie he uses to wrap around her wrists, along with bondage rope and leather hand cuffs.

Safety Bondage Tips
  • Always have safety scissors on hand in case of an emergency.
  • Learn as much as you can about a bondage technique before trying it. Read, watch, practice and if possible get an experienced mentor to show you the ropes. If you can’t go to a workshop, buy some good bondage books or DVDs to learn the ropes.
  • Learn where the basic pulse points are located on the wrists, upper-inner thigh and throat and avoid crossing these with direct pressure from the ropes.
  • Ropes should fit snugly, but not too tight so as to avoid serious injury from loss of blood supply to the bound part. You should be able to slip one to two fingers under the ropes.
  • Avoid metal hand cuffs if you are a novice as they can chafe, and don’t secure too snugly which will cut of circulation. Plus, you wouldn’t want to be one of the enthusiasts who lost their key and had to call the paramedics to un-cuff them.
  • Never bind rope around the front of someone’s throat.
  • Never leave someone bound alone. Skin should be constantly observed for numbness, coldness, and discoloration, as circulation decreases.
  • Test new bondage techniques for 10 to 15 minutes before trying longer time limits.
  • Avoid placing pressure on the Brachial Plexus nerve which runs along the back near the scapula (shoulder blade).
Blindfolds

Blindfolds are awesome sensory tools that can be used to limit your partner’s vision which in turn fires up their other senses. Suddenly, every noise, touch, or whispered breathe becomes charged with eroticism when your other senses are enhanced and aroused.

Sensation Play

Sensation play toys include anything that can create a different, often sensual, sensation on your play partner. There is a sexy scene in the movie where Christian uses ice between his lips to run down Ana’s body. Other sensation play toys include feathers < >, silk or satin (for a soft touch), or vampire gloves and pin wheels (for a prickly touch).

Crops and Floggers

Crops and floggers are otherwise called percussion toys. Crops are very firm, thin and can deliver quite a nasty sting, so should be used with caution. They are excellent when used for positioning your sub and correcting posture, or quick light smacks. Floggers are usually made of leather or suede and have several fronds hanging from a handle. They can be used as a deep massaging type of percussion play tool on the back, the butt, between the thighs, stomach and chest. They can be wielded a bit harder than a crop with less pain, as they provide a thuddy, broader impact.

Those are only a few of the types of BDSM toys you can use for sexy kinky consensual play. There are also kits available such as Dr. Ava’s How to Couples BDSM Kit which has an instructional DVD by Dr. Ava Cadell, so perfect for beginners with lots of juicy tips. For experienced players who like a kit that can do everything and is travel friendly, there is Ms. Ming’s awesome Pocket Dungeon Kit. And, of course, there are all the Official Fifty Shades of Grey products endorsed by E.L. James herself.

So, now that you have the tools to create your own Red Room of pain and pleasure, don’t forget to play consensually. I don’t want to read anymore about idiots blaming Fifty Shades of Grey for their own ignorance or using it as an excuse to assault someone else. Ending up in hand cuffs is much more enjoyable as a fantasy place scene, than it is in real life.