7 articles Tag sex

Lockdown: Keeping Your Relationship Alive

Keeping Your Relationship Alive During LockdownThere’s no denying the fact that lockdown is making things feel pretty bizarre for most of us at the moment. Families are spending more time together than ever, thanks to school closures and isolation measures to protect us all during the coronavirus outbreak, and adult realtionships are being strained in many cases. Between spending 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in the same space and the kids being around ALL. THE. TIME, finding time to be intimate is one of the hardest things about “The Current Situation” (as it’s formally known in most households!).

With this in mind, I thought I’d share with you five tips for keeping the spark going in your relationship so that quarantine doesn’t have a negative effect on your intimate life:

Sexting

While whispering sweet nothings might be tricky when you’ve got little ears around all the time (what is with their hearing, as well? They’re like bats, until you mention tidying!), sending your partner a message containing some steamy content is the perfect solution. Install an encrypted app like Signal and reserve it solely for sexting with your other half. As well as helping to build tension, you’ll get a little jolt of excitement every time you see a message from your chosen private app.

Lockdown Lingerie

If you’re aything like us, you’re probably spending most of your time in pyjamas or loungewear, neither of which are known for their sexiness! Why not invest in some sexy lingerie sets from Steamy Genie? Even if you slip them on UNDER your comfies, a glance of something sexy and lacy underneath your flannel P.J.s will let your partner know you’re still thinking about your provate times.

Try to Have a Routine

Okay, so while I’m not suggesting a sex schedule (is there anything less sexy?!), having a proper routine can really help you to find time to be intimate. Lots of the people I know have thrown the normal routine to the wind and the kids are going to bed later, waking up late and not really sticking to any sort of timings. Make sure the kids eat dinner, have a bath and get to bed at a more reasonable time and you’ll find yourselves with much more time to dedicate to each other in the evenings.

Try Something New

I think we can all admit that everything is SO far from normal right now, so instead of bucking against this, why not go with it and try something new during lockdown? We all have those little curiosities that we’ve thought about trying but just haven’t got round to mentioning to our partners – well, there’s never been a better time to try it! Just don’t go TOO crazy, as now is really not the time to end up in A&E with a sex injury!

Tidy Up and Have a Date

We’re all probably quite sick of our surroundings at the moment, and our motivation for housework can be tested when it seems like no sooner do we tidy than the place is a mess again. Work together to get the house back to being spotless and then enjoy the spoils of your labour by having a date night. Cook a meal together, watch a movie and just spend some time enjoying each other, instead of sitting in front of the TV or games console while the other uses their smartphone!

Is it Time for an Intersex Olympics?

Intersex” is a general term used for a variety of conditions in which a person is born with a reproductive or sexual anatomy that doesn’t seem to fit the typical definitions of female or male.

(I apologise in advance if I use any incorrect terminology, my aim here is not to offend anyone, only to start a conversation)

If you’ve been anywhere near the news in the past few days, you can’t fail to have missed the furore surrounding South African middle-distance runner Caster Semenya and the questions over her gender. In case you have missed it, here’s a TL:DR of the situation: Caster, born in 1991, won a gold medal in Rio in the womens’ Olympics, however there have been complaints from other athletes because she has high levels of testosterone, which they claim gives her an advantage.

Caster Semenya

When I first started reading about this, I came across an article where they said that it had become common practice for Semenya to go into the bathrooms before a race to show one of her competitors her genitals to “prove” her femininity, which sounds absolutely appalling and like a gross invasion of her privacy and I was genuinely shocked to read that she had to go to such lengths to confirm her eligibility to race.

However, the controversy takes a slightly different slant when you consider her internal physiology. You see, according to official reports, Semenya has high levels of testosterone which is produced by internal testes and she also lacks a uterus and ovaries. The officials who deal with eligibility to race have stated that there’s insignificant evidence to suggest that testosterone gives her a significant advantage over the other athletes, however, several other athletes with the same physical attributes as Semenya took steps to change this, as reported in the New York Times:

At the London Olympics, four female athletes, all 18 to 21 years old and from rural areas of developing countries, were flagged for high levels of natural testosterone. Each of them subsequently had surgery to remove internal testes, which produce testosterone, as well as procedures that were not required for resuming competition: feminizing vaginoplasty, estrogen replacement therapy and a reduction in the size of the clitoris.

One could argue that many athletes have physical attributes which make them “unusual” in the grand scheme of things, but which give them an advantage when it comes to sporting prowess. Take Miguel Indurain, for instance. He’s a Spanish cyclist who won FIVE consecutive Tour de France in the early to mid-Nineties and is considered cycling royalty to this day. However, he has a huge physical advantage; his blood took almost double the oxygen of a normal person and his cardiac output was 50 litres a minute; a fit amateur cyclist’s is about 25 litres. No-one suggested that his physiology was an unfair advantage, just a happy anomaly which, ultimately, made him a legend.

So, if the issue isn’t physiological, then is it a gender issue? Well, Semenya identifies as a woman and has spent her entire life living as a woman; from what I can gather there’s never been any suggestion in her life of any sort of gender dysphoria or questions over how she identifies, which makes it clear cut, right? Maybe not.

Fallon Fox Tamikka Brents

Fallon Fox in white, before her fight with Tamikka Brents (pink bottoms)

Another similar case in sport was that of MMA fighter Fallon Fox. Featherweight champion Fallon underwent gender reassignment surgery back in 2006 and entered the MMA as a female fighter. Not only has she had her male reproductive organs removed but she has been on hormone therapy for many years, however she’s faced massive opposition and controversy within the MMA community because people feel that her physicality gives her an advantage, not least of all when she fought Tamikka Brents, and “Brents suffered a concussion, an orbital bone fracture, and seven staples to the head. After her loss, Brents took to social media to convey her thoughts on the experience of fighting Fox: “I’ve fought a lot of women and have never felt the strength that I felt in a fight as I did that night. I can’t answer whether it’s because she was born a man or not because I’m not a doctor. I can only say, I’ve never felt so overpowered ever in my life and I am an abnormally strong female in my own right,” she stated. “Her grip was different, I could usually move around in the clinch against other females but couldn’t move at all in Fox’s clinch…””

Fox argues that her hormone therapy probably means that she actually has LESS testosterone than her competitors, but this doesn’t alter the fact that testosterone played a part on how she developed physically in the first place, until her reassignment surgery.

It’s all such a grey area. Traditionally speaking, men and women have never competed against one another because of the clear physical differences, but that doesn’t mean that there’s no middle ground. Obviously, it’s rare to see a woman who’s the size of say, Mike Tyson, with the same bone structure and heavy musculature, but there are plenty of female fighters who probably make Conor McGregor look like a leprechaun with his featherweight frame. But does size equal strength? No, definitely not.

All of this is leading to a point…honestly!

While I’m not suggesting that being intersex or hormonally different is a disability (quite the opposite, in fact), is it time that we offered an Olympics for competitors where gender isn’t clear-cut, in the same way that we have a Paralympics for differently abled athletes? This way there can’t be any suggestion that they’re somehow exploiting a physical advantage. Issues of gender have become far less taboo in recent years, allowing people to live exactly as they wish to without the previous levels of prejudice, which is great, although there is still a long way to go. Should be we accommodating people for whom gender/sex isn’t black and white? A ‘third-sex’ Olympics? It would certainly level the playing field, but is it getting into dangerous levels of classification and potential prejudice from different angles? Is submitting to hormone tests before being allowed to enter a step too far, or is it no different to submitting to a drugs test to ensure that performance-enhancing drugs aren’t used? Is it all just sour grapes from the losing athletes?

I’d love to know your thoughts on this, so please do leave me a comment below!

3 Essential Ingredients of a Satisfying Sex Life

Health-Let-Talk-About-Sex Continue reading →

Keeping The Spark Alive

One of the things that often slides first in a relationship, once you’ve had kids, is “what goes on in the bedroom” which can cause a spiral of other issues in its wake. Lack of intimacy can put a real strain on a relationship and before you know it, you’re barely giving each other a peck on the cheek as you leave the house in the mornings. Like all things, relationships (and especially the physical side of things) takes effort on both sides and getting back to that special place where you give each other butterflies in your tummy can seem like climbing Everest when you’ve got baby sick in your hair and the dog is rubbing his arse on the carpet.

With that in mind, I’ve teamed up with Vagisil and their new ProHydrate range, which relieves intimate dryness so that you can feel comfortable, confident and enjoy intimacy when you want to.

Sexting

Okay, so this may sound like something that is reserved for young’uns, but sexting is an amazing way to open communication. Vagisil’s survey shows that 56% of women want to feel more connected to their partner and this is the perfect way to start. Typing things out gives you the opportunity to think about what you’re saying (and edit it before you send, if you want to!) and it allows you to say things to your partner that you might never have the guts to say out loud. Install a dedicated messaging app such as Signal or Telegram and ONLY add your partner as a contact. When you see the little message icon pop into your notifications bar, I guarantee you’ll get a little flutter of excitement!

Get Playful

Using toys together can be a really amazing way to enhance your sex life if you feel like things have gone a little bit stale. Either browse a site like LoveHoney together or order something as a surprise and set aside some time to play together.

Make an Effort

If you’re falling asleep on the sofa wearing a dirty hoody with unwashed hair, there’s a very good chance that you’re not giving off a very “ready for loving” vibe. It’s so important to have mind and body in the same place and while we aren’t suggesting that you go for a full-on makeover to give your partner THE SIGN, making a little effort to shower, wear something without holes in it and maybe a bit of mascara is far more likely to inspire lust. Obviously, that goes both ways and if your partner is still sitting in a sweaty haze after going to the gym when you want to get busy, tell him to get his arse into the shower too – maybe even together!

Time

I know SO many couples who claim lack of time as a reason for a dead bedroom, but I think we all need to be a little bit more creative about how we use our time. If you find that you’re exhausted by 9pm, why not have an early night but set your alarm a little early to surprise your other half with some morning fun? Or drop the kids off with a friend or relative for a couple of hours while you “go shopping” and head home for some uninterrupted intimacy.

Space

Just recently, I was reading a thread about co-sleeping and how it can put a real dampener on things. If retreating to a grown-ups only bedroom isn’t always an option, try to create a space somewhere else where you can steal some time together, such as a sofa bed in a home office space. Knowing you’ve got somewhere just for you can really take the angst out of everything.

Do you have any other tips that Mum’s the Word readers might benefit from? Leave me a comment below. The Vagisil ProHydrate range is available at Boots and Superdrug.

Durex Real Feel Review

32680_DUREX_real_feel_pack_home_landingOkay, so my blog usually focuses on family life, so a review of condoms is a bit of a far cry from my usual content, but since BB was born I’ve not had a chance to arrange a more permanent form of contraception, so the opportunity came along at just the right time. Durex Real Feel condoms are made from a special new material which feels as close to the real thing as you’re going to get whilst being protected and the best part is, they’re latex free. Here’s me, talking about them a little bit more:

 

 

Durex has a dedicated site for their Real Feel condoms, and there’s a whole bunch of other bloggers over their talking about their experiences with the product, so do head over there to get the lowdown on what everyone else thought of them, as well as all of the ‘technical specifications’!

How to Teach Your Kids About Sex

sex educationI’m not a parenting expert, not by a long shot; I’m more of a “fly by the seat of your pants” kinda girl (the fact that I’m quoting a fictional hooker has probably undermined any potential expertise I’d have gained, anyway…). Having said that, I like to think that Husband and I are doing a reasonable job of raising Sausage, who’s a kind, bright, inquisitive little girl and one of the things that has set us in good stead is our ‘no-bullshit’ rule.

When I was pregnant with Sausage, Husband and I made a pact that if we were ever in a position to explain something to her properly, we’d never whitewash her the way some parents do and would do our best to always explain things in a kid-friendly, but accurate manner. This is as much for our benefit as it is for hers. From our point of view, it means that we’ll never be in the tricky position of trying to think up some elaborate tale about the ways of the world, plus it’ll instill a sense of trust between us all. I often think that the more parents lie to their kids when they’re little, about things which are easily explainable, the more potential damage they could be doing to their relationship. Imagine growing up being told fairy stories about every fact of life, then having to learn it all the hard way when you’re older, not knowing if what your parents told you about anything  was ever true.

From Sausage’s point of view, I like to think that giving her information does a few things – firstly, it instils a sense of trust from us because we credit her with being logical and reasonable enough to be able to be given facts. Also, I link to think it brings us closer together. If, when she’s older, she knows that she can talk to Mum and Dad about anything, without having to watch us squirm with discomfort at “awkward” questions, she’s more likely to come to us for the really important stuff. And, on a totally different note, I’d much rather she learn about the science of reproduction from us than from her peers, who (I hope…) know a lot less about it than we do!

I’m always surprised that parents are reluctant to let their kids have sex education during primary school, too. The way I see it is that if you’re not able to give your child the information they need about sex, then why not feel relieved that a professional is doing your job for you? I completely refute the premise that teaching kids about sex will make them go out and do it – we taught Sausage the basic principle of nuclear fission once, but she’s not out trying to procure fissile materials. Kids aren’t sheep and I think many parents fail to credit them with enough intelligence and maturity to deal with cold, hard facts. If anything, teaching them that SEX leads to BABIES might make them think twice about unprotected sex.

The thing with kids (and some sciences, for that matter) is that there’s always a level to which you can break things down where they get the information they need, without making it too graphic. We’ve told Sausage that females have an egg and men have a different type of cell, called a sperm and they fit together like pieces of a puzzle. The Dad gives his sperm to the Mum and it fertilizes the egg, then it lives in the Mum’s tummy for nine months so that it can grow into a baby. She was more than satisfied with this description and we didn’t need to go into details about HOW daddy gives mummy the sperm (although, it may occur to her to ask when she gets older). That’s the easiest way to break it down, for us, it doesn’t go into unnecessary detail (which I think would probably just confuse her at her age anyway) and allows us to give an accurate and totally squirm-free explanation.

Sausage found a book in the library called the Flip Flap Body Book, which tackles  How Babies Are Made in a way that we were really comfortable with and I highly recommend it if your little ones are asking questions that you aren’t happy to answer (if you read the Amazon reviews, people are saying that it’s even good for up to 9-year-olds, so don’t feel like you’ve missed the boat if you’ve never tackled the subject with your child).

All in all, I genuinely think that honesty is the best policy when it comes to kids, especially when it’s something like this which can, in reality, be so easily explained in a way that suits you both.

Good luck!

More! Magazine – The End of an Era

more! magazineThis afternoon, I heard the news that More! magazine is ceasing publication after reader numbers have dwindled to an all-time low, and I have to say, I was a little bit saddened. As a teen, More! was about as edgy as it got when it came to reading material and my friends and I spent many a bus journey giggling at ‘Position of the Fortnight’ or reading in horror about peoples embarrassing experiences, usually involving a boy they fancied.

My Mum hated me reading More!, she saw the candid accounts of teenage sexuality as over-exposure for my young mind and often told me that I wasn’t allowed to buy it. I did, of course, and hid it in my locker at school or buried at the bottom of a school bag. Now that I’m a mother, I straddle the fence on the appropriateness of it for a 13-year-old, however I also think that there’s a huge amount of positivity to it too.

More! was the closest thing that we ever had to a ‘lad’s mag’, meaning that instead of wide-eyed patronisation, or flat-out saccharine coated ignorance, it addressed the issue of teenage girls being sexual creatures. Regardless of how much we’d like to deny it once we become parents, teenage girls are hormone-fuelled randy beasts in the same way that their male counterparts are and More! taught us that that’s not something to be ashamed of. To my mind, it empowered girls to have a say in sex, not just think that they had to lay back and think of England, but be an active and conscious participant. The problem pages taught us about thrush and STDs and contraception and hair in unwanted places and didn’t make us feel stupid for asking.

Magazines like More! are often held up as contributing towards the over-sexualisation of children, but I refute that and would argue that giving girls an honest education (over and above the sterile account they are fed in Sex-Ed classes) about the realities of sex is contributing to giving them confidence and agency over their own bodies. Perhaps giving them the confidence to say NO when it really matters, or to speak up when something that’s supposed to be fun and pleasurable is actually uncomfortable and upsetting. What More! did best was instill a sense of humour and light-heartedness into subjects which can be tricky for young girls to navigate, which was invaluable to us at the time.

So, it’s with sadness that I say a fond farewell to More! magazine. I can only hope that there’s something out there to help girls and young women in the same way that More! helped us.