Category Archives: Sex Toys

Sex Toys in Relationships

Dear Sexpert,

I have been dating my girlfriend for about 3 months now. Recently, I’ve noticed that after we have sex, and I’ve seemingly fallen “asleep,” she sometimes reaches in her backpack for her vibrator. The mechanic hum isn’t what keeps me up, but the embarrassment from the fact that sex with me isn’t enough for her. I really care about her, but I don’t know how to confront her about this. What do you think I should do?

Sincerely,

Lackluster Lover

Dear Lover,

Take a breath – this situation sounds challenging but not necessarily something to take personally. Good news, with some open channels of communication with your girlfriend, you will likely find a mutually pleasurable sex life together!

First off, it is important to note that people (more often women-identified individuals) sometimes have more difficulty reaching orgasm (with or without a partner) for any number of reasons. One reason is that traditional depictions of female pleasure often show orgasm resulting from penetrative sex and happening in tandem with a partner’s orgasm — creating that as the model for “how it should work”. Feeling stressed, being distracted/having trouble focusing, not being aroused enough, not yet knowing what feels good, experiencing physical discomfort, etc. can all impact whether or not someone experiences an orgasm.

Your girlfriend’s desire to pleasure herself after sex could indicate a need for trying something different together. If your girlfriend is comfortable masturbating in the same bed as you, then she will likely be comfortable enough to have a conversation about it. Although she’s waiting until after you’re asleep, she’s clearly not trying that hard to hide it from you. You two haven’t been together for that long, so it’s possible that she is apprehensive about bringing this to your attention, or is worried that you will take it personally. But, like I said, it’s important to establish honest and clear ways to communicate about it.

So how do you go about starting the conversation? Well one thing is for certain, don’t wait until she pulls out her vibrator and confront her in a “gotcha!” moment. Instead, bring it up to her over a meal, when you’re just hanging out in your room, or in some other relatively private and comfortable space. Mention that you have noticed her doing this recently, and, if you’re comfortable, express your openness to trying out new things together. Vibrators and other sex toys don’t always have to be used for masturbation; maybe you can try your hand at wielding the mechanical hum. In fact, many sex toys can be used with a partner — some (e.g., vibrating rings) are even made for use during penetrative sex to enhance pleasure of both partners, but be sure to wash your toys thoroughly with soapy water after use, especially if you plan on sharing them between yourselves. You can also use a new condom on toys (e.g., dildo) for each use. Also, if you two often skip straight to penetrative sex, then you might benefit from some additional foreplay to “get things going”. Try oral sex or a sensual massage. Some couples find mutual masturbation (masturbating, individually, near one another) arousing and can also help your partner better understand what works for you.

Anyways, I wish you the best of luck, Lover. These sorts of things can be uncomfortable to initiate at first, but it is likely that, after bringing it up in a mature manner, your sex life (and relationship) will only benefit from the conversations that follow!

Yours,

The Sexpert

Interview with Princeton Plays

In this edition of the Ask the Sexpert Column, we’ll be the ones asking the questions. On December 1st, we had the privilege of the interviewing Jaspreet Kalsi, board member and co-founder of the student group Princeton Plays, the only kink and BDSM community on campus.

Q: Hey Jaspreet, thanks for agreeing to do this interview with us. I wanted to start of by asking you to describe what exactly is Princeton Plays?

A: Hi Sexperts, thanks for having me. So Princeton Plays is an ODUS-recognized group that supports an advocacy and education based community that serves for the betterment of Princeton’s health at-large. Princeton Plays seeks to establish an affirming and positive space to discuss matters of kink, provide education both within the group and partnering with groups across campus, promote safe and consensual methods of play, and increase awareness of the social contexts surrounding the kink community so that members will be prepared if they choose to engage in kink in their private or public lives. I should say that, contrary to some of the rumors around campus, we are not a sex club.

How did Princeton Plays get started?

The first iteration of the club was formed in 2014. Back then it was actually called Princeton in the Nation’s Service (PINS), although the LGBT center supported that group, it was never ODUS recognized and sort of fell off after a year or so.

In 2016, I had met a group of five other students who had heard of PINS and wanted to start it up again. We had a serious of informal meetings, essentially a gathering of friends, and over the course of the year we helped create an organized group of about 20. Around the same time we came up with the name Princeton Plays. Our affiliation with the LGBT center really helped in allowing us to grow as a group.

In spring of 2017, the process of becoming a formally recognized student organization had begun. In the Fall of the 2017/18 academic year, we became Women*s center affiliated, SHARE affiliated, and University Health Services (UHS) affiliated. In December of 2017 we became ODUS recognized. At the start of the 18/19 academic year we had about 50-60 people on the listserv and now, only a few months later, we are at about 110 members, and we are proud to say we are not a homogenous group. Also shout out to the amazing Princeton Plays board. The success of the organization has been a true team effort!

You mentioned that Princeton Plays aims to improve Princeton’s health in general. How do you think the club does that?

There are plenty of resources for sexual health [and consent information] on campus – Peer Health Advisers, SHARE peers, and the Student Health Advisory Board. But one area that is lacking is education on alternative sexual practices. I classify these “alternative” practices as anything that would fall under the purview of “kink.” Our definition of kink is one that mostly focuses on fetishes and BDSM.

Princeton Plays has three main principles that center around the betterment of Princeton’s sexual health and wellbeing.

First off, we focus on the educating our members on the physical aspects of kink. If we look at how popular things like 50 Shades of Gray has become, it is obvious that there is widespread interest in alternative sexual practices. There are people on our campus who take part in these kinds of behaviors, and it is important to learn how to do these things in the safest way possible. Just this month, Plays hosted our third rope bondage workshop and we have an impact play workshop scheduled for the near future. No matter how careful you are, mistakes can happen. For example if you’re tying someone up, it is your responsibility to know how do so in a safe way. And similarly, if you’re the one being tied up, it is also your responsibility to know the risks involved.

The next principle is one of community. While kink has gained plenty of traction, it remains to be often looked down upon as “deviant” by a significant amount of the general population. Princeton Plays hopes to create a safe space, where people can come and feel safe, free of judgment for their sexual preferences. For example, at all of our workshops and meetings, we start with a disclaimer which states that members are free to share as much or as little information about themselves as they would like – they don’t even have to give us their name if they would prefer not to. In this community, we hope to practice things safely without having individuals out themselves. Safety and confidentiality are of paramount importance to us. We have a rule which states that any member that is known to share information about another member without their consent is, without exception, banned from the organization.

The third and final pillar is our commitment to improving the scholarly and theoretical discussions on kink. Our unique position as a Princeton University kink club gives us access to resources that other organizations not in an educational setting might not have access to. For example there are scholars and lecturers that can inform our members on the theoretical work behind alternative sexual practices. Plays has aspirations to host a colloquium of university kink clubs here at Princeton. We are already in the process of contacting and organizing. By bringing people together who think about this sort of thing, we hope to improve the field of kink and queer theory while promoting good, educated sexual health practices.

I wanted to ask, since privacy is so important for the group, how do you personally feel being one of the few publicly named members of Princeton Plays?

Well it’s both freeing and nerve-wracking. I grew up in a small, predominantly white town as the only person who wore a turban, so I’ve always stuck out in a way. I think growing up with that experience has emboldened me to always be an individual and to be true to myself. Like, I have aspirations of going to medical school someday. It is of course risky, since I could miss out on some opportunities, but someone’s gotta do it, so it might as well be me. It is part of my religious beliefs that all humans are one, and that we are all equal in God’s eyes and thus we should accept each other as we are and support the health of everyone. I hope that my public expression of individuality will inspire others to be themselves.

How can people get involved?

Email the listserv! If you send an email to plays@princeton.edu you will be put in touch with a board member who can answer all the questions, give you info about meetings.

Anything else you want people to know about Princeton Plays?

We are a community that want to help you be you! No one should be afraid of being themselves, and we hope to share knowledge and community with all those interested.

Handy: Is it bad if I masturbate every day?

Dear Sexpert,

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I masturbate every single day. I used to think this was completely normal, but after talking to my friends, it seems that I do it a lot more than others. I feel really embarrassed now. Is it dangerous to 

masturbate this frequently? Is there something terribly wrong with me? Please help!

-Handy

 

Dear Handy,

Rest assured, masturbation – the sexual stimulation of one’s own genitals— is a completely healthy and normal sexual activity. Unfortunately, society tends to treat the topic as a social taboo, making it unacceptable to discuss. Because of this, people often experience feelings of shame or embarrassment when their masturbation is brought to a public light.

Just as people have different food or movie preferences, people also have different preferences for how often they masturbate. Just because your friends report masturbating less frequently than you do does not mean that there is anything inherently wrong with your activities. Both men and women can find masturbation pleasurable, and it is a great way to explore and learn about your own body. Understanding your body’s likes and dislikes will improve all your sexual experiences – by yourself and with others.

Since masturbation is a solo act, there are no risks of becoming pregnant or contracting STIs. However, if you are using toys or objects while masturbating, be sure to clean them properly (wash with a gentle anti-bacterial soap and warm water) before and after use. And never transfer your sex toys from anus to vagina or penis without thoroughly cleaning them first. If you have an active infection (HPV (genital warts) or herpes lesions on the genitals) you may want to avoid touching lesions until they’ve healed.  If you do come into contact with any sores, wash your hands thoroughly. However, if you have a wart on your hand, you don’t need to worry about passing it to your genitals; genital warts are generally caused by different strains of HPV than warts on other parts of your body.

There do exist some prevalent notions that masturbating too frequently can affect things such as fertility, sexual ability and general health. Fortunately, these are all myths. However, just like any activity, it is possible to masturbate to excess. If you find yourself masturbating to the point where it’s interfering with the rest of your life – skipping classes to masturbate, for example – then you may be masturbating too much. In the event that this is the case, there are confidential counselors available in the McCosh Health Center with whom you can discuss your concerns.

I hope this overview of masturbation was helpful in quelling your fears. In short, masturbation is a healthy and safe way to enjoy sexual pleasure. Unless it’s interfering with your daily life, keep doing what feels good!

-Sexpert

Information retrieved from Go Ask Alice