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Alex Anderson

woman with flower over bodyWhenever you hear the word “mapping,” the thoughts that rush to mind are a little less about sexual empowerment, a little more middle school geography class. But what if we were to tell you that this age-old activity could be the very key to unlocking a whole new world of pleasure? Vulva mapping, to be specific. 

Perhaps it sounds a bit strange at first, but rest assured, it won’t for long! Because with the help of a clear head, specific intent, a dash of patience, and sweet, sensual touch, you too can be on your way to uncovering a new sense of your sexiest self. 

If you know, you know. If you don’t…prepare to be amazed. 

What exactly is Vulva Mapping?

Vulva mapping, in a nutshell, is the hands-on practice of learning the “topography” of female-bodied genitals. Through mindful massage and intentional touch, it’s a way for individuals to get to know their bodies better and, as a result, grow more attuned to and comfortable with their own sexuality. 

Seems pretty great, right? Especially in this day and age! But, pausing to remember that female sexuality isn’t something that’s always been the most…celebrated topic, it begs the question of how all of this actually began.

In the late ‘60s and early ‘70s emerged a feminist organization called the New York Radical Women. Dedicated to opposing the deep-rooted patriarchal system, the group sought ways to overturn the notion of a male-dominated society and give women the power to no longer be oppressed. One of which began with the idea of hosting what they called “feminist consciousness-raising” groups. 

The primary goal of these groups was to collectively shine light on issues of the “women’s experience” and figure out how they can most effectively implement their mission out into the rest of the world. One such method was the vaginal self-examination, where each member grabbed a mirror and flashlight to study their own lady bits in a group setting. 

Instead of hiding in the typical throes of embarrassment or self-consciousness, this activity thrust women into looking at themselves in ways they had likely never done before. In addition to now knowing what was actually down there, they could finally take charge of their female differences, have more confidence in their own skin, and bust through long-held taboos surrounding their sexualities—and furthermore, their place in society. 

So from there, vulva mapping was born! And the good news is it’s something that’s only gotten better with age. 

Benefits of Vulva Mapping

Now that we’ve covered the historical roots, I’m sure you’re curious to know more about the lovely perks it can actually yield. 

Whether it’s a result of our upbringing, peers, social media or trauma, there are so many feelings of embarrassment and/or shame prone to building up within our bodies over the years. In return, those feelings can cause heightened levels of stress, anxiety, self-consciousness and other subconscious pressures that impact how we perceive our sexual selves. 

That said, learning to better understand and feel more confident in our own skin is one of the most effective ways to counteract those negative effects. Hence, vulva mapping enters the picture here as a great tool to help kick-start that journey. 

Seeing what the vulva actually looks like, getting to know how every part individually feels, learning all of the different sensations you’re capable of feeling and realizing what your body likes best—each step of the process can lead to an overall boost in everything from confidence and sexual satisfaction, to one’s trust and sense of connection with others down the line.

Who is it for?

In the wise words of Diane von Furstenberg: “The most important relationship in your life is the relationship you have with yourself.” Which rings especially true for emphasizing who’s the main beneficiary of vulva mapping—you! 

But as with many things in the world of sex, the biggest perks of the practice can absolutely carry over to one’s bond with their partner as well. By knowing what you like and how you like it, being more comfortable with talking about sex and fostering even deeper feelings of mutual closeness and understanding, it’s a no-brainer that this personal growth from vulva mapping can bring major strengths to any relationship.

How To Explore It

For anyone interested in exploring vulva mapping for themselves, it’s time to finally find out exactly how.

First off, keep in mind that intention is everything. Because this is a “mindful” practice, it’s important to immerse yourself in the process, as opposed to treating it like just another task on the to-do list. Setting an intention (which can change along the way) of what you most want to get out of experience can help focus your energy and keep yourself truly present in the moment.

Next up: the tools. Whether you’re being intimate with a partner or by yourself, mood is everything. So set yourself up for success by ensuring your environment is comfortable and relaxing—no matter if it’s your bedroom, bathroom, or hey, even your fluffy couch. Once you have that down, grab a mirror, some lube and perhaps a little companion like the Zumio that can help mix up the stimulation. Zumio happens to be a great option due to its tiny tip and pressure-sensitive intensity. 

Take deep breaths, relax your body, get in a comfortable position and take a good look at what’s down there. If you have trouble staying wet, consider a lube, like pjur lubricants. Lube can also increase sensation, making the exploration all the more fun. If you want to have your partner explore with you, consider a massage leading up to get, as this helps ignite your senses and relax the muscles. Don’t skimp on the massage oil—Exsens makes our favorites. 

We all remember those health class diagrams, but seeing every part of your own vulva puts it into perspective. Distinguish between the mons pubis, the inner and outer labia and different parts of the clitoris, up through the vaginal opening, fourchette, perineum and finally the anus. There’s probably a lot more down there than you ever realized, so now, it’s time to get a feel for it. Literally!

Remember, stay relaxed, don’t hold your breath and, after slathering your fingers with lube or oil, start gently massaging yourself all over. Begin with your breasts, stomach and thighs, then ease your way down to the genital area. Slowly, softly stroke along the entire area, paying attention to all of the different parts. Meanwhile, keep your mirror at bay to watch how each section changes in appearance as you slowly get more aroused. 

Paying close attention to how your body reacts to individual stimulation of each area, you can gauge when you’re ready for more. Whether it’s more intense rubbing with your fingers or using a Zumio to really pinpoint your pleasure zones, continue experimenting with varying degrees of intensity throughout distinct parts of the vulva. If you run across any discomfort or extreme sensitivity, slowly work your way through it, lightly massaging the area and making sure to keep breathing.

While you’re at it, consider exploring other parts of your genitals for a truly well-rounded sexual experience. Kegels, or exercises for your PC muscles, can help strengthen and elongate your orgasms. Yarlap is a tool that actually does your kegels for you, and can be a great way for someone who needs a little reminder to exercise.

In the end, you want your body to feel at ease, embrace the sensual vibes, feel totally empowered and continuously comforted. It might end in orgasm, but that’s certainly not the main goal. By taking a tantalizing tour from top to bottom, the idea is to become hyperaware of what sensations your body is able to experience and unlock the pleasure potential that lies within.

And lastly, remember…

It’s about the journey, not the destination. And even though you’ve probably gotten your fix of cliché quotes by now, it’s an important one to keep in mind because vulva mapping is far from a one-and-done situation.

Think about the world of pleasure as a revolving door of possibility, and with that, practices like vulva mapping as ways to continue growing and learning new things about ourselves. Each time you do it, you’re even more equipped and evolved than the time before, so why not take the plunge to prioritize your pleasure and see where the voyage takes you?

This is the year of self-care, after all, so definitely consider adding vulva mapping to your rotation.

Alex Anderson is an LA-based lifestyle designer proactively raging against the cultural grain. By day she works in television production, and by night enjoys writing, sewing and seeking guidance from the stars. She also finally has an all black kitty named “Cher.” You can follow her alt-lifestyle blog MSFT Living and on Instagram!

butt sex blog sex with emily

Regardless of how “adventurous” you consider yourself in the bedroom, butt sex can feel tricky to even the most experienced. But to anyone who thinks it’s doggy style or bust, it’s time to think again, my friends! 

Anal August is coming to a close, and it’s our goal to spend the month paying tribute to the world of backdoor play. As social stigmas surrounding it have begun to melt further away, there’s no denying it’s something a lot of people are growing more curious to try. However, if you aren’t yet an ace when it comes to anal, it’s important to know there are a ton of different ways to do it – positions, most definitely included. 

So how do you figure out which one will make and not break the experience? Well, it often depends on your experience level. But no matter how well versed in the art of butt play you may or may not be, we totally have your back with this master list of favorite anal sex-friendly positions.

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disagree partner pandemic blog sex with emilyAs Coronavirus cases continue to soar, so have our stress levels while living in a pandemic. But as the world continues to slowly open back up, everyone has an opinion of what precautions should be taken. So what happens if you and your partner don’t see eye to eye?

Perhaps one of you is taking social distancing measures supremely seriously. Maybe the other believes it’s all a big crock. It doesn’t matter how much you did or didn’t fight before. This pandemic has ushered us into a whole new ballgame. One in which communication with each other has never been more critical.

If you and your partner disagree about the pandemic, here are a few tips for learning how and if you can get on the same page and cope with the COVID craziness.

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birth control blog sex with emilySo you want to have sex, but you don’t want to get pregnant. How can you be sure to do one and not the other?

Most of us know about the existence of birth control methods, but times have changed, access to information varies, and everyone could use a refresher now and then! 

Whether you’re about to get a prescription for the first time, or have been playing the contraception game for years, there’s a lot to keep in mind when trying to figure out which form does the trick for you.

Let’s cover all the bases for navigating the great, wide world of birth control. We’ll take a look at some of the different types, side effects, plus how to get a prescription in the first place. So grab a pen and take some notes because, as we all know, the struggle has never been more real.

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wedding blog sex with emilyWhen you’re planning a wedding, a million things can go wrong. Add a global pandemic on top of it all? Talk about next level wedding stress.

Staying cooped up in quarantine has been a struggle for most. However, for those who were looking to tie the knot this year, it quickly became clear that things were going to look a bit…different than they originally planned.

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single dad blog sex with emilyFather’s Day is here! From bio-dads and stepfathers, to sugar daddies and daddy doms alike, it’s time to celebrate all the fatherly figures we love – and how they can get the love they deserve as well. And in this blog, we’re focusing on all the single dads out there.

Being a dad on your own has a unique set of challenges. Between diaper changes, packing lunches and first dances, a single dad’s love life can fall by the wayside. 

But fear not, fathers, there is a way to do it right! With a grounded outlook, great communication and willingness to army crawl your way through any muddy obstacles that arise, single dads can show the dating world that they are some of the greatest fish in the sea. 

So whether you’re one yourself, or in the dating market for one, here are our hot tips on how to make it the most of dating as a single dad.  

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pride month medley blog sex with emilyWith another June upon us comes our annual celebration of the LGBTQIA+ community.

We may have lost track of what day it is, but Pride Month has officially landed! This year’s festivities won’t feature as many parades, parties and travel plans as usual. However, that doesn’t take anything away from the spirit of the queer community’s ongoing fight for equality.  

To help ring in the occasion right, here’s a mix of some great Pride-themed blogs and podcasts.

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virginity medley blog sex with emilyThey say good things come to those who wait, but when it comes to losing your virginity, it can feel like quite the opposite. 

We all have different experiences, and different feelings about taking that epic step into adulthood. Regardless if you were an early, late, or totally on-par bloomer, there’s no denying the conversation surrounding virginity can be a tricky one to tackle.  

This doesn’t mean that the conversation should be avoided. So to kick off the discussion and throw our own two cents into the mix, here’s a mashup of some of our best virginity-themed blogs and podcasts. 

 

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humiliation blog sex with emilyWhen we think about great sex, a positive and pleasure-packed experience is what often comes to mind. However, for some out there, it’s something a little darker that does the trick! All thanks to two little words: humiliation and degradation.

You’ve probably heard it and seen it. Perhaps it was while watching porn. Perhaps it was while watching a blockbuster film of a certain shade of gray. But erotic humiliation is yet another powerful way to spice up your sex play.

From exploring power dynamics to testing emotional boundaries, it’s something that – albeit may sometimes feel extreme – can open up a whole new world of intimate possibilities with the right partner.

Interested? Thought so. Let’s do a deeper dive:

 

FIRST OFF, THE BASICS

In a nutshell, erotic humiliation/degradation refers to getting aroused from the cocktail of emotions that come with being teased, demeaned and degraded. Humiliation includes belittlement, commands, sexual stimulation, etc. Degradation includes insults, name calling,  – the works.

On the mild side of the spectrum, it looks like someone calling you a “stupid little baby”. On the extreme side it looks like getting hogtied and orgasm-tortured while everyone at the sex party points and laughs. These acts under normal circumstances are the sorts of things that usually make people feel uncomfortable or shamed, but erotic humiliation completely flips the switch on those core emotions, plus so much more. 

 

Although erotic humiliation is popular within the BDSM scene, it’s also worth clarifying the two have a few stark differences. Unlike some kinky interests, erotic humiliation is not about the humiliation-causing acts themselves, rather the emotions they elicit. Humiliation is a form of submission, but not all submission has to entail humiliation/degradation tactics.

 

WHERE’S THE PLEASURE?

One person’s pain can be another person’s pleasure. Sexiness is subjective. It’s hard to pinpoint from where the appeal 100% stems. Sure, it’s easy to associate humiliation with that one embarrassing day in sixth grade gym class. But for many it can be a supremely, surprisingly freeing and healing experience. 

A huge element of sexual exploration is getting to dip your toes into things that are sometimes considered taboo. In the world of kink and fetish, there are endless types of power dynamic. Whether it’s a Dom/sub, DDlg, or furry play, carrying out something that safely and consensually pushes the boundaries of human experience can feel liberating without a doubt. This is especially true when doing it with a trusted partner that’s on the same page as you. 

 

MAKE IT YOUR OWN

What sets this one apart from some other fetishes is the fact that it’s subjective AND doesn’t even have to be inherently sexual. Since the name of the sensuous game is feeling humiliation, everything from the dialogue and physicality, to level of overt sexuality depends on those involved.

Some people find receiving it hot, others enjoy dishing it out, and sometimes it’s a mix of both. The humiliation can happen in public at a sex party, or in the privacy of your own sex dungeon. Despite the fetish looking different from situation to situation, the one non-negotiable is both partners truly knowing each other – and what words, tones and actions will actually drive it all home. 

 

SAFETY FIRST! (& HOW TO DO IT)

In addition to being on the same page with your partner, the other golden rule of erotic humiliation is that consent, as always, is absolutely everything.

Ahead of jumping into the hot and heavy action, having a candid conversation about what you how you want to engage in humiliation and degradation is the hands-down best way to kick things off. When playing with your emotions erotically, the experience can go in many different directions. It’s good to discuss and establish mutually agreed-upon boundaries, as well as have a safe word in your back pocket just in case. 

After it all goes down, you additionally want to allow some time for aftercare and not be afraid to talk about the experience in general. Not only will reflecting upon the experience help you figure out how you felt about it, but a joint debrief can definitely reveal what worked as well as what didn’t for improving upon moving forward. 

 

***

 

When it comes to any fetish, you ultimately just have to do you. But knowing they are an insanely interesting way to explore some of the most basic building blocks to any healthy relationship…well, it just keeps things all the more interesting, right?

 

 


Alex Anderson is an LA-based lifestyle designer proactively raging against the cultural grain. By day she works in television production, and by night enjoys writing, sewing and seeking guidance from the stars. She also finally has an all black kitty named “Cher.” You can follow her alt-lifestyle blog MSFT Living and on Instagram!

mutual masturbation medley blog sex with emilyAs the Masturbation May festivities roll on, we’re focusing today’s lens onto one particularly hot lane of the action. Let’s talk mutual masturbation!

Perhaps you’ve heard of it, or are already an ace practitioner yourself, but either way it’s definitely worth exploring. So let’s begin with this rousing roundup of blogs and podcasts all about it. 

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