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Have Good Sex

Let’s talk about vanilla sex. “Vanilla sex” or “vanilla” is often used to describe people whose sex lives are mainstream, plain, or boring. While kink and BDSM have been becoming more and more popular and hogging the sexual spotlight, vanilla sex is often left behind. Some people even use the term in a derogatory sense. But let me clue you in on a little secret: you don’t need to be kinky in order to have good sex. In fact, a pure vanilla experience can be one of the best flavors out there. 

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Role-Play

Getting bored with your typical sex routine? There’s a laundry list of ways you can mix it up, one of which is Role-Play. Role-playing is easy, fun, and lets you explore realities that are imaginary or sometimes even taboo. As humans, we role-play more often than we realize. Doing it in a sexual way allows us to expand our comfort zones, discover fantasies, and marry our mental arousal with our physical.

If you’re new to the game of grown-up pretending, here are some tips and ideas to make role-play your way to great sex. 

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Dear Emily,

My boyfriend and I have a great sex life, but there is one issue that keeps popping up. He recently asked me to pleasure myself in front of him, and it’s not the first time he has made this request. I masturbate from time to time, but never in front of another person! I feel like masturbation is such a private activity and trying to do it in front of him feels awkward and forced. The last time he asked, I got angry and told him to do it himself and see how it feels, but my plan backfired because he totally loved it. Why is this such a big turn on for him? And how can I masturbate for my BF without feeling so uncomfortable?

Sincerely,
Self-Love Self Conscious

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It’s no secret that long-term relationships are hard to sustain. All parts of them take work. Communication takes work, romance takes work, cohabitation takes work. Arguably the most infamously difficult part of a serious monogamous commitment to maintain is the sex. Sex in a long-term relationship is constantly shifting, and you can get a sexual peak turn into a valley.

Sex drives change. People grow. Habits form and un-form. So it’s natural that EVERY long-term sexual relationship evolves as it ages. They’re like landscapes. When you’re committed to one person, your sex life has high points, low points, plateaus, and bodies of water that ebb and flow for a myriad of different and unique reasons. And it is OKAY.

I personally have a rich and storied relationship history. I’ve had stretches of singleness, friends with benefits, and so, so many partners. But if you look at the big picture, you might classify me as something of a serial monogamist. I fall deep and fast. I’m a glutton for commitment. And the one thing I can attest to when it comes to long-term committed monogamous relationships is that they are all unique. There is no one way a relationship unfolds. Every detail is totally case by case. Every sexual landscape, unique and imperfect. But with each of them there were frenzied peaks, and there were dry valleys.

The First Peak—A Sexual Rush 

I know I just said that all sexual relationships are unique and different snowflakes. And I’m not unsaying that. But a common and well-known thread in almost every relationship is the way they start. I’m talking about that blissful period before they become long-term. That delicious chapter in which they’re just fledgling love stories. This stage is commonly known as the honeymoon phase, and it’s every relationship’s first sexual peak.

Driven by lust and fixation, the anticipation of something new thrusts you and your partner upwards together to a peak of sexual elation. Coming from a state of single-dom, or the death valley of a dead love, your body gets excited about the prospect of a partner. And in addition to being an extremely emotional experience, studies suggest that it is also very chemically induced.

When you’re climbing this first sexual peak, your nerve growth factor increases. This means that the development and growth of your neurons are heightened. Elevated NGF leads to feelings of euphoria and connection. You idealize your partner. Nothing about them is lacking and all you want to do is be around them, and touch them and have sex with them. And when you have sex, your brain releases oxytocin (sometimes called the cuddle hormone) which increases the euphoria and attachment.

The honeymoon phase is science! It’s wonderful and it’s lovely. However, though most relationships start with this phase, the details are where they can vary. It can be as short as a couple of weeks or can last as long as a couple of years. It can be intensely sexual or heightened romantically. The peak can be sharp and steep, or it can be more like the slow and steady curvature of a hill. It’s the nature of peaks that they eventually descend. It’s the nature of monogamy that a shift will occur.

The Valleys—Or Sexual Lows

What is a valley? National Geographic describes them as “depressed areas of land–scoured and washed out by the conspiring forces of gravity, water, and ice.” So metaphorically speaking, sexual valleys are stretches of your relationship that are low and have been battered by outside forces, as well as time. Maybe you started to notice something you don’t like about your partner (or yourself). Maybe you’ve been fighting. Maybe you’re too stressed out. Maybe you’re just bored. Maybe you have no idea why the sex has stopped.

There are so many reasons why sex in a long-term relationship sputters. Our libidos can be affected by outside forces like medication or trauma. Sex drive also fluctuates as a result of natural hormonal changes our bodies go through every few years. Maintaining excitement is hard for all living creatures. Eventually, cats get tired of their new toys. Teenagers change their fashion choices. Flowers wilt at the slightest gust of wind. It’s natural to be searching for something to fulfill natural curiosity. And when you’ve made a commitment to stay sexually faithful to someone, it’s your responsibility to fulfill that curiosity within that relationship.

These sexual dry spells happen for different reasons, but also, they look totally different from couple to couple. In one of my relationships, reaching a sexual valley meant that sex dwindled down to once a week. In another, it meant that sexual encounters happened months apart. In another still, it was all about the quality of the sex. The important thing to remember is that you are in control of your own landscape. Assessing the situation, communicating, and doing the work can get you safely out of the valley and onto the next peak. Or if you’re comfortable with a dry spell, you can find the nicer, more positive aspects of the valley. Whichever path you can travel, make sure that you can see the road ahead. And if it’s what you want, envision another peak.

Climbing Back Uphill—Sexual Reclamation 

There comes a point in every LTR where you and/or your partner are faced with the challenge of spicing things up. You have to try and rediscover the sexual excitement of your first peak. During this time, it’s imperative that you reinvest in each other and not be fearful of trying new things when having sex in a long-term relationship.

Do what you can to make your sexual encounters feel fresh again. If one of you is usually dominant, switch up the dynamic. If you usually do it in bed, venture to a different location. Maybe if you’re adventurous, try to kink up your sex life a little bit. If you tend towards kinky sex, slow it down and go back to the basics.

If you’re climbing out of a particularly low valley, you may have to do some extra work to get back to where you were before. You might consider couples counseling or sex therapy. You might need to make a sex schedule and do your best to stick to it. But just like when you’re hiking, climbing is the hardest part.

The Topography is Ever-Changing

I’m speaking in a giant extended geological metaphor, but it is true that the landscape of your sex life is constantly changing. At any moment, an earthquake or tsunami or tornado could come and change the entire topography of your relationship. Be ready for these changes, and be present! Notice the difference between steep falloffs and steady descents. The journey never ends! The lower your valley is, the longer and harder you have to work to climb back to it. If you must plateau, give yourself a nice view. Try and make it as high as possible before leveling out.

Monogamy is hard. It’s a challenge and a daily choice. Sometimes things end or our sexual relationships don’t turn out the way we want them to. But as I’ve learned many times over, all you can do is roll with the punches. In navigating sex in a long-term relationship, find fun in the valleys and cherish the peaks. There is no normal and no supposed to be. We’re all inventing what relationships look like as we have them.

Laurie Magers is a comedy writer and actor living in Los Angeles. Her favorite color is red and her favorite food is crab legs. Check out more from her at www.lauriemagers.com.

Schoolgirl in sexy outfit

What exactly is the allure of the sexy schoolgirl role? Maybe it’s the innocent impulsivity or the inherent nerdiness. Maybe it’s the idea of a “brat,” or an inner smarty pants that’s dying to make an appearance. Or maybe it’s simply the innate power dynamic between student and teacher. (BTW—don’t make this weird. We’re obviously talking about consenting adults role-playing here.)

Whatever the reason, many find it extremely hot to experiment with a schoolgirl/teacher dynamic. Below are our top ideas for those willing and ready to dive into this exciting role-play scenario. 

Look the part

If you want to bring out your inner school girl, you need to be a “good girl” and don the uniform. Where would a sexy schoolgirl be without the classic plaid, pleated short skirt? It’s irresistible and puts you in the right headspace for some flirty fun. 

Corrupt the rest of your outfit by putting on a white button-up shirt and tying the ends high around your waist. Try out a lacy bra or go without—either can be super sexy. Finish the look with some knee-high socks and Mary Jane shoes. And if you’ve got the heart for it, why not go for pigtails?

Practice your pout

Part of the sexy schoolgirl aesthetic is body language. Perfect your pout by laying on some thick clear lip gloss and pucker up! To get even more into it, open your eyes wide, lift your voice a tad higher, and cross your arms. (You might even consider sucking on a lollipop or blowing bubblegum.)

Cock your head to one side and give your Dom a sly smile. They won’t be able to resist. 

Role-play with your partner

To really amp things up, have your sexual partner play a role of their own. You can have them be the “teacher.” Maybe they make you stand in the corner or send you to get punished by the “headmaster.” Respond by throwing a temper tantrum. Then demand something you want. Or better yet, be coy and beg. 

If you’re into BDSM, consider role-playing with some dominance/submission (i.e., “power exchange”) with your partner being the dominant (they could be a “daddy” or a “sir” or “teacher” or anyone in authority). If you’re okay with it, include some impact play, like a spanking. 

Another great way to role-play the sexy schoolgirl is to become a “brat.” Make some sassy comments to your partner and refuse to go along with anything they say. (Other tips for being a “brat”: be late, chew gum obnoxiously, roll your eyes and say “whatever”…) 

In any case, bringing out your inner brat can amp up your sexy, rebellious side and may also help you get “punished” by your partner—in a great way.

Text like a teen. 

If you want to role-play with your partner, a fun way to do that is to text NSFW pics to them in your uniform, especially at inappropriate times of the day. You can tease your partner with a pouty pic or beg for some sort of frivolous gift that a teen might ask for. If your partner texts you to do something, say “no.” Maybe you’ll get punished for it later. 

Be a badass. 

Sexy schoolgirls know what’s what. Even if you are doing some consensual age play in your dynamic, your inner schoolgirl is smart AF and knows herself. Embody your smartest (even nerdiest) self when you put on your uniform. Knowledge is power. You can even “school” your partner on feminist ideals as you flirt and pout your way to getting what you want (in the bedroom and out).

Remember, this is consensual role-play—your inner schoolgirl is a fun, playful side of you that is simultaneously powerful and intelligent.

Unleash your erotic, innocent self.

Sex is how adults “play,” and play in the bedroom can be a cornerstone to opening up your erotic self to your partner. 

As Esther Perel puts it: “Eroticism isn’t sex; it’s sexuality transformed by the human imagination.” Use your imagination and let your inner innocence come out in the bedroom through simply being playful. That’s part of the schoolgirl charm. Touch and play with your body as if you are discovering it for the first time. Bring in some fun toys, like a ruler to be spanked with, or a vibrator to play with solo or with a partner to tease you with or to “show you the ropes.” It’s all in the spirit of unleashing your erotic innocence.

Emily Anne is a bestselling author, sex coach, and educator, who specializes in helping people expand their sexual horizons through BDSM and kink. When she’s not obsessively talking about sex, she’s hiking through the Hollywood Hills. Get some sexy education on her Instagram feed. 

 

Girls kissing in lights

Sometimes, sex isn’t the easiest thing to talk about, especially when you’re young. As we grow up, teachers, families, and mentors are a wellspring of experience and knowledge that we siphon information from on the way toward adulthood. But one thing that would make for better sex ed is understanding the concept and understanding of sexuality. 

After all, how many adults today have been properly educated about the social, emotional, and psychological components of entering sexual adulthood? How many of us have been formally taught comprehensive sexuality? Whether or not you have, our sexuality is a crucial part of our development, and access to this education should be widespread and accessible.

The Sex-Ed I Remember…

When you think of classic sex-ed in middle school or high school, what do you remember? For me, there’s one day in class that immediately comes to mind. My science teacher put in the VHS tape labeled “The Miracle Of Birth.” I giggled uncontrollably along with the rest of my 7th-grade class and watched the whole bloody “miracle” through my fingers. At the time, it was utter nightmare material. Only years later did I realize this video showing was less about education and more about fear. It was a tactic meant to scare me away from sex, not educate me about having it. 

Leading up to this rite of middle-school passage, we got a brief biological explanation of the physical act of sex and its purpose as it relates to the procreation of species. I was lucky enough to also be given a little information regarding contraception and STIs. This was all definitely important stuff, but there is so much more to be learned about sex than anatomy and physiology. What we need is age-appropriate, comprehensive sexuality education. But what exactly is that? 

What is Sexuality Education?

The study of sexuality is an ever-evolving process. The more we learn about ourselves as a species, the more we have to teach our youth. So there’s no one correct and complete definition of Comprehensive Sexuality Education. 

The idea is to extend the teaching beyond the limiting themes of abstinence and anatomy. It’s to empower and encourage young and/or sexually inexperienced people to learn about components of sex that have been traditionally labeled as “taboo” or in some cases, irreligious. It’s teaching that instead of something that happens TO you, sex will be something you will determine for yourself. Yes, it’s sex. But it’s also sexual health, sexual identity, and sexual wellbeing and so much more.

So let’s get a little more specific. What are some components you might find in a Comprehensive Sexuality Curriculum?

Gender Identity and Orientation

Gender is a complex, hot-button issue right now socially and politically. As our society progresses, the concept and definition of gender are almost constantly in question. A fully-formed education on sexuality would address the role of gender norms in our society, and the idea of gender as a social construct. This includes the expectations and values that we place on ourselves and each other with regard to perceived gender. 

It also extends to gender biases and gender inequality. Of course, a parent can raise their child how they want and can instill their own values into their offspring. But young people should at least be taught what the terms cisgender, agender, non-binary or transgender mean if for any other reason, to perpetuate the principle of acceptance and inclusivity. 

Beyond gender, learning about sexual orientation and identity should also be a huge component of sexuality education. LGBTQ+ youth are among the most bullied and alienated kids in the world. More often than not, they suffer this torment without even knowing what’s happening in their psyche. The spectrum of sexual identity and attraction is becoming common knowledge. In all education, diversity should be celebrated through positivity and appreciation. Just as we laud diversity of race, religion, and ability, we should also laud diversity of orientation and identity. 

Pleasure

Contrary to popular belief, this DOES NOT mean teaching young people how to experience sexual pleasure. Adding the concept of pleasure to sexuality education means positively encouraging young people to seek enjoyable sexual experiences. 

Let’s be honest, sexual curiosity is born from a biological urge to seek pleasure. This is not a secret we should keep hidden away from the unknowing. If we’re truthful about healthy sexual behavior, we’ll be working against negative feelings of shame and guilt around sex. Sex is a natural part of adulthood, and young people shouldn’t feel intimidated or scared of it. Nor should they feel guilty for wanting to feel good, whether it’s through masturbation or partnered sexual activity.

Contraception & STI safety

Safe sex might sound like an obvious topic to cover in sex ed. But get this: In actuality, only 39 states mandate HIV education. And only 22 states are required to teach HIV education that is “medically accurate”. That means that teachers are legally allowed to lie to students about HIV.

When it comes to contraception, only “20 states require provision of information on contraception,” while “39 states require provision of information on abstinence.” Sure, this is an improvement from the days where abstinence was the only method of birth control that any educator spoke of. The truth is, however, that in many parts of the country, this is still the case. 

There are still 9 states with absolutely no requirements of sex or HIV education. Within those 9 states, 5 of them are listed in the Top 12 states with the highest teen birth rates. The reality is that teenagers are going to have sex. It is their right to be educated on how to do it safely and responsibly. 

Puberty & Body Acceptance

An often overlooked component of sexuality education is a detailed understanding of how the human body changes during adolescence. Puberty is weird, uncomfortable, and confusing! Any level of understanding would, I’m sure, be welcomed by your average pimple-faced, armpit-sniffing teen. 

Biologically, puberty is a precursor to reproductive maturity. Hormonal and bodily changes that teens and pre-teens go through are directly related to their sexual experience. Understanding the function of all the weird things happening can help young people walk through this transition with less shame and more acceptance. 

Consent and Sexual Exploitation

If there’s one thing that I would have benefitted most from in sex education class, it would have been consent. It is unbelievably pertinent to the sex lives and sexual safety of young people. As a young person exploring my own sexuality, I found myself in so many situations in which my consent was compromised or unclear. At the time, I blamed myself for being fickle or careless or slutty. When in fact, I was just uneducated.

I wasn’t alone. Most of us weren’t taught the importance of intention and integrity when it comes to sex. And far too many times, things got out of hand and out of control. 

Young people fall victim to sexual exploitation every day. One place where this is extremely evident is on college campuses where one in five women experience sexual assault. It’s imperative that we teach sexual safety in order to reduce this number and promote healthy interactions between sexual partners. 

Healthy Relationships & Romance

Ah, puppy love. Learning to form our first adult relationships happens early for some. If that growth were accompanied by lessons learned about how to have healthy relationships, imagine how many traumatic experiences could be avoided. 

Sexuality education would address the ways in which sex, love, and dating are both related and independent from each other. Handling the emotions that occur alongside sexual desire could potentially curb heartbreak, rage, and maybe even save a few young love stories from sad endings. 

Whether love is happening or not, the emotional component of sex should not be ignored. It should be explored, studied, and paid attention in an encouraging and positive environment. 

Why Do We Need It?

We need comprehensive sexuality education because quite frankly, it doesn’t exist. Not on a large enough scale where its benefits can be measured and calculated.

Our society is progressing. Growth is inevitable. Our standards of sexual education should mirror the progress that we are showing. Think about the good it could do. Maybe comprehensive sexuality education would help a trans kid to rethink their suicidal ideation.  Maybe it would save a young girl from being a victim of revenge porn. Maybe a son or daughter or person could teach their parents something that they never knew about acceptance and identity. After all, knowledge is power, right? 

Laurie Magers is a comedy writer and actor living in Los Angeles. Her favorite color is red and her favorite food is crab legs. Check out more from her at www.lauriemagers.com.

Woman and man holding vibrator on a bed
Dear Dr. Emily,
I’m wondering if it’s okay to always bring in a clitoral vibrator into the bedroom? It’s the only way I can orgasm, but I don’t want to hurt my partner’s feelings or have them think I’m weird. Thank you! 
Feeling the Vibes

Hi Feeling the Vibes, 

I love that you’re using toys and know what your body needs to feel pleasure. It can be difficult for women to orgasm in the first place, so you’re already on the right track.

There is nothing shameful about using a clitoral vibrator! I mean, you’re experiencing pleasure, right? Many vulva and vibrator owners keep their toys to themselves out of fear of rejection or offending their partner. But I say, why NOT give your partner a chance to see what the magic is all about?

Like anything, start by being mindful of how to start the conversation. Best not to overwhelm them or pull it out without much warning. Remember the three T’s of communication: timing, tone, and turf. Bring it up outside of the bedroom and start by having a casual and playful conversation. Maybe start with a specific thing you love or memory you have about your sex life with them. Be honest and open about your experience with toys. Explain that you think toys might be a fun way to increase the pleasure even more for both of you.

Once you’ve had an open conversation now you can start playing.  I always find it helps to show my partner how it works, even demonstrating on their body so they get a sense of how amazing vibrations can feel, no matter what parts you have! 

Get creative, and even let them take control—the We-Vibe Chorus is a great clitoral vibrator for couples and can be totally hands-free. Maybe bring out some massage oil, like Exsens. You can massage their body and start to tease them with the vibe. Once they know how good it feels, they’ll better understand why you love it so much.

There’s no shame in always needing a vibrator, but I would also encourage you to keep experimenting. Our brain memorizes masturbation patterns, so it may take time and effort to discover new methods.

And of course, have lots of fun. Many couples find that bringing a toy into their relationship not only enhances pleasure but also strengthens their intimacy. Happy vibing!

xx,

Dr. Emily

Happy September everybody! As we shift from summer into fall, many of us are taking the time to adjust to new routines, fresh wardrobes, and changing temperatures. Luckily, with the sun in the practical sign of Virgo, it’s also the perfect time to focus on yourself and get organized for the remainder of the year.

But be aware—with Mars in fiery Aries, this is also shaping up to be a month of war. Everyone seems to have an opinion and aggression may be fervent. (Especially with an upcoming election!) Instead of letting the irritation get to you, make the shift toward positive and courageous energy. Healthy and consensual sex can be a great outlet for letting out stress and built up aggravation. No matter your sign, this is a great month to turn on your own sexiness and claim whatever (and whoever) is appealing to you!

Read below for your September Sexoscope: 

Aries (March 21-April 19)

When you are completely confident about what you need, and also fully interested in the needs of others, you are irresistible. Don’t let anyone dim your fireworks this month—just tell them to wait patiently for the grand finale.

Taurus (April 20-May 20)

When you inhabit your body as a sacred unending pleasure temple, you enchant people to their core. When you crave lusciousness—turn inward.

Gemini (May 21-June 20)

When you reach for the level of transformational conversation you bewitch people. Don’t let common thoughts or ordinary banter get in the way of your maverick brilliance!

Cancer (June 21-July 22)

When you are as soft and yummy as a cookie (but also as sturdy as a mountain), folks can’t help but pursue you. Never compromise your boundaries to make others like you. You are the sweetness worth behaving for.

Leo  (July 23-August 22)

When you crack open your heart and let the light pour out to make others shine, people can’t get enough of you. Your generous love is a floodlight of seduction.

Virgo (August 23-September 22)

When you let go of perfection and highlight every flaw as sheer genius, you become a siren of attraction. You know better than anyone how to look through the cracks and see where the light comes in.

Libra (September 23-October 22)

When you realize that beauty is built by appreciating life you bathe in a regal glow. Others want to be with those who know the secret is not to have what you want but to truly love what you have.

Scorpio (October 23-November 21)

When you face darkness like an old friend, and bring the hope back like a giant street lamp, others find you utterly beguiling. Fearless to feel, you make people want to dive in.

Sagittarius (November 22-December 21)

When you speak your truths, not as swords, but as vulnerable invitations you become spellbinding. You never need to promote what is unflinchingly authentic.

Capricorn (December 22-January 20)

When you lend your immense competence in service of the ultimate good,  and you take time to smell the orgasmic roses – you become a walking aphrodisiac. Don’t let doing become the boss of being and all the oysters will be yours.

Aquarius (January 21-February 18)

When you are as truly empathetic as you are utterly disarming, people will fall at your feet. When the sky blue meets the turquoise of the deep sea, no one can resist.

Pisces (February 19-March 20)

When your dreamy nature grounds in earthly manifestation everyone wants a delectable nibble of you. Maintaining a mature focus in your life, undistracted by shallow temptations, leads you to your erotic superpower.

Jennifer Freed PhD is the best selling author of Use Your Planets Wisely and a renowned psychological astrologer and social and emotional education trainer. She has spent over thirty years consulting clients and businesses world wide on psychological, spiritual, and educational topics. She has served as the clinical director of Pacifica Graduate Institute and is national consultant for EMDR (Post Traumatic Growth Therapies).

​Dr. Freed’s passion is to awaken the potentials of each client and collective and to guide them to make lasting contributions to their communities.  

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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sexual compatibility blog sex with emilySexual compatibility is that complex component that can elude even the strongest personal connections.

It has no official definition, and it’s about as easy to explain as quantum physics. It’s elusive! It’s ephemeral! And it’s….very very important for the longevity of your romantic relationship.

Sometimes there’s an immediate spark, and sometimes you have to work at it. And sometimes it’s hard to tell either way. So to help, here are 7 signs of sexual compatibility.

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