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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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politics blog sex with emilyIn light of the recent uprising of racial justice protests, the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement, the current global pandemic and upcoming election, politics are becoming pretty hard to avoid — especially within our personal relationships.

Political conversations are coming up in all sorts of areas they may not have before. They’re happening on first dates, or even as early as within dating apps. Though seeing someone list a different political party than you may be an immediate swipe left, there are plenty of people out there who are willing to date across political lines.

There are are tons of ways that political beliefs can affect a relationship. And you and your partner might not always be on the same side. So in the spirit of bringing people together, ere are some ways to handle different views with your boo. 

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romance blog sex with emilyIn the time before quarantine, a sleepy three-day weekend or ordering take out for a cozy night sounded like the best thing ever. Yet, now, after endless weeks of sheltering in place, it seems like quarantine can feel like a little too much time at home. When you haven’t worn anything but sweatpants in a month and your showers are getting fewer and farther between, you may be feeling like this pandemic is damping your romance.

Additionally, when you and your partner are both working at home, up in each other’s space ALL day every day, you may be more in the mood for some alone time than some sexy time. And of course, there is the fact that we’re living through a global pandemic, and no one knows when it’s going to be over. 

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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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masturbation myth blog sex with emilyAs a wise JT once said, “It’s gonna be May”. And with that comes one of our favorite occasions of the year: National Masturbation Month!

An entire month dedicated to the glorious pleasure past-time, Masturbation May is here! Let’s kickstart the conversation about why self-love is a healthy, normal part of sexuality that we should absolutely embrace year-round. 

It has been around since the beginning of time. But theres still a staggering amount of shame, stigma and false information surrounding it.

So to help the cause, we’re here to debunk some of the biggest, baddest (and craziest) masturbation myths! We’ll prove that it’s not only totally natural, but good for you, too! 

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