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consentToday, I attended a Consent Workshop by The Consent Crew. There were some interesting discussions amongst the attendees and organizers about some great topics.  I want to reiterate some of the points that I feel are most relevant based on my experiences over the past two decades.

IT’S OK TO SAY NO

How many of you are guilty of trying to giggle your way out of an uncomfortable situation just to be polite?  And how many of you have compromised your own boundaries just to wake up the next morning filled with regret?  Western cultural values have taught us to be excessively polite, but that shouldn’t be at the cost of your own personal boundaries.  If somebody is doing something that makes you uncomfortable, you have the right to say no.  And, although you don’t have to justify your reason for saying no, saying it in a way that is polite and respectful will go a long way towards diffusing what could become a confrontational situation over hurt feelings.  Here are some of my favourite ways to say no:

  • No thank you (smile on face).
  • Thanks for offering but not at this time.
  • I’m not into that, but thanks anyway.
  • You seem like a great person but I’m not interested. Thanks anyway.

 

IT’S OK TO HEAR NO

When you hear no, you may feel hurt, rejected and generally bad.  Why?  Because our culture has taught us that “no” is a bad word when in reality, “no” is just somebody’s way of expressing their own personal boundaries.  Usually, the no you are hearing has very little to do with you and everything to do with the person saying it.  Perhaps they are there for a different reason than you.  Maybe the timing is just off.  Or, it could be as simple as they like blonds, and you’re a brunette.  Whatever the reason, remind yourself…“getting a no is no big deal”.   Here are some of my favorite ways to respond gracefully to “no”:

  • I’m not hearing a clear yes so I’ll take that as a no.
  • No problem.
  • Thanks for letting me know. I appreciating knowing your boundary.
  • Thanks anyway.

 

GET CONSENT

Obvious right?  Easier said than done.  Consent is complicated.  Often, expectations surrounding consent are firmly rooted in cultural values, gender values, family values, or even the environment we are in at the time.  At Club Eden, the expectations are framed by the use of signage, marketing, and agreements.  This is a great foundation for consent.  But even with all of this, there is still room for interpretation based on an individual’s unique perspective formed over the course of a lifetime.  This is why it is also important to say no when you feel like your personal boundaries are being compromised.  In my experience, most people want to do the right thing and DON’T want to maliciously or deliberately compromise your boundaries.  They just don’t realize they are doing it.   Here is one of my favorite personal stories to reflect how cultural expectations can create a misalignment between boundaries:

While working in an office environment, one of the long term vendors and friends of the owner approached me saying “it’s nice to finally meet you”.  He then stepped in and gave me a hug and then a kiss on my left and right cheek.   My background is British and back then, I was a bit of a cold fish.  His background is South American and to not step in with a light hug and kiss on the cheeks would be considered an insult.  He didn’t get my consent but conversely, because of his cultural values, he didn’t think he had to.   This illustrates a great example of how easily consent boundaries can be accidentally crossed.

When at Eden, remember these four points to help you navigate consent:

  1. Play within the rules of the framework provided (signs, agreements, marketing messages).
  2. Politely say no when your boundaries are being crossed;
  3. Politely hear/accept no when somebody tells you.
  4. If your no is not being heard, then it’s ok to find the organizer or one of the staff to help you diffuse the situation.

When attending other sex positive events remember to familiarize yourself with their unique framework.

I hope this article helps you find your voice for consent.  Play safe, have fun and respect your own boundaries and the boundaries of others.

Eve, Founder of Club Eden and Co-author of Sex Get Over It

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Ignorance is Bliss?

I have a friend who is single. She just happens to have genital herpes which can make dating a tad more complicated. Last week, she met a match on a well known dating website. After making an online connection, but before heading out on her first date, she very politely let him know that she is herpes positive so that he could make an informed decision before things got too out of hand.

I would like to hope that most would take the opportunity to get educated, or simply bow out gracefully. But this particular “Jack” exploded and called her every name in the book from slut to whore to everything in between. When I heard about his simple minded response, I was disgusted.

It’s no wonder that so many people are ashamed to talk about and deal with this issue. It’s no wonder that so many choose to simply ignore their situation and continue to contribute to the spread of herpes. It’s a wonder that my friend doesn’t just keep her mouth shut and take her chances in the future.

My friend should be commended! She is incredibly brave and is blazing the trail in open sexual communication. Herpes is one of many STIs out there and people need to talk about the facts in order to stop the spread of this disease and others like it.

Facts about Herpes
• At least one in four Americans will contract an STD at some point in their lives.
• One in five Americans has genital herpes (at least 80% are not aware they have it)
• Many people who have genital herpes are unaware that they have the virus because they have no symptoms, mild symptoms, or mistake the symptoms for other conditions such as jock itch, yeast infections, razor burn or allergic reactions to detergents.
• Genital herpes can be transmitted during vaginal, anal or oral sex even if the infected person has no open sores or any other symptoms of infection.
• Condom use reduces the risk of getting genital herpes and other STIs. However, when using a condom, remember that the exposed areas of skin are still unprotected. To prevent spread of the virus during oral sex use a condom on the penis and a condom cut lengthwise or a dental dam over the female genital area

I don’t know why I continue to be surprised at how ignorant and judgmental people can be when it comes to sexuality and sexual health. Stop judging and get educated. When it comes to sex, ignorance is only bliss until that morning you wake up with open sores on your naughty bits.

And for those of you living with STDs, there is still hope of finding your match. Check out positive singles – The best, largest, completely anonymous and most trusted personals network for STD singles and friends in the world. (More than blog worthy)

You’re not alone!

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If you and your partner have decided to take the plunge and invite other play partners into your fantasy realm, you absolutely MUST read my “8 simple rules to enjoy safer sex in an open relationship…”

Rule #1 – Don’t floss your teeth.

Don’t tell your dentist I said this, but please don’t floss your teeth within 24 hours of playing with a new partner.  If you’re going to be engaging in oral sex (which most of you likely will), flossing the teeth opens up the gums and provides a direct line to the bloodstream which can put you at risk for some of the nastiest STIs including HIV.

Rule #2 – Learn how to put on a condom.

If you’ve been in a monogamous relationship for a while and haven’t had to put on a condom, you may actually be out of practice. It’s important that you put the condom on the right way to minimize the risk of the condom breaking and to ensure that it’s not overlooked in the heat of the moment.  And ladies, don’t just leave this up to the guy.  You’re equally responsible for recognizing potential hazards to avoid putting yourself at risk.    Click here to learn the right way to put on a condom.

Rule #3 – Get tested every year.

Once you’ve chosen to be non-monogamous, do the responsible thing…get tested for STIs annually to be aware of your personal sexual health and that of your partner.  Some STIs have no visible symptoms, but many can be cured on early detection or at least managed to mitigate the risk of serious infection or transmission to your primary partner.  www.STDresource.com has a clinic finder that lists STD clinics in BC.

Rule #4 – Wear gloves – they’re smooth as silk.

For many, the use of gloves during sex may be reminiscent of your last trip to the doctor, but despite their unattractive appearance, they actually come with some easily overlooked, very sexy benefits.  Not only do they protect your sex partners from tears, fissures and rashes caused by hang nails and calluses, they actually feel better than the naked hand.   Add a couple of drops of lube and they will feel smooth as silk when you run them along ALL the naughty bits…perfect for hand jobs and penetration.  Oh, and don’t forget, putting on a fresh glove is so much faster than running to the bathroom to do a wash-up when you’re in the middle of that sexy threesome and want to pleasure more than one partner at the same time.   And that brings me to my next rule – don’t double dip!

Rule #5 – Don’t double-dip.

And I’m not talkin’ about a lottery ticket here.  When you’re in the middle of that sexy threesome, foursome or moresome, most get the condoms right when it comes to penile penetration, but regretfully, they forget about the other body parts…particularly hands.  Hands are on him, hands are on her, hands are in her and then before you know it, they’re in a different her along with the body fluids of her #1…ack!  Guys, please wash your hands vigorously with antibacterial soap before double dipping.  Or better yet, see rule #4.  And gals, if you don’t know where your play partners hands have been, ask politely, or have him wear a glove…trust me…you’ll be in ecstasy (safely) and won’t even notice the glove.

Rule # 6 – Trust your senses.

Look – Before playing look for any open sores, blisters or rashes around the genital area, anal area or mouth.  These can be possible signs of STIs and are not worth the risk.

Smell – if it smells funky, it probably is…and even if it’s not an STI…why would you want to take the chance.

In either of these situations, find a way to politely remove yourself from the situation.  If you’re too shy to say something or ask, then it’s still safer to find a polite excuse than to just “grin and bare it”. My favorite..”Sorry, I have to hit the ladies room…darn bladder always gets me at the most inopportune time”!

Rule #7 – I’ll be damned!

Dental dams aren’t just reserved for the dentist anymore.  There’s another type of dental dam on the block that’s perfect for safe oral sex.  A dental dam is a small protective sheet that’s made from the same material as condoms.  It’s lightweight, easy to use and comes in different colors, flavours and scents just like condoms.

As always, when trying a new safety “toy” for the first time, practice on your primary partner first and become a sexpert to avoid any of those awkward moments with arms length play partners.   Simply place the dam over her naughty bits to maximize your protection during oral sex.  Add a little bit of lube to the under side and voila…you’ll have her screaming in ecstasy in no time.  And if you want to increase her pleasure and have more control, have her hold the dam in position leaving your hands free to wander.

Rule #8 – Tell your partner EVERYTHING!

The biggest risk to your personal health, safety and well being will be when your partner finds out that you’ve been hiding something from them.  “Relationship” is the most important word in “open relationship”.  It’s about experiencing this together so be sure to tell the one you love everything.

Now have fun…and play SAFE!

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At the risk of ruffling some feathers, I felt it was time to do a follow up article to “Top 10 sexual mistakes made by men”. However, this time we focus on the most common sexual blunders and faux pas made by women. Remember that it takes two to tango.  Communication, trust and sexual variety between partners are always the best ways to avert animosities in the bedroom.

The following is a Top 10 list of things for women to avoid when it comes to sex:

Click here to read entire article from original source.

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Then don’t miss “A weekend with Midori” presented by Sagacity in Victoria, the weekend of July 24 & 25, 2009.  Midori is an educator and columnist on adventurous sexuality, she’s also the author of “The Seductive Art of Japanese Bondage”, “Master Han’s Daughter” and “Wild Side Sex: The Book of Kink”. Midori travels the world presenting to universities, education events, organizations and media.

I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting Midori, but I am familiar with her work, and her reputation speaks for itself.

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After giving a blow job, my mouth can get sore inside from rubbing on my teeth, is there any type of inner mouth protection…lol, or do i just do it more carefully so that my lips don’t ever close over my teeth?
Thanks for your insight!

Curious

Dear Curious:

Well, wearing a mouth guard might work, but it’ doesn’t strike me as particularly sexy.

Try changing your position to create a better angle.  For example, having your partner sit down on a chair in front of you while you are on your knees in front of him gives you the greatest amount of control when giving head.  This may allow you to open your mouth more so your lips don’t curl around your teeth.    In addition, keep in mind that the greatest amount of pleasure and sensation is around the head of the penis so unless you’re practiced in deep thoating, you don’t really need need to run your lips or teeth down the shaft of the penis.  Keep your mouth, lips and tongue focused on the head and use your hand to massage the shaft.

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Hello, I have recently learned that I can squirt, and I’m wondering what are the things that women love most about  it? (because it didn’t happen while I was orgasming) I’m still not sure if I like it yet…am I missing something?

Curious

Dear Curious:
Squirting is different for everyone.  Some RAVE about it and describe it in legendary terms…the Holy Grail of sex so to speak.  While others can take it or leave it.  Those that love it describe it as more of a deep, full body orgasm vs a clitoral orgasm which is generally more like an intense short burst.  Those that can take it or leave it can do without the extra laundry that comes with the clean up.

Honestly, don’t worry about what other women love about it.  Just focus on whether it feels good for you.  Just be sure to try it a few times as you might find it gets better as you become more comfortable with it.  Over time, you may even learn to control it which can actually be kind of fun – and who says great sex can’t come with a few laughs along the way.

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Ahhhh… Spring is in the air.  Your mood is lighter, there’s a little extra bounce in your step, and you find you’re just a little friskier than you were last month.
You’re easily distracted by visions of the attractive girl in the mini-dress or the buff guy in the muscle shirt.  You find yourself flirting with the server at your usual lunch time haunts and your mind drifts to thoughts of amorous liaisons and one night interludes.
How could this be?  Is there something in the water?  Have you suddenly fallen out of love or lust with your partner?    Could this be the beginning of the end?
Not at all.  You’ve simply caught a wee case of Spring Fever.
Since the dawn of time, Spring Fever has been affecting our amorous behavior every year right around this time.  It’s triggered by a number of factors that go far beyond just the shedding of winter woolies in favor of tankinis, shorts and mini-skirts.
Spring Fever is actually driven by a number of critical factors that affect our mood and trigger our “survival instinct”.  Everything you’re experiencing is a natural reaction to changes in temperature, light and conception cycles brought on by the onset of Spring.
Temperature
According to a study conducted by the University of Michigan, spending time in warm sunny weather can affect our mood, memory and cognitive style (openness to new information and creative thoughts).  “Being outside in pleasant weather really offers a way to re-set your mind-set,” said Matthew Keller, the U-M post-doctoral researcher who led the psychology study.  Temperature can have a noticeable impact on our mood.  The more time we spend outside in warm, sunny weather, the better our mood becomes.  The optimal temperature is 72 degrees.
This ties in with a study by Timothy Werschler and Shiva Halli of the University of Manitoba, on The Seasonal Birth Pattern in Canada which is characterized by a birth peak in April–May, and a trough in December–January.    Across Canada, our temperatures average 22 degrees celcius (72 degrees fahrenheit) throughout June, July and August which account for the birth peak April through May.
Light
The amount of natural light we’re exposed to actually impacts our energy levels.   In the winter, when the days are shorter, the body is exposed to less natural light and as a result, the Pineal Gland produces more Melatonin – a hormone that impacts the body’s energy level.  The more melatonin we produce, the more sluggish and lazy we feel.  In the Spring, as the days grow longer, more natural light is filtered through the retina which results in the production of less Melatonin.  So, more light equals less Melatonin and in turn more energy.  And with more energy, we’ll be more inclined to mate like bunnies in the Spring.   The earlier onset of morning light has also been linked to the lifting of winter depression (SADS).

Survival Instinct
And finally, our natural born instinct to survive through procreation kicks in during the Spring.  Historically speaking, we have been pre-programmed to conceive in the late Spring and early Summer so that we could give birth in early Spring when food is more abundant and the climate is more moderate, thereby giving our offspring the best chance of survival.  Although our survival is less dependant on the seasons today, it is possible that we are still reacting instinctively to the survival mechanisms of our ancestors.
So next time you find yourself feeling a little more flirty and prone to temptation from outside influences in the Spring, lose the guilt and just enjoy the feeling.  It’s a natural reaction to “Spring Fever”.
Conversely, if you happen to notice your partner ogling that hot chick in the mini-dress, or buff guy in the muscle shirt, don’t take it personally.  Instead, take advantage of the amorous mood and turn the temptation of a Spring fling into an evening of frisky fun with your partner.  It’s likely that they are “suffering” from the same affliction as you and may just surprise you with their enthusiasm.

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I’m not usually into ‘fruity flavoured’ lube so this was something relatively new for us.
The fruity smell is quite nice; not overpowering or fake smelling. It reminds me of suntan oil – very tropical.  Because of the smell it’s perfect for the planned romantic evening, but not so much for the discreet encounter.  The scent is a dead giveaway for the activity it is designed for.
I would say its middle of the road in terms of runniness…it’s not too much, and it’s not thick and gooey, which surprised me as many of the scented lubes I have used in the past were very sticky mainly due to the sugar used. This uses stevia for sweetness. Safe to safe it tastes nice as well.
Near the end of our session, we could’ve used a dab more, but overall it has good staying power. It didn’t leave me, or my partner feeling icky, sticky, and running for the shower.
One final note, I do like the ingredients – natural. I can read them, and pronounce them, and I know, more or less what they are. Horray for natural.
Overall, a nice lube that I would use again – for a special romantic evening.

3.5 out of  5
Review by The Goddess.

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According to the Great Canadian Male Sex Survey, 93% of men feel that it’s important that their partners have an orgasm during sex.  But why then do 25% of women routinely fake an orgasm?  And why is it that only 57% of Canadian women routinely have an orgasm during sex (source: Chatelaine Sex Survey)?  Could it be that for some reason, women are still reluctant to tell their partners what they want?  Is it possible that old stereotypes still rule?

When I was growing up, it was cool for the guys to talk about sex and their “sexual conquests”.  Guys went out to the bar with the explicit goal of “gettin’ some” by the end of the night.  In contrast, if the girls talked about it, we were labeled as sluts or promiscuous.     And if we were the “one night” stand at  the bar we were certainly “not the marrying type”.

Ladies, it’s time to throw those old stereotypes out the window and take control of your sex lives!  If you’re in a relationship, it’s ok to talk about sex.  Men are not mind readers.  Start talking about sex with your partner, not the gals at the sex toy party (who can’t do a damn thing about it).  If your partner is like 93% of Canadian men, then he wants to know and he wants you to feel pleasure.

But alas, talking about sex is a sensitive subject that needs to be explored with decorum and panache.   Becoming sexually empowered does not mean storming in and venting about all the things “he did wrong” in the sack.  You need to “wipe the slate clean” and get ready to embark on a sexual adventure.  You’ll have far better results focusing on the positive…tell your man what really turns you on…right down to the very last naughty detail.

Be vocal in bed.  If you like what he’s doing, make sexy sounds or whisper in his ear “how good it feels”.  And if he still doesn’t quite “hit the spot” then show him.  And if you can’t show him because don’t know what works for you, then you need to engage in a little self self pleasure…Oh yes ladies…I said it…the dreaded “M” word!  Because if you don’t know what turns you on, how is he supposed to figure it out!  If you’ve done enough self exploration, you’ll have no problem communicating your desires.

And men, you’re not completely absolved of responsibility here…to take things to the next level, you need to clean the slate too.  Throw the ego out the window and get ready for a wild ride.  It’s possible that your partner has been harboring a few sexy fantasies that might just surprise you.  To keep things moving in the right direction, you need to be open minded and non-defensive.  Contrary to popular belief, we don’t expect you to know everything about sex.  We just need to know you’re listening.  Top that off with sexy words of encouragement and a few compliments (to help us get over our “body image” hang-ups) , and we’ll turn into sex kittens with an insatiable sexual appetite…and before you know it, your sex life will be topping the charts.

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