Listen to “215: The Wonderful World of Sex Toys – Searah Deysach” on Spreaker.
The World of Sex Toys
Sex educator, Searah Deysach, takes us to the fun and playful world of sex toys. Founder and owner of Early to Bed, Chicago’s first woman-owned sex shop that sells high-quality sex toys, Searah shares her expertise on the different kinds of sex toys and why people use them. For people in a relationship, learn how to talk to your partner about it, how to use it as a couple and how to introduce it to your sexual play. Haven’t tried using a sex toy? Have a listen to know how it could be beneficial and fun!
Why do sex toys exist and why do people seek them out?
On the most basic level, sex items exist to enhance people’s sex lives. To some people, they may have more therapeutic uses, or tools to solve a certain problem. But for a lot of people, sex toys are used to make sex more fun. Interestingly, the word sex toy has gotten a bad rap all of a sudden, so instead, for marketing purposes, people are calling it a “wellness item” instead of a vibrator. Calling them a different name does not really change anything, but if calling it a wellness item gets it into someone’s hand, then it’s great. The more people see it as part of a healthy sex life, the better it is for everybody.
What is a good entry point for people who want to own their first sex toy?
There is still a lot of stigma surrounding these products, but there are a lot of sex toys that are discreet that you can easily take with you. Vibrators are always a good entry point. They are versatile and do not interrupt a person’s sex life. Getting the first toy can be intimidating, so whether you plan to buy in store or online, do not hesitate to ask questions. Making an informed choice before you start gives you the best chance of making the toy work for you.
When in a relationship, how do you bring it up to your partner?
Talking about sex is one of the hardest conversations people have, but it can also be one of the most vital to having good sex. If you want to bring a sex toy in a relationship, do not frame it as a problem solver. If you want more sensation or more orgasm, make it sound more fun as opposed to not having good enough sex with your partner. Finding toys geared towards couples can also be helpful. As with almost anything, communication is key.
Do men find sex toys emasculating?
Men are burdened with the thought that they’re supposed to give their partners pleasure and that using a sex toy is somehow emasculating. It is not emasculating to get help from toys. What’s worse and actually a disservice to partners is having to fake orgasms just to make the partner feel good about themselves. In the end, we are all responsible for our own pleasure, and we enlist our partner with that. Using toys to elevate the experience and make us all happy should be fully embraced.
Searah Deysach is a sex educator and the owner of Early to Bed and FtM Essentials. In addition to running her retail store and websites, she lectures to community groups and colleges around the country on topics relating to masturbation, sex toys and positive sexuality. She is committed to working to create a culture where everyone has access to honest information about sexuality and all folks have access to the services they need to protect their reproductive rights.
Searah is a proud member of Chicago’s LGBTQ+ community and has been featured in numerous outlets including New York Magazine, Cosmopolitan, Washington Post, Shape, Women’s Health, Playgirl, Glamour and many, many more.
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Listen to “209: Right Outside Your Comfort Zone – Court Vox” on Spreaker.
Pleasure beyond your comfort zone
Somatic sex educator and sex coach Court Vox helps his clients to find the ‘sweet spot’ in their sex lives, and life in general. The sweet spot is a place that can be uncomfortable, but also exciting. This episode is all about pushing yourself to the limit, and calibrating the body in order to allow itself to reach the next level of experience.
What is calibration?
Calibration is developing an awareness of touch from the lowest point of sensation all the way to your threshold. It’s finding that sweet spot, also called a yellow place, that can get you to the next level of pleasure. In life, it’s always about going a little bit further than you otherwise would as our lives change.
Is there value from being slightly outside of your comfort zone?
Court elaborates how one can benefit from being in a yellow place, whether in sensation or actual pursuit of something that’s not in the body. Being in a place that’s a bit uncomfortable offers a lot of growth for people. If one is calibrating with a partner, then communication is key, because at the end of the day it’s a very personal approach and all of us will have our own unique yellow spot.
Is calibration better with a partner or solo?
One can do both. Doing it with a partner can be valuable not just from a sensation perspective but from a communication perspective too.
Beyond the Circuit Workshop
Court Vox will hold a 3-day workshop in March 2022 with the intention to create new and alternative spaces for queer men. It is about finding a deeper sense of community not centered around drugs and alcohol and dark spaces. Aptly called Beyond the Circuit, it is a space where queer men can be vulnerable and be in a more intimate space.
Court Vox provides personal guidance and expertise in the unique and often ignored areas of sex. Vox is a trained Sex and Intimacy Consultant, Surrogate Partner Intern and Sacred Intimate. His approach is personal and necessary. As the founder of his own practice, The Body Vox, he brings professional opportunities to his clients and teaches them to embrace their bodies, as well as the bodies of others. Vox is a sex educator who is experienced in working with clients of all sexualities and genders. He continues to collaborate with fellow sex educator Pamela Madsen for workshops around the country.
Resources and links:
Sex Health Quiz – https://www.sexhealthquiz.com
The Course – https://www.thedesirespa.com
The Book – https://www.sexwithoutstress.com
Podcast Website – https://www.intimacywithease.com
Access the Free webinar: How to want more sex without it feeling like a chore: https://intimacywithease.com/masterclass
Listen to “201: Barriers to Female Sexual Pleasure – Kristine D’Angelo” on Spreaker.
Barriers to Female Sexual Pleasure
Certified sex coach Kristine D’Angelo talks about pleasure and feeling empowered when it comes to sex, especially for vagina owners. Conversationally, she tackles the most common barriers for vagina owners in achieving sexual pleasure and the kinds of expectations that they’re up against based on societal standards. The differences and similarities between sex coaches and sex therapist are also discussed so people can make the best choice when seeking help.
What’s the difference between sex coaching and sex therapy?
Sex coaching is very much about behavioral changes and practicing those changes in order to feel confident and more connected to your body in order to achieve pleasure. Sex therapy is forming a strong relationship first, and where sex coaching can be built off of.
Why specialize in coaching women?
Kristine wants to watch women step back into their sexuality and become confident and comfortable and advocate for their pleasure. She has been in a position where she has lost her power during a sexual encounter, and she knows how helpless that can make a person feel.
What are the different pressures that make it even more difficult for vagina owners to achieve sexual fulfillment?
One of the biggest obstacles is constant comparison – from comparing themselves to other vagina owners, to comparing their body to the idol standards of what society thinks is beautiful. This behavior tends to work inwards rather than outwards, where women start to think that there is something wrong with them and that they are below societal standards. Also, women are not explicitly given permission to explore their sexuality in our society as opposed to men.
What would people expect working with you or somebody like you?
Through holistic coaching, different questions are asked, like, “Where do you want your sex life to be six months from now without worrying what could get in the way or what could go wrong?” By describing your ideal sex life, a sex coach would then ask you to do home assignments based on a customized action plan.
Kristine D’Angelo is a Certified Sex Coach who works with women and couples, coaching her clients towards sexual fulfillment. Kristine has worked hard creating a safe and comfortable space for her clients to explore and embrace their sexuality. She’s always exposing herself to learning in depth about human sexuality, relationships, being an ally to the LGBTQ community and volunteering for organizations that promote a sex-positive society.
Kristine holds a degree in Sociology and Community Health and certification through Sex Coach U. She has always been drawn to human interactions and has focused on human sexuality as her main passion in life and path in education. The hard work her clients experience encourages her to change the world through sexually enlightening and empowering people through her sex coaching.
“Watching my clients become sexually empowered is the highlight of my life’s work, I want the world to experience this level of self-awareness.”
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Listen to “196: Bodyfullness – Dr. Rachel Allyn” on Spreaker.
In this episode, Dr. Rachel Allyn, a holistic psychologist, and pleasure expert, walks me through the concept of “bodyfullness.” Sharing some personal experiences, she talks about how embodied mindfulness can help us heal our traumas, reclaim our right to healthy pleasures, and inspire heartfelt human connection.
What is bodyfullness?
Bodyfullness is the ability to use connection and movement and physical awareness, in addition to paying attention to our thoughts and feelings, to really open up to pleasure. It also recognizes the ways that trauma lives in our body but goes to the next step of owning our rights to life’s pleasures and giving ourselves mental permission to enjoy, especially in a world where pleasure has been labelled a dirty word.
How does the practice of bodyfullness tap into our capacity for healing and connection?
Bodyfullness is moving away from the notion that feeling good in our body is bad and should be repressed. In fact, reverence for our body is the portal to opening up to different types of pleasure. When we open up to pleasure just within our own self, we connect more to others, and it helps us to open up to intimacy and relationships, be it sexual or platonic.
How do we overcome some barriers to bodyfullness such as self-acceptance and body image issues?
Dr. Allyn believes that part of the system we’ve been raised in is the epidemic of disembodiment, and that we should start an inner revolution about our bodies. bodyfullness is not just loving our body, but also embracing pain and discomfort especially when we override our body’s messages. We should all take time to listen to the language of the body and put it into balance.
Four essential and overlooked types of pleasure
Dr. Allyn discusses the four types of pleasure, underscoring the need to embrace all of life’s pleasures, because we all deserve to experience every single one. She talks about sensual pleasure, playful and creative pleasure, flow states, and erotic and sexual pleasure. Embracing pleasures does not mean running away from pain. Rather, it helps us tolerate and regulate pain, and keeps us grounded and honest about ourselves in dealing with emotions.
How do people expand their pleasure and how do they share it with others?
Dr. Allyn suggests slowing down and giving the body permission to rest. We need to start with ourselves before moving into engaging with others and bringing in somebody else to share in our pleasures. We need to own our right to pleasures first to effectively share and open up to what others might want for pleasures. Ultimately, it is a process of give and take.
The Pleasure Is All Yours: Reclaim Your Body’s Bliss and Reignite Your Passion for Life
In her book, Dr. Allyn gives light to people feeling stagnant coming out of the pandemic. She hopes that her book can reignite the power of inner connection to our bodies in order to connect to others on a deeper level. The negative feelings that we experience during these trying times are all part of a natural reaction to our collective trauma. Self-compassion, patience and support from others is key.
RACHEL ALLYN, PHD is a licensed clinical psychologist, certified yoga instructor, public speaker, and relationship columnist. She is the founder of YogaPsych, PLLC, a psychotherapy practice for adults that blends Western medicine with Eastern philosophy and connects the mind with the body. She has been in private practice for almost fifteen years working with individuals and couples dealing with sexuality, intimacy, and relationship problems as well as trauma, depression, anxiety, and loss. She’s been quoted in books and magazines including Yoga Journal, Women’s Health, Outside, Good Housekeeping, and Cosmopolitan.
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Listen to “193: Pleasure as a Means of Healing Trauma – Kathy Slaughter” on Spreaker.
Pleasure as a Means to Healing Trauma
Kathy Slaughter introduces an interesting way of integrating pleasure, in both sexual and everyday activities, as a way to heal from trauma. She talks about what trauma does to our body and mind, how to regain the connection between the two, navigate healing in intimate relationships, recognize triggers, and how to trust and feel safe.
Slaughter’s Interest in Healing from Trauma
Kathy’s interest in this field of work stems from her decades of experience working with situations like domestic violence, substance abuse, and gender and sexuality struggles. Evolving from her own experience as well, Kathy embraced the idea of pleasure becoming a step in healing trauma.
Integrating Sexual Pleasure in Trauma Healing & Its Relevance
While it’s harder to incorporate pleasure in the initial stages of trauma survival, it can be experienced through soothing activities, like a hot bath. When you’re in the thriving stage, embracing pleasure can unlock a pool of resources of soothing strategies. Trauma disconnects people from themselves and the process to get the connection back varies for every trauma, but it’s also fundamentally the same and comes out of the need to feel safe and trust.
Role of Physical Pleasure
Kathy identifies behaviors her clients enjoy and reinforces those behaviors in everyday life which couples can transition into the bedroom. Once they start integrating pleasure into their daily life, they learn to be mindful of things around them that bring them pleasure, help with anxiety, pressure release, and sleep.
Partner Pleasure in Healing from Trauma
While healthy relationships can restore your connection with yourself, relationships that have trouble with intimacy through sex can experience pleasure in everyday things like holding hands or cuddling. Kathy suggests trauma survivors take individual or couples therapy to recognize triggers and learn how to not let them get in the way of intimacy.
Fight, Flight, Freeze, Fawn Response & Sharing Responsibility
A partner who tends to respond by fighting can snap in the bedroom when triggered, a partner with a risk of fleeing might respond by pulling away. Someone with a tendency to fawn might be prone to please, while someone whose response is to freeze might dissociate in the bedroom. Kathy suggests looking out for these responses to check in when it shows up.
She believes that the partner initiating the activity has the primary responsibility to look out for triggers, while the other person as an adult has the responsibility to look out for themselves at all times. It’s about balancing, supporting, and being there for each other.
Understanding how abuse happens, how to recover from it, and how communities can prevent abuse and respond to harm in life-affirming ways forms the basis of Kathy’s passion. Grounded in Social Work values and paradigms, Kathy has spent 15 years working on healing trauma and uncovering pleasure, agency, and safety in the consulting room. Currently, she leads a team of five at Soaring Heart Counseling, a sex-positive, queer-affirming, trauma-informed therapy practice in Indianapolis, Indiana.
To connect with pleasure, Kathy enjoys practicing yoga and meditation, dancing, hiking, and planning outdoor adventures with friends at regional Burning Man festivals.
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