Cleaning Sex Toys: Protect Your Investment!

Anti-bacterial Toy Cleanser

This week’s sexy question:

“What kind of cleaner should I be using to clean my sex toys?  I’ve heard different things, and I’m not sure if I’m doing the right thing.”

When it comes to cleaning your toys the best thing you can do is ask them, or more appropriately consult the documentation that came with your toy.  Most toys come with instructions to tell you how to care for them, and this is probably your best reference.

But in the event you don’t still have the packaging or instructions that came with your toys, there are a couple of good general rules to follow.  The first step is to determine what your toy is made of because different materials have different tolerances for cleaners.  Most toys can be cleaned using warm water and a mild antibacterial soap.  This is usually sufficient for cleaning non-porous toys like those made of silicone.  If you are using a rubber toy your best bet is to use condoms on them prior to use, their porous surface can be a breeding ground for bacteria, and sometimes a simple cleansing isn’t enough. [Read more...]

A Refresher on Consent and Safe Sex

Domestic Violence Awareness Purple RibbonOctober is such an important month in the sex-positive community.  Not only do we celebrate LGBT history, we are also urged to be aware of the dangers of domestic violence.  Given that, this seemed like the perfect time for a refresher on sexual consent and the things we can all do to prevent sexual assault in our own lives.

Sexual consent is the cornerstone of the safer sex discussion, this seems pretty simple as the most dangerous sex is the sex that isn’t consented to.  But the biggest problem is that consent not only seems like such an individualized concept, but it is also legally ambiguous.  The Washington State University Sexual Misconduct Prevention & Response Task Force says that consent is actual words or physical conduct indicating freely given agreement to have sexual intercourse or sexual contact.  They continue to say that it is an ongoing process of communication as sex progresses, regardless of who initiates it.

This is a great start, but there are still some components missing from it, consent must also be from the perspective of a clear mind (not to say that one that is inebriated can’t give consent, but rather that we should take it upon ourselves to require a higher threshold of willingness when we are unsure of the state of our partner), and it must be voluntary, not coerced.  And remember, it is incredibly important that the conversation continues after sexual contact has begun, just because you got the green light to start doesn’t mean you don’t have a responsibility to stop if your partner becomes uncomfortable and wants the sexual contact to end. [Read more...]

Which lube to choose?

lubeA reader asks:
It’s a little overwhelming when I go to the store and see all the choices of lube. Which one is the best to use?

Dear reader,

This is one of those really difficult questions to answer because there is so much that goes in to picking the right lube, and most of them are issues of personal preference.  The most important questions things to think about, however, when choosing a personal lubricant are the intended use and potential allergies. Most lubes come in one of three bases, water, oil, and silicone.  Choosing the base of your lube is an important first step before moving on to specific brands, flavors, scents, etc. [Read more...]

The intersection of pro-life and pro-choice

I could certainly see myself identifying as pro-life, but never in the way that the current movement defines itself.  The problem is that life and choice are not at opposing ends of the spectrum, and considering that the debate is about choice, and not about life, I will happily take the moniker of pro-choice.

The weird thing to me is that the “pro-life” movement actually has very little to do with the protection of life, but rather is centered around being invasive and robbing contemporary womyn of their agency, rights and choice.  The way I see it is that this debate has little, if anything, to do with abortion or access to it.  A responsible pro-life advocate would take a harms reduction strategy, because the cold truth is: no matter the legal status of abortion, abortions will happen.  This means that the most responsible strategy would be to make the abortions that will happen safe and affordable, and to create an atmosphere that gives womyn options to decrease the need for abortion.  But that’s not what happens, rather there is a movement that shuns birth control, sex education and open sexual discourse. [Read more...]

Condoms – Maximizing Sensation and Protection

condomsMy boyfriend doesn’t like to use condoms, because he says it decreases his sensation. He and I had unprotected sex and I got an STD. I don’t want to break up with him, because except for the condoms issue, he’s great. What can I do?

Dear Reader,

The most important thing about having sex is that it should be happening on your terms, not someone else’s. There is certainly room for negotiation, but you should never be forced to compromise your values. Given that, the easy answer is that if you want your sex to be safe, which seems to be the smart answer, then don’t have sex with him anymore unless he’s willing to wear protection.

This would also be a good opportunity to explore different kinds of protection in an effort to minimize the impact on sexual sensation. Many companies are releasing thinner condoms that have a create a smaller decrease on sexual sensation. There are also a variety of lubricants designed to increase stimulation. It may take a little experimentation, but finding the right combination of protection that creates an acceptable sexual experience for the two of you.

Also, make sure that your partner understands how important it is to you that he wears protection during intercourse, if your partner isn’t willing to have sex on your terms then don’t have sex at all. [Read more...]