Archive for September 19, 2009

Sex on the brain

Sex. You can’t get away from it. If we’re not doing it, we’re thinking about it. But how do you feel about sex, and are you doing it for the right reasons?

Whether you’re single, seeing someone casually, or in a long-term relationship, it’s likely that sex will come into the equation at some point. But are we really as obsessed with sex as we’re led to believe? BareAll06, an online poll supported by the Department of Health, revealed that seven out of 10 (69%) 16 to 24 year-olds said they waited until they were 16 or over before having sex. Almost a quarter (23%) first had sex at 16, but nearly half (46%) waited until they were older.

“Sex is like oxygen. It’s just a problem if you aren’t getting any,” says Marcus, 21 years-old. Well that may be true for one of our users, but is it really a bad thing if you aren’t getting laid?

Gagging for it

Are you someone who thinks about sex all the time? Perhaps you’re addicted to porn? Or maybe it’s subliminal sexual messages that make you go weak at the knees, like the sight of someone showing off their midriff or the smell of a fragrance. You want to talk about sex all the time and when you’re not talking about it, you fill the conversation with sexual innuendoes.

You may be continuously thinking about when you’re going to get your leg over, or have regular flashbacks from your last sexual encounter. Two weeks without having sex is a long time in your eyes. If you’re in a relationship and you aren’t getting it every time you see your other half, then you worry there’s a problem. If you live with your partner and you aren’t getting it at least three times a week, you fear the honeymoon period is over and that things aren’t as good as they were before.

The right balance

Now we’re not saying that all of those elements are negative – you can drool over as many people as you like and think about sex all the time, if that’s what gets you through the day. And there’s nothing wrong with looking at naughty magazines or films, or having great shag flashbacks. It’s when you become a bit too obsessed and find it taking over your life that there may be a problem.

The great thing about sex is that it really is quality and not quantity that you should be looking for. What’s the point of shagging your other half every time you see them and having marathon-long sessions, only to be completely knackered the next day? Not to mention the sex injuries you may sustain if you end up throwing each other around as if you’re starring in a porn movie. And if you’re partial to a one-night stand, do you really feel good when you go from one person to the next?

Then there’s the useful, yet sometimes complicated, fuck buddy. You may be getting your fill of regular sex, but is your casual arrangement holding you back from embarking on a new relationship? As well as all these highs and lows, you may also be putting yourself at risk of getting a sexually transmitted infection, so however frisky you’re feeling, make sure you protect yourself.

Sexual confidence

Perhaps you’re perfectly happy without sex in your life. You may have already lost your virginity and are waiting for the right person to come along, or you simply haven’t had the urge to lose it in the first place. You wear clothes that are sexy, not necessarily to turn other people on, but to feel sexy on the inside. You don’t let anyone have their wicked way with you, perhaps because you’re scared of getting hurt, or because you believe your body is a temple. It may also be a religious belief that makes you abstain from sex.

Sex is something you think about regularly, and you want to be good at it, but it’s not the be all and end all. For you sex is more about building a trusting and loving relationship than about getting down and dirty. “I feel at my most natural and beautiful when I’m having sex,” says Stephanie, 19 years-old. “I love that when I’m having sex, it completely takes over my brain. I can let go and enjoy it, and all that matters for a while is you and your partner, nothing else, which I think is pretty great.”

Addicted to sex

If you’re thinking about sex all the time, and you’re doing it just to get an instant lift, it may be worth asking yourself if you feel fulfilled in other areas of your life. Sex addiction can be just as serious as any other type of addiction. During sex our bodies release chemicals that make us feel good, but the downside if you’re doing it randomly or just to get a high, is that your body can get used to having sex to achieve this euphoria. This can leave you with feelings of shame, regret and anxiety, especially if you end up having sex just to get the high. If you think you’ve got a problem, you may want to talk to a sex therapist at the British Association of Sexual and Relationship Therapists.

Having sex can make us feel loved, important and powerful, but for Lucy, 19, abstaining from sex can also have the same effect. “Going out, dressing up and feeling that people are attracted to me, but not going all the way or giving them what they want, often makes me feel far more in control, attractive, confident and independent.”

Are you a lustful lothario or a randy rabbit? Do you prefer the thrill of a one-night stand or a sleepy Sunday shag with your long-term love?

Lustful lotharios (one-night stands)

100% lust – there are two categories of one night stand:

  • Drunken
    So much so you probably can’t see each other. Hiding the slight panic that you may have pulled a minger, you both fall on and off the bed as you try and get your pants off and more than likely both fall asleep before it actually happens. Probably the best plan, as brewer’s droop would’ve ruined your fun anyway! On the plus side you probably won’t remember in the morning and therefore will fool yourself that the late-night fumbling was fantastic.
  • The quickie
  • You’ve been after each other for months, that sexual tension has built so high you can no longer contain it and tonight IS the night. Clothes, if you take them off at all, trail from the bus stop to the hallway before the passion erupts. Carpet burns and spontaneous screaming ensues, and wow, it was fantastic, fast but f’n fantastic.
    The pros: Sex with someone new is always a turn on, simple as that. You also don’t have to click on every other level, you don’t have to like each other’s friends or tolerate each other’s relatives.
    The cons: The sex can be terrible – you often don’t give a damn about the other person, sleeping with them to please yourself and only yourself. Being this one-sided and not knowing each other’s bodies, it will be rare to have a mind-blowing shagathon. Lying there with someone you don’t know and don’t really want to know can feel lonely and empty, you don’t get the hugs and they probably couldn’t give a damn what you say in pillow talk.

Randy rabbits/first three months

Passion is still high, at least for the first three months and you’re at it like rabbits anytime, anywhere. No time to eat or sleep, you drive your flatmates mad, have broken the bed, shaken all the plaster off downstairs’ ceiling and only come up for air to ask for bumper sacks of condoms from the nearest family planning clinic.

The pros: Well practice makes perfect and all that jazz, so hopefully the sex will get better and better as you find which buttons to press. This time of discovery can be so much fun, even if it leaves you both walking funny for a while.

The cons: Just beware of carpets; burns can be quite unsightly, no really. Oh, and try not to take the sex for granted – holding out, even if just for a day can make the sex explosive, and avoid that shagged out rut.

Sickeningly smug/ long-term lovers

You know the type, the smug couple. They want to set you up with anyone and everyone just so that you can be as happy as them. They positively glow with an ‘I have sex on tap’ aura. Sickening maybe, but they are on to something – sex with someone you love brings a whole new side to the act. When you are relaxed and trust the other person you can try new things, talk about what you want and what you like and be as kinky as you dare.

The pros: Orgasm is virtually guaranteed for both, as you know what buttons to push and if they’re getting it wrong, tell them. Being all loved-up helps too, it adds a spiritual/ emotional fluffy bit to all the physical stuff. Plus you don’t just have the exhausting energetic sex of singledom, you can have sleepy Sunday shags, giggling gyrations and loved-up lie-ins – more fun all round.

The cons: It can be easy to start off having bad sex, faking it and pretending to have a good time. Once you get into such a rut, sex can be so dull you will avoid it at all costs. Some people do get bored having sex with the same person, others find having sex available on tap can make it less appealing. Also, some people just can’t bring themselves to tell their lover that they are finding the sex crap and they want to try new things.

If you want to make your kiss mean something, get it right first time.

What’s in a French kiss?

kiss-200-x-150A kiss can be all things to all people. The way the Pope puckers up for the tarmac is a world away from the kind of sensual snog that makes your toes curl and blood pressure soar. French kissing, as the latter is often called, is a bit of a misleading term, because it wasn’t like our Gallic neighbours invented the technique and you don’t need to be fluent in French to qualify. Whether it comes naturally, or with a little practice, a French kiss can say more about your feelings than a volume of love poetry. Things might have been less confusing had it been called Tongue Kissing, but then where’s the romance and the passion in that?

Stage two: Approach

So you’re up for a full-on kiss, but how can you be sure they will return the gesture and not freeze up or pull away? Start your move with some eye contact, glance at their mouth and back again, and see how they respond. If they stop blinking, and remind you of impending roadkill, it may be a good idea to back off, but if they mimic your gesture then crack on to the next stage.

Stage three: Docking

OK, your mouths need to be open during a French kiss, so your tongues can connect, but don’t take this too literally, and steam in like a beached fish gasping for air. The urgent bit kicks in later, once your lips have brushed together and it’s clear your other half wants to take things further. (Just read their lips, because if they seem content to keep the kiss at this stage then don’t be tempted to take it any further).

Stage four: Exchange of gifts

Think of your tongue as an explorer in unknown territory. Now, you wouldn’t just strut in and hope for the best, would you? No, you’d take it step-by-step, advancing ever so slowly, testing your surroundings and marvelling at the new sensations it brings. As for the native tongue you discover with your own, try to reflect they way it behaves towards you. If you find it hiding at the back, then you’ve probably overstepped the mark, but if it meets you half way, and wants to play, then simply follow your instinct and desires.

Stage five: Oxygen supply

People often stress out about how to breathe during a passionate kiss, and the simple answer is through your nose. With practice, you’ll find it’s possible to inhale and exhale through your mouth by taking advantage of any breaks, and in some ways that’s the key to good kissing. It isn’t an endurance event, after all, and if you finish before you’ve exhausted the moment then you can be sure they’ll soon come back for more.

Cute display of affection or possessive tag? You decide.

What is it?

love_bites_200x150A love bite is basically a bruise, caused by bleeding under the skin as a result of your partner’s limpet-like sucking on your neck. This temporary discoloration, technically called a hyperpigmentation, results from blood being drawn out of vessels under your skin.

Why do it?

Some people just can’t stop themselves… Those possessive types may use love bites as a mark of possession to show everyone else you are taken. If they can’t trust you to tell people yourself, are they worth it?

For others it is a show of affection, and the receivers are quite happy to show off to their mates that they are getting some. However this usually stops at 13 and so if your mates are still flaunting them you may suspect that the hoover did it. Just a thought.

When to stop

If you do have vampire tendencies you should be able to understand the word NO from your partner. Don’t make him/her think that you’re orally fixated, or that you didn’t eat enough for dinner. Leave their flesh intact.

Best option is to tell your partner you don’t like them – it saves all the hassle really.

Cover up

To reduce the swelling apply a cold compress (like an ice cube wrapped in kitchen towel). This serves to make the broken blood vessels contract, but for best results it needs to be done immediately after the damage has been done.

If a few hours have passed try rubbing arnica on the affected area to soothe the skin. Applying a little make up will also help keep the truth covered up, as will a scarf or hiding in your room till the bruising fades.

Your suggested cures

One tried and tested method appears to be toothpaste. Toothpaste is really good. It’s coming from experience. It does help! And of course you can always pinch some concealer or powder  to stop trying to get rid of them. Still, the best option is to tell your partner you don’t like them – it saves all the hassle really.

And, of course, polo necks… but not in the Summer..Buy a selection of polo neck jumpers to cover it up- then again that might work in Winter but not during a heatwave.

Swot up on what it is, where it is, and – most importantly – what to do when you find it. A guide for guys – and girls.

What is it?

The female clitoris is that highly sensitive, and much sought after erectile sex organ. Like the penis, the clitoris is packed with nerve endings and serves as the focus of stimulation for women, often resulting in orgasm.

Where is it

Located at the top of the vaginal lips, and surrounded by the folds of the labia, the clitoris is that small, pea-shaped bump – though size and shape may vary. A fleshy hood protects the clitoris, and this retracts when the woman is sexually aroused.

How does it work?

What you can feel (whether it’s yours or your partner’s) is effectively the head of the clitoris. This connects to a system of erectile tissue that has a big influence on the female genitals. When sexually aroused, it fills with blood and becomes much more sensitive – in a similar way to the male penis.

How should I handle it?

The clitoris is very sensitive. It can respond to being touched, rubbed, licked, sucked, or through pressure from a vibrator or penis during intercourse. For some women, it can be so sensitive that direct stimulation is just too painful. We’re all turned on in different ways, after all, so if you’re unsure what floats her boat then ask! If you’re comfortable with your partner, and feel able to discuss such an intimate subject, she can only respect you for finding out how she likes to be handled. With help, respect and experience, you’ll soon find your way.

What do you do when sex is over? Cuddle up together or roll over and go to sleep? If you know that you need to brush up on your post sex etiquette, read on.

The ‘silence of the lads’ can leave many women feeling understandably insecure. After sharing such an intimate experience, it’s only natural that you want to maintain that closeness through talking, kissing and cuddling. So why do so many guys hit orgasm and then a) roll over b) feign death c) smoke a cigarette or d) order pizza?

One reason why

One explanation lies with the biological changes that a guy goes through after orgasm. Unlike you, he cools off very quickly. His arousal level drops sharply and his heart rate takes a tumble. This is known as the refractory period, something women don’t go through in the same way, because women are sometimes able to experience multiple orgasms with very little time to recover in between.

68% of you who responded to our Saucy Survey said manners shouldn’t be forgotten in the bedroom while 32% think it’s fine to let everything out.

So that accounts for his dramatic switch from stud to slug, but there’s no excuse for being thoughtless. If you’re feeling a little shut out then you need to let him know, and find a way to connect after sex that’s rewarding for you both.

Easing the situation

Just don’t raise the subject seconds after he’s hit the spot and then the pillow. Talk about it when you’re not in bed, at a time when he can discuss the issue without feeling guilty or embarrassed.

Shake up your routine if possible, and avoid only having sex last thing at night. Set your alarm clock a few minutes earlier, and see if this makes a difference.

Sex always looks mind-blowing in the movies, but does it really matter if your bedroom reality is totally different?

If, like many people, you got most of your sex education from porn sites or the cinema, you might be wondering why your real love life doesn’t match up.

But don’t start feeling bitterly disappointed, or tell your partner that they’re rubbish because they don’t know how to ‘do it’ properly. To put it bluntly, you might be having a problem telling the difference between red light and real life.

Porn v reality

Let’s start with the storylines for fictional sex. Porn movies are happy to show you horny housewives dragging any old plumber, milkman or pizza delivery boy straight in off the doorstep for a mind-blowing shag. In everyday life, women just don’t do stuff like that, in case the complete stranger is some dangerous psycho or (more likely) plug-ugly, pimply, and inexperienced.

Bodies are another thing. Your average male has a lardy catering-pack rather than a six-pack on his belly, and doesn’t tend to be covered in fake tan and baby oil when he whips his kit off. Real women tend to be OK about this. And as for those fourteen inch erections, let me whisper this, some of them are fakes so don’t worry too much guys. Oh, and a woman’s nipples are not supposed to point directly upwards at the ceiling like missiles if she’s lying on her back. Naturally curvy females have cellulite too, and it isn’t some rare disease.

Cinema sex is always so nicely choreographed. Never any embarrassing fumbling, tripping over half-removed knickers, squelching noises, knobs slipping out unexpectedly, fits of giggles, or fanny farts. Or people saying: “Oops! Sorry!” or: “Up a bit, left a bit”. The script just goes off into this ‘perfect’ sequence, with telepathic partners who both know exactly what to do, and when to do it. In reality, if you don’t communicate, your love life tends to go down the pan very fast.

Pass the sick-bucket

Safer sex? Even asking if she’s on the pill? Nope, they just get straight down to getting jiggy. Mr Porn Star can bang away for hours at a time, and Ms Porn Star reaches a climax after zero foreplay and a mere sixty seconds of pushing and shoving, and she screams a lot. Not bad for two people who only met for the first time five minutes earlier.

Romantic movies are even worse, and always seem to show the beautiful couple having simultaneous orgasms, gazing tenderly into each other’s eyes. Aaah, how sweet. Pass the bucket. When it comes to love and sex this situation is as rare as rocking horse poo, but who hasn’t worried about their timing being less than perfect?

So don’t worry if the fact doesn’t match up to the glossy fantasy. Relax, write your own script.

Sex-with-a-new-partnerYou’ve met the person of your dreams and everything’s going great. Now all you want is some fireworks between the sheets.

You’ve been out on a few dates, you’ve really clicked – maybe you’re even starting to fall in love. And tonight’s probably ‘the night’ as they’re staying over. You want everything to be perfect and you want to make the right impression. Aaaargghhh! Stress!!

Chill out

Calm down now. Performance anxiety isn’t pretty, and it takes all the fun out of sex. In fact, too much anxiety might end up meaning there’s no performance at all, if you get the drift.

Take it easy, and lower your expectations. First-time sex with a new partner is more about exploring each other’s bodies and getting to know them better, rather than putting on a show and trying too hard to impress.

Take your time

What worked brilliantly with a previous sexual partner may not work now, but that’s no reflection on your prowess as a lover. Different people respond to different things, and finding out what can be half of the fun. Nerves can get in the way too, and sometimes it takes a while before someone can get naked and relax. If either of you are feeling too stressed, just take the pressure off; you don’t need to have sex there and then. Wait until you’re both sure that you’re ready.

If you’ve decided to go back to yours, and sex is on the cards, then a little preparation goes a long way. Make them feel special and comfortable. Tidy up a bit, have something good in the fridge for breakfast, and stock up on their favourite drink. Oh, and make sure you’ve got enough condoms, because running down to the late night garage with a hard-on or a hitched-up skirt is not a good look, and it kind of breaks up the mood.

If you’re going back to their place, be a good guest. Don’t make an automatic assumption that they want to have sex with you, and take your own condoms as well, just in case. You’ll get extra points for turning up on time, looking and smelling good. Let them know you’re having a good time and like their company.

Have a laugh

It’s only perfect in the movies. Nobody’s psychic. You have to tell one another what you like and want, and if you’re not enjoying something then don’t be scared to ask for something different instead. If you are pulling out all of the stops to please your new partner, make sure they make an effort to do something pleasurable for you too – there should be some give and take.

Keep a sense of humour at all times, and if you fall out of bed or get cramp in your toes then laugh it off instead of getting embarrassed or worried. Even if you cringe at the time, it could be something you both look back on later with a warm fuzzy glow. “Remember the time when we. . .?”