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A few weeks ago we wrote an article about everything to do with the G-Spot and squirting. You guys loved it! So, we thought it might be time to actually do some groundwork and review some G-Spot toys that will help you get on your way. First up is the Lovehoney Power Play G-Spot Vibrator review.

So I just want to start with the fact I was amazingly impressed with this toy. Its pros far outweigh the cons but as ever, I will speak about both.

Price

This toy is at such a great price point. It’s €29.95 on Lovehoney. In my opinion that’s an extremely affordable toy however it still lives up to my expectations in terms of quality.

Packaging

The packaging for this toy, as with any Lovehoney own brand toys, is light and quite discreet. It’s not bulky so I found it useful to keep as a storage option for my toy.

Features and Design

Ok, so now we can get into the fun stuff. A lot of thought went into the design of this toy and I have to say, the creators did a great job. The shape is honestly just PERFECT for reaching the g-spot, it’s actually more curved than I thought it would be and more curved than other g-spot toys I’ve used in the past. It’s got a silicone body with a hard plastic interior which means it’s not flexible. I didn’t find the lack of flexibility to be an issue but it can be a little restrictive. No 2 bodies are the same after all.

It’s Latex-Free and Phthalate-Free and it’s submergible in water – all positives! It has 3 vibration speeds and 4 vibration patterns which is great but not any more features than many other vibration toys have.

The only downside I will mention is that it is a battery-powered toy. Now, this is completely personal but I really dislike battery-powered toys. I’d rather just plug in and charge up rather than have to go out and buy a set of batteries that you’ll eventually have to discard anyway. For some reason, I never seem to have the right size batteries in my house either! I’d rather spend the extra little bit initially to have the toy a rechargeable one. But, that’s just me!

The Standout Feature

By far the best part of this toy is the shape. It’s super curved which makes it easy to reach the right spots but it also has a bulbous tip with a circumference of 4 inches. The body of the toy is not super girthy but in my opinion, that’s ideal as it allows you to focus the vibrations on the right area. It’s also got a narrower body which means it’s actually super easy to get inside for those who might find insertion uncomfortable. Its insertable length is about 5 inches, just the right amount to reach the G-Spot. The affordable price of less than €30 is also a standout for me!

Final Thoughts for the Power Play G-Spot Vibrator review

This toy is honestly an all-rounder. It’s great for a beginner who wants to get started on G-Spot play but will also be enjoyed by someone who has a bit more experience. The price point is great for what it delivers and the issue I had with the batteries was all forgotten once I got the right ones and started using the toy. Would I recommend this toy to a friend – most definitely! When I got the Lovehoney Power Play G-Spot Vibrator to review I was unsure but it’s been wonderful for exploring G-Spot sensations!

 

Womanizer x Lovehoney PRO40 Review

Quicklinks:

I’m going to be completely honest, it took me a long time to buy into the idea of a suction toy. I just love the sensation a vibrating toy brings that I was sceptical of what else suction could bring to the table.

Last year I finally took the plunge and ventured away from what I have always been used to. I ordered the Womanizer Starlet – Womanizers entry-level toy. The sensation it gave was like nothing I had felt before and I was hooked on the idea of suction, but the toy left a lot to be desired (more on that later). So, when I was given the opportunity to review the Womanizer x Lovehoney PRO40 I couldn’t contain my excitement. So, let’s get into what my thoughts were…

Packaging

I got this toy from Lovehoney and they always hit the nail on the head when it comes to packaging. No mention anywhere on the box that there is a sex toy inside and never any mention of Lovehoney on the address, perfectly discreet. The packaging for the toy is simple and practical too. When you slide open the box your toy is sitting right in there and the charger and manual are tucked in the back.

Design

So how does the Womanizer actually work?

I’ve done a bit of suction technology research and have found that Womanizer were the innovators, they know what they’re doing. Womanizer’s PleasureAir Technology uses pulsating and massaging changes in air pressure to stimulate the clitoris.

You place the soft, silicone cup over your clitoris and turn the Womanizer x Lovehoney Pro40 on, a vacuum is created. Your clitoris sits snugly in the cup stimulated by a suction, rumbling sensation that’s a lot less direct than a traditional vibrator. The more air-tight this vacuum is, the more intense the stimulation.

The toy has 3 buttons. The power button and (+) and (-) to control the 6 levels of intensity. Yes, you read that right – this has 6 intensity levels!!

The Womanizer x Lovehoney PRO40 is a charging toy (yay! No searching for batteries at the very last minute) and a full charge takes 3 hours. Each charge lasts 240 minutes (trust me, more than enough time for multiple uses).

The toy is also fully waterproof (when it’s not plugged in) so it can be used in the bath or shower, which are both great for increasing the suction potential!

Material

The Womanizer X Lovehoney Pro40 is completely allergen and body-safe. The body of the toy is made from ABS plastic, and the stimulation head is made from super soft silicone. The toy unfortunately doesn’t come with its own storage bag. I’d recommend storing it in one of your own in between uses.

Cleaning

To clean your toy, remove the silicone head and clean it with warm, soapy water or a toy cleaner. You can wash the non-removable head of your toy by turning it on in hot water and letting it run for a minute. Let the toy fully dry out before putting the silicone head back on.

How to use the Womanizer x Lovehoney PRO40

When I started using suction toys I didn’t even know where to start. I’m not going to pretend that you pick up a toy like this and immediately know how to use it. I had to read the manual, play around and go through 1 or 2 trial runs before I got the knack. When using this toy for the first time make sure that you have plenty of time with no distractions and lots of lube to help with the suction.

When you’re ready, place the cup on your clitoris and turn it onto the lowest setting. The more lube, the easier you’ll be able to get suction. Once you feel like you have it in place increase the sensation and let the toy do the rest. Once you get used to it you’ll be reaching climax in under a minute.

My experience & Final thoughts

The only other suction toy I have used is the Womaniser Starlet. So I’m used to a similar sensation as the Starlet features the same PleasureAir Technology. However, the Starlet only features 4 intensity levels. While most of the time 4 levels is fine – every now and then I like to venture into the higher intensity levels of the PRO40.

I also found the head on the Womanizer x Lovehoney PRO40 to be smaller and more focused than that of the Starlet. The more focused head I found to give better orgasms.

The body

The biggest difference between the 2 is the body. The starlet is petite and so is a more discreet toy however I don’t find it comfortable to hold at all. I find it hard to grip and the proportions are too short and wide. The Womanizer x Lovehoney PRO40 feels wonderful in your hand. You can tell more thought has gone into the experience as a whole. Even where the buttons are placed on the PRO40 makes it so much easier to go between levels while using. It’s overall a much more enjoyable experience. The devil really is in the detail.

The Suction

As for my thoughts on the suction technology. Let’s just say, I’m a convert. It may have taken a few uses for me to really get a full understanding of the potential of suction toys. But I will fully admit now that they’re what I always reach for. There’s something about the sucking, rumbling, super intense feeling that doesn’t quite compare to anything else.

I paid just under €70 for the Starlet. If I had have known then what I know now I would have skipped the entry-level version and gone straight for the Womanizer x Lovehoney PRO40. The PRO40 retails at €99.95 and for the increased levels and the nicer body, I think it’s worth every penny.

It’s now my favourite masturbation toy!

I hope you enjoyed my first review of the Womanizer x Lovehoney PRO40. There are plenty more to come.

Desire and Arousal

Let me briefly break down these two terms. I’ve already covered the basics of sexual motivation and desire. In the simplest of terms, desire is the experience of wanting to engage in sex. Arousal encompasses the physical and psychological events that happen. Sexual response is a collective term for both of these.

What is a model?

A scientific model is not an exact description of reality, it’s a representation created to help us understand complex ideas and processes (like sexual response). I’m going to talk about one popular model, but there are many more!

The Dual Control Model

In the last two decades since it was created, Dr. John Bancroft and Dr. Erick Janssen’s Dual Control Model of sexual response has been used in scientific research, education and even mainstream media (you may have even heard of it already!).

The easiest way to understand the systems of the Dual Control Model is by using the metaphor of the ‘accelerator’ and ‘brake’. The accelerator is ‘sexual excitation’ (what turns you on) and the brake is ‘sexual inhibition’ (what turns you off).

So how does this model help us understand sexual response?

We all vary greatly in terms of how strong our accelerators and brake are, and what hits each one is very different for everyone. There are so many combinations! Figuring out how sensitive each of your ‘pedals’ are and what internal and external things hit each one is very helpful.

It’s also useful to remember that, just like in a car, the brake serves a purpose. Never taking your foot off the accelerator is not a safe way to drive!

Here are some scenarios where sexual inhibition is necessary:

  • the situation could harm you physically, emotionally or socially
  • there is an external distraction that interrupts you
  • you have a more pressing need to take care of

The Dual Control Model doesn’t describe what’s going on physiologically or psychologically during sexual response. However, it’s a great tool for understanding what factors inflence our internal processes.

Practical Advice

I love that this model provides a simple framework to list what excites you sexually and what inhibits or stops your sexual response. Making these lists can help you figure out what you can do in the future to maximise pleasure!

Here are some questions to ask yourself while thinking of times you felt turned on/off in the past…

  • Where were you?
  • What were you doing?
  • Who were you with?
  • Were there sounds, smells, images, tastes, sensations involved?

Be as specific or abstract as you want!

I’ve drawn up a template that you can save and fill in using the questions above as prompts. If you feel like sharing your lists with us, we’d love to see them! You can send them to us on Instagram.

 

 

Squirting. For many, it can seem like a mystical, made-up thing that is only found in porn and the thought that they might be able to learn how to squirt is bonkers. For others, it’s their orgasm reality. It’s something that even the scientific community have found it difficult to agree on and, (as are so many aspects of the female body) it is hugely under-researched. 

So, what is squirting?

One thing’s for sure, it’s not pee. It does, however, seem to be a sometimes-product of arousal. While the enigmatic elixir in question does come from the urethra, it is created in the Skene’s gland, which is said to be the female equivalent to the prostate. Analysis has shown that the fluid contains prostatic acid phosphatase (PSA), an enzyme present in male semen that helps with sperm motility. It also tends to contain fructose, again, just as male semen does.

The Skene’s gland is believed to be connected to the ever-elusive ‘g-spot’ and the general consensus seems to be that the key to squirting is a focus on g-spot stimulation.  However, some more in-depth research suggests that it’s best to focus on the entire ‘clitourethrovaginal’ complex (the clitoris, labia, and the front wall of the vagina where the g-spot is located). In other words; the best way to give pleasure is to first realise that it’s all connected. 

If it’s so natural, why is squirting seen as something so taboo?

This really comes down to 2 things, lack of education and lack of research. In 2014 the British Board of Film Classification banned face-sitting and female ejaculation in UK produced porn. It actually stuck because it was among a list of acts deemed too obscene or dangerous. Apparently, female ejaculation can’t be distinguished from pee and is too offensive for porn. The politics of bodily fluids draws the following conclusions: a) men’s pleasure is the main event, and b) women’s pleasure is questionable/indecent/gross.

To complicate things further, the fetishisation of squirting in certain circles has led some people to feel that squirting as depicted in mainstream porn (which often actually IS pee) is expected of them.

What happens when people squirt?

For years, the scientific community believed that women who ejaculated were experiencing incontinence, but this has since been disproved. A 2014 study of 7 women found that the fluid produced by the Skene’s gland builds up in the bladder during arousal and exits via the urethra during ejaculation. The findings of the study? All participants started with an empty bladder which promptly began filling up during arousal. Post-ejaculation scans revealed participants’ bladders were once again empty.

Can everyone squirt?

A study of 233 women concluded that 14% of participants reported ejaculation with all or most orgasms, while 54% said that they had experienced it at least once in their life. When researchers compared urine samples from before and after orgasm, they found more PSA in the latter, leading to conclusions that all females produce ejaculate but are not always aware of it. 

The research so far suggests that many women can and have squirted and it may even be possible for the majority to do the same. That said, we always caution against putting pressure on yourself or on your partner to perform any other sexual act, because it will only ever happen if all parties are relaxed.

It’s also important to remember to avoid putting squirting on a pedestal. There is absolutely no evidence that an orgasm with squirting is any more pleasurable than a regular old orgasm. There is no orgasm hierarchy, pleasure is pleasure and you’re not a better lover because you know how to make your partner squirt!

That being said…

So, how do I squirt (or make someone else squirt)

Here at JOI, we are firm believers that you should first learn about your own body before you explore someone else or ask someone else do it to you. The following instructions are great for a solo sesh or to show to your partner!

Prepare your surroundings

1) Get rid of distractions and interruptions. Make sure you won’t be disturbed for at least a couple of hours. You always want to allow yourself plenty of time so there’s no stress of someone walking in. 

2) Opt for lamplight or candles—anything to create an environment that encourages relaxation. 

3) You might light some incense or use a diffuser to tinge the air with your favourite essential oil.

4) To save yourself post-orgasm you would probably do well to waterproof the area by laying out several towels.

Time to locate that g-spot

The ‘g-spot’ is inside the vagina—on the upper vaginal wall (towards the stomach)—0.5 to 2 inches from the opening. It is the only surface inside the vagina that isn’t smooth-feeling. It’s a little rough, in fact, it’s been likened to the skin of an orange. It’s important to take things slow, don’t jump right to it. Take your time and explore.

Our ‘how-to squirt’ recommendations:

1) Take your time

2) Use lots of lube

3) Stimulate the g-spot with your fingers or using an internal vibrator. G-spot vibrators are designed with the perfect angle to reach the g-spot. 

4) Gentle stimulation of the clit may help. Do stay on the gentle side as too much stimulation might make you reach orgasm before you’re ready to squirt.

5) Because female ejaculate comes out of the urethra, it may feel like needing to pee. Although not an exact science, this is actually a sign that you may be getting closer.

6) Some people only ejaculate when their g-spot is stimulated. Others only do it without penetration (so with clitoral and vulval stimulation). This is likely because it’s all one connected part. And—make no mistake, we all have different pathways to pleasure.

7) Experiment with different positions – If you’re using a vibrator or dildo, cowgirl position allows you to have total control over your movements. Or doggy style so it’s easier apply pressure on the frontal vagina wall.

Bottom line: In case you’ve been led to believe otherwise, there is no right or wrong way to have an orgasm. You  can soak the bed or experience pleasure without orgasming at all. Anyone who casts judgment on your pleasure should be swiftly cast aside.

What is libido?

Libido can seem like a mystical force. Sometimes it visits at the wrong time and overstays its welcome, or it’s nowhere to be found when we could really use it. If you’ve ever found yourself frustrated with your libido, you’re not alone!

Research on sexual motivation is still progressing, but there are some takeaways from existing research that can help you demystify your libido.

Does sex drive exist?

Most sex researchers agree that sex is not a ‘drive’, it’s a motivational system. The difference is that intrinsic drives are fuelled by lack of something (food, sleep, social connection), but sexual motivation is fuelled by an attractive reward. Sex can be great, but we don’t need it to survive!
(Note: sometimes we’ll still use the term ‘sex drive’ when talking about libido, but we don’t mean it literally!)

How does libido work?

Sexual desire is usually triggered by something in your environment that reminds you of sex, but can also be triggered by thoughts or imagination. Sometimes it can come seemingly out of nowhere, which could be a good or bad thing depending on where you are at the time!

The link between sexual desire and physical response is not always straightforward (see below), but usually one results in the other, and they continue in a ‘positive feedback loop’ (both cause an increase in each other). This exists alongside another positive feedback loop, which happens between an attractive incentive and arousal. Arousal increases how attractive something is to us, which increases our arousal!

Here’s an example of these loops at work; you’re watching a partner undress, your body responds, their body becomes more attractive, your desire increases, your body responds more… and so on!

My body says yes, but my mind says no (or vice versa)

Sexual motivation usually results in physical arousal, but that’s not always the case. You can feel sexual desire without becoming physically aroused or vice versa. This can be frustrating or confusing, and it’s important to recognise that it isn’t abnormal. Sometimes it takes more time for your body to catch up with your mind, or the other way around.

It’s also normal to feel like you want something and then realise you’re not enjoying it. Wanting and liking don’t always go together with sex. Take your time and be kind to yourself. Always practice consent and good communication with yourself and others. Instead of getting frustrated with your libido, practice being patient with yourself!

Stress and mood

Your mood can directly or indirectly influence your libido. The effect is different for everyone, but it’s good to think about how you’re feeling if your libido isn’t working how it usually does. For some people, stress and low mood can actually increase sexual motivation. Some individuals also use sex to cope with short term stress. Long-term stress or low mood usually reduces libido.

Some medications can also have an effect on libido, for example, birth control or SSRIs.

Am I normal?

Yes! It’s normal for libidos to fluctuate, weekly, monthly and over the course of a lifetime. It’s also normal to feel a little bewildered with your sex drive sometimes. Everyone gets frustrated with their libido at some point in their lifetime. If you are happy with your sexual appetite right now, then there’s nothing to worry about. If you’re worried about how much sex you should be having, the answer is usually as much or as little as you want to! Click here for more on how much sex you should be having. 

 

What a year it’s been. While there have certainly been lows, we wanted to put together a list of the toys, products, podcasts and books that contributed to our highs (or climaxes). Here are our best sex products for 2020.

Quick Links

Here are our absolute favourite items that will definitely be coming with us into 2021:

The Best Sex Toys

Womanizer Starlet

womanizer starlet - Best Sex Products 2020The smallest and most straightforward in Womanizer’s range. It’s a great option if you’re new to suction toys. The toy itself is reliable with a unique sensation (that can take a bit of getting used to) but is surprisingly powerful! Once you begin using a Womanizer, you might find it hard to turn back.

Lovehoney Marbled

lovehoney marbled - Best Sex Products 2020

This glass dildo is sSimple, small and super pretty. The slightly waved shaft means it offers a unique massage, we think it’s a great first insertion toy. Plus, it doubles as a coffee table ornament!

WeVibe Tangowe vibe tango

The amazing product that featured in our very first giveaway, and for good reason. This vibrator never fails us, is easy to use and very powerful! This clit vibe is USB rechargeable (so no batteries running out and ruining your fun), waterproof and is small and sculpted into a lipstick shape so is super discreet.

BASICS Anal Beads

These are perfect for people who are starting out exploring anal pleasure. The beads start small in size and grow to just 3 inches wide, an introduction to anal play for beginners. Remember to use lube!

The Best Sex Products

YES Oil-Based Organic LubeYES Lube - Best Sex Products 2020

Does your skin react to everything you put on it? Then this is the solution for you. The skin around your genitalia is extremely thin and can react to products which is why it’s important we’re careful what we allow near it. We have tested SO many lubes and we can say firmly, this oil-based, organic lube is the one for sensitive skin.

Lovehoney Fresh Wipeslovehoney wipes

We can’t emphasise enough the importance of cleaning your toys. But we know how hard it can be to do it while you’re still basking in the post-orgasm glow. So these wipes are perfect for when you don’t have the energy to wash your toys in the bathroom sink but still want to be hygienic!

The Best Podcasts

Glow West

 

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Hosted by @drcarolinewest this podcast is a must-listen. Caroline knows her stuff and always has the best guests on. The podcast covers general sex-ed as well as topical issues such as revenge porn ( we recommend you listen to the episode 24 where they spoke to @meganjrenee and Susan Walsh from @shc_cork about revenge porn)!

Sluts and Scholars

 

Even just from the name of this one you just KNOW it’s going to be great. Hosted by the sexologist @msheidegger this podcasts covers everything from kinks to body image to shame. A must listen.

Hot Brain

 

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Hot Brain is hosted by @thongria (CEO of @shopspectrumboutique and self-proclaimed Dildo Dutchess) and her partner @ronecstasy. They talk everything from what it’s like to be an OnlyFans creator to Naked Yoga. It’s a fun listen!

The Best Books

Women Don’t Owe You Pretty  (Florence Given)Women Don't Owe You Pretty  (Florence Given)

Women Don’t Owe You Pretty is a fantastic book for anyone who wants to challenge out-dated narratives around gender and the roles surrounding them. It talks about the importance of protecting your energy and finding that you are the love of your own life. Florence Given reminds us that you owe other people nothing, least of all pretty. A great read and one we’ll come back to again and again when we need those little reminders.

Sex Ed – A Guide for Adults (Ruby Rare)sex ed a guide for adults

Another product that was featured in our launch giveaway. It’s without a doubt the most aesthetically pleasing sex-ed book we’ve ever read (perhaps you’ll find it on our coffee table alongside the Lovehoney Marbled) and that’s thanks to the wonderful illustrations by Sofie Birkin. This sex-ed is an easy read, pleasure focussed and covers absolutely everything. We’ll be passing this one on to our kids.

So that completes our list of the Best Sex Products 2020. What do you think? Would you include anything else on your list? Maybe 2021 will be the year you explore some more sex products with your partner, but first, learn how to be honest with them about what you want.

Am I having enough sex?

It’s a question everyone asks themselves at some point in their lives. Should I be having sex in my relationship once a week, three times per week, once a month, every single day? How much is enough?

Being physically intimate is very often an integral part of relationship satisfaction. It helps you feel close to your partner, builds connection, and can assist in maintaining long-term romantic relationships. But, let’s get real here, sex isn’t the be-all and end-all of a healthy relationship.

We’ve all spent time comparing our relationships to those we see around us. So really, is there ever such thing as enough sex? Or are we just setting ourselves impossible standards in our relationships?

So, let’s dive into it…

What feels good for you?

Everyone’s sex drive is different. Not only that, but our sex drives evolve as we go through different phases in our lives. As long as no one in the relationship is feeling either pressured or underwhelmed then there’s nothing to worry about. For one couple, sex every single day might be standard. For others, sex once a week maybe a good run that month! Other couples may prefer to have sex every few weeks. What matters is what works for you.

This brings about the question:

What do I do if I want more sex than my partner?

Your sex life, and what that entails, must be a decision made together with those that are involved in it. A healthy relationship isn’t built upon one person laying down the rules. Everyone’s needs and the needs of the relationship as a whole should be considered. There should be communication, understanding and compromise.

Discuss with your partner(s) what you want, hear what they want and see if you can meet somewhere in the middle.

Quality or quantity?

If you’re sexually active, then good sex is better than frequent sex, isn’t it? The quality of the sex you’re having is so much more important than the quantity. Would you rather have sex three times a day with no pleasure, or mind-blowing sex once a month?

Instead of holding yourselves to unrealistic, boring numbers game, think about the pleasure you want in your relationship rather than just the getting it in and moving on with your day. Why not suggest to your partner that you try some mutual masturbation? Or possibly introduce some toy play to bring your sexual encounters to the next level.

Sexual wellness is completely subjective

There is no one size fits all approach when it comes to sexual wellness. What is good for the herd is not always good for the individual couple. Us humans like to project a finite value to the area of our lives we’re unsure about. It saves us from having to put the work into self-exploring and figuring out what our needs actually are. Many people don’t know how to talk about sex and use these sex ‘rules’ to avoid uncomfortable conversations with their partners. We need to start sitting ourselves down, figuring out what we really want, and communicating that with our partners.

Maintenance sex, a key ingredient for healthy relationships

Many couples can get stuck in a rut (it’s so easy for life to get in the way!) and they get to a stage where they went from having sex weekly to having sex once a month, and even that feels like a chore! So, why not schedule it? Sex isn’t always spontaneous like it was when you were in the first few months of passion. The amount of sex you have is completely subjective, but that doesn’t mean it’s not important. Scheduling sex may not sound like the sexiest thing you’ve ever done, but it is an integral part of many healthy relationships. It’s unrealistic to put numbers on what is “normal,” but it’s also unfair to pretend sex isn’t a vital part of maintaining romantic attachment for many people out there.

 

So, it’s time to get reflecting on what you really need when it comes to sex in your relationship and decide on how best to communicate that to your partner. 

How do I communicate honestly about sex?

Communicating honestly about sex in your relationships isn’t something us Irish are renowned for. The catholic shame that we all carry (to some extent) can make it difficult for us to share our desires with our partner(s). It’s about time we take a second to sit down and talk face to face with our partner(s) about our expectations, likes, dislikes and fantasies. And no, it doesn’t have to be scary. We’ll show you how…

1. Find the Right Time

Right in the throws of passion is not the right time to be having this conversation. Emotions are running high and everyone is more likely to say yes to something without really thinking it through. Instead, pick a time when you and your partner(s) are relaxed and open to discussion. This can be right after a night of cuddling and watching a movie together, over a nice lunch or dinner. Make sure no one is distracted and is only focused on the conversation.

2. Figure out your Likes & Dislikes

Most people can probably come up with a list of a few things they like or don’t like sexually. Although, sometimes it can be hard to communicate these things with someone new. If you’re not sure what you want, try this little activity: make a list of every sex act you can think of, regardless of if you ever want to try it. Give a copy of this list to your partner and keep a copy for yourself. Add three columns: Yes, No and Maybe. Then go through the list on your own and put a tick next to each activity under the column you feel pertains to you at that moment. Yes, I want to play with a vibrator during sex, but I only maybe want to experiment with anal play. After the lists are filled out, swap with your partner(s) to see what they checked off. This allows you to open up, while also checking out their feelings toward certain sexual acts. Plus, it can be such a laugh!

3. Do Not Be Judgmental

Sometimes our automatic reaction, when we hear that our partner(s) wants to try some crazy new sex act, is to immediately dismiss it or say that it’s gross. Make sure that by saying no to your partner you are not judging them in a negative way. It can be very hurtful when someone you love and trust finds something sexual you want to do abnormal or disgusting. Instead, approach your partner in a way that is calm and understanding. You can say, “While that may be something you’re interested in, right now I’m just not comfortable trying that. Ask me again in a few months and we can revisit it.” This way, you are not dismissing your partner(s)’s wants, but instead letting them know right now you aren’t ready to try that yet (and that’s okay).

4. Be Honest

‘Communicating honestly about sex’ – It’s literally in the title. It is the most important thing you can be when talking with your partner(s) about sex. Honesty is the only way everyone is going to get what they want and have fun and pleasurable sex. It can be difficult to open up to someone about your sexual desires, but the only way to get what you want is by asking, no one is a mind reader! You may be nervous or afraid that your partner(s) may reject you when you suggest a certain sexual activity, but perhaps your partner(s) wants the same thing, but they have also been too afraid to tell you. Opening up about sex is not always easy. If you’re honest it will build more trust and strength within your relationship.

5. Don’t Forget Protection!

When discussing sex with your partner(s) you need to also talk about what type of birth control you’ll want to use as well. Remember, IUDs and The Implant are the most effective forms of birth control, but you can still contract STIs with them. Therefore, you and your partner(s) should always use condoms. If you want to have enjoyable, stress-free sex, using protection is the way to do it.

Communicating honestly about sex with someone is not always easy, but it is important if you want to have a positive, healthy sex life. It might be difficult to start this conversation, but once you do, it will become more natural over time. Discussing sex with your partner builds trust and can be quite intimate. It’s a way to get to know each other and figure out how to best please each other. Sex can be very important in a relationship, and by talking about it, you are showing your partner(s) they are important to you as well.

In this article, we’ll cover the basics of STI’s, where you can go for a free test, where you can go to pay for a test and how you can get a home STI test in Ireland!

What is a Sexually Transmitted Infection?

An STI is an infection that is usually passed from one person to another during oral, anal or vaginal sex. In recent years in Ireland, reported cases of STI’s have been on the rise. If you are sexually active, it is your responsibility to ensure that you are not infected so that you are not putting the people you have sex with at risk.

The most common STI’s in Ireland are:

  1. Chlamydia
  2. Gonorrhoea
  3. Hepatitis B
  4. HIV
  5. Syphilis
  6. HPV (in women)

Should I be worried if I contract an STI?

Most cases of infection are very easily treated with medication and are not something to worry about unless left untreated.

Infections that are not treated can potentially lead to serious damage to your health. Some long-term complications can include erectile dysfunction, infertility, anal or cervical cancer, urinary tract, bladder or kidney infections, and heart problems. Syphilis, HIV, and Hepatitis B potentially fatal without treatment.

STI’s, more often than not, show no symptoms. The only way to know if you have an infection is to get tested, which is why we always encourage shame-free and consistent testing. 

So, when should I be getting tested?

  • You are sexually active and have never had an STI test, regardless of whether or not protection was used
  • You have had unprotected sex with someone new
  • If you have symptoms of an STI (listed below)
  • You have recently changed sexual partner and have had more than one sexual partner
  • If you are planning to get pregnant 

80% of cases will have no symptoms but if you experience any of the following be sure to get tested:

  • Unusual discharge from the penis, anus, or vagina
  • Pain when passing urine
  • Unusual sores, ulcers or blisters in the genital area
  • Itching or irritation in the genital area
  • Discomfort or pain in the anus/rectum
  • You experience pain during sex
  • Bleeding between periods or after sex
  • Swollen testicles
  • An unusual rash

Where do you go if you want to get tested?

Free Clinics & Screening Centres

There is a range of free walk-in clinics across the country. Each clinic is usually only open on certain days for walk-in appointments only and run on a first-come, first-serve basis. With the current Covid 19 restrictions, many of these clinics have been operating on new schedules. You can find a complete list of up to date information on where to go for your free test here.

Visit your GP or a Private STI testing Clinic

Most GP’s will offer STI test and some will even offer them included within a check-up. Additionally, you can visit Family Planning Clinics, Well Woman and Well Man Centres or obtain a test through your Private Health Care provider.

At home STI test kits in Ireland

Home testing kits are a great option, especially now that it may be difficult to visit a test centre! Firstly, they’re extremely discreet and easy to use. Secondly, they’re quite efficient as most will have your results available within 3 working days. Finally, while you do have to pay for them, many of the basic tests are very affordable.

Let’s have a look at some of our favourite options below:

Let’s Get Checked

Starting with the Simple 2 (€49, Chlamydia & Gonorrhoea) and going up to the Complete 11 (€239), Let’s Get Checked offers some of the most comprehensive testing options out there! You can get one-off tests or sign up to a quarterly subscription if you really want to take control of your sexual health. Each test comes with easy to understand, step by step instructions on how to take your sample at home. You then pop your sealed sample back in the prepaid envelope provided that same day and you’ll have your results on your confidential account within 2-5 working days! If your test is negative, nothing to worry about. If it’s positive, one of their trained nurses will contact and provide treatment options. It couldn’t be easier. Trust us, we’ve tried and tested this one!

MyClinic.ie

MyClinic.ie works in a very similar way to Let’s Get Checked. They offer tests for all of the most common STI’s but their complete testing options are not quite as comprehensive as above. To clarify, that’s not to say they don’t offer enough. Their kits range from Chlamydia & Gonorrhoea (€50) to Chlamydia, Gonorrhoea, HIV, Hepatitis B, Syphilis (€90). Samples are taken and sent back to the labs just as above and results are received within 7 days. This is an Irish company – and we’re all for supporting Irish these days. Why not give this one a go?

HomeTesting.ie

Similarly to the previously mentioned home testing options, HomeTesting.ie offers a variety of kits. Their most simple option being Chlamydia & Gonorrhoea (€49) to the Platinum STI test (€295, covers 11 tests). While it works in a very similar manner, HomeTesting.ie has the added benefit that if you have issues taking your samples, you can be seen by one of their doctors in Dublin City Centre where they will assist you with your test. Likewise, you will also be supporting a smaller Irish company if you choose HomeTesting.ie.

In short, STI testing can be discreet, affordable and simple to do. It’s super simple to get a home STI test in Ireland, so what’s your excuse?

 

It’s time to discredit those Masturbation Myths!

Self-pleasure is something that is part of many of our self-care routines however, it’s a topic that not enough of us discuss. For years there have been masturbation myths doing the rounds. In the mid-1900s, people were told that masturbation caused blindness and disease. People thought would eat up a man’s strength and turn him feeble-minded. It was also believed that a bland diet would reduce sex drives and bring an end to masturbation, which is why John Kellogg and Sylvester Graham developed the cornflakes we know and love today.

We’re here to set the records straight.

Myth 1: People who have regular sex masturbate less

Masturbation Myths 1: People who have regular sex masturbate less

 

 

Studies have actually shown that the more sex people have, the more they tend to self-pleasure.

 

 

Myth 2: You’ll no longer enjoy sex with a partner if you masturbate too regularly

Masturbation Myths 2: You’ll no longer enjoy sex with a partner if you masturbate too regularly

 

In fact, the more you masturbate, the more you’ll understand your body and the better that you will be able to communicate your needs with a partner. Similarly to Myth 1, partnered sex and self-pleasure go hand in hand.

 

 

Myth 3: Masturbation is something that you do alone

Myth 3: Masturbation is something that you do alone

 

Mutual masturbation is a form of sex that can be done with a partner (or partners!). To watch and be watched is something that many people find enjoyable. Consequently, it is also a great way to learn about each other’s preferences!

 

 

Myth 4: Masturbating too often can lead to loss of sensitivity or erectile dysfunction

Masturbation Myths 4: Masturbating too often can lead to loss of sensitivity or erectile dysfuntion

Frequent masturbation can’t desensitise the nerves; however, if you masturbate in the same way each time, your body may become accustomed to that sensation and could start to associate it with climax.

Mix up your techniques, try out different positions, invest in a toy or perhaps explore a new fantasy!

 

Myth 5: Everyone should masturbate

Myth 5: Everyone should masturbate

 

 

Masturbating is a natural, healthy and an important tool for getting to know your body. However, it’s not something that everyone feels comfortable doing, and that’s okay too!

 

 

Here at JOI, we think masturbation can be great for your mind and body. Furthermore, if you’re interested in learning more about the facts and science behind masturbation, read here!

Ultimately, the choice of whether to masturbate or not is entirely down to you as an individual.  There is one thing that’s for sure, speaking openly about our masturbation habits will bring an end to those pesky myths!