Vibrant Memorial Weekend Sale

Our affiliate, Vibrant, is having a sale this weekend! You can save 25% off your entire purchase when you use the code SUMMER2017.

You have through Monday to snag your goodies!

Remember – all proceeds from Vibrant go to support Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains.

With the current political climate and funding issues they’re encountering, they need our support more than ever. They’re closing several clinics, including the one location they had in Wyoming – which is now the second state after North Dakota to be without a single Planned Parenthood. Colorado is losing two clinics and New Mexico is losing three.

Guest Post: Sex is an Important Part of a Healthy Relationship, Right?

TW: childhood sexual abuse (mention), and pregnancy/parenthood/babies.

When I began my sexuality studies as an excited young pup I remember reading, “sex is an important part of a healthy relationship.” Yes! Validation that it is not only worth prioritizing sex in a relationship, but necessary to its success. I took this little sentence and threw it around, loud and proud, to everyone who would listen (and even those who would rather I shut up– such as people who identify as asexual, for example).

Then life happened.

I began struggling with chronic digestive pain. Then endometriosis. Then repeated kidney stones! I started therapy for childhood sexual abuse. Sex as a psychologically and physiologically painful activity became my reality. My lower abdominal world can be a delicate, tired, sore place. Here’s what it taught me:

Even if you’re not asexual, sex does not need to be an important part of a healthy relationship.

Surprise.

I do have sex, it’s not totally out of my life and I have prioritized healing my sexuality and making it my life’s work. As an aspect of my relationship, it has fallen from priority number one to a delightful extra if the stars align. So, when I was asked in an interview, “isn’t sex an important part of a healthy relationship,” I realized that statement was misleading.

Sex can be an important part of a healthy relationship. But that’s not up to me to decide as a sexual health expert. That’s not up to your doctor, therapist, or sex ed teacher. That’s for you to decide. Yes, relationship satisfaction tends to move with sexual satisfaction in a relationship, but I think we may have misunderstood this little statistical finding, or worse, we have inappropriate statistical tools for measuring satisfaction that doesn’t capture what it means for all sexual people or asexual people. Tools aside, I can tell you that my sexual and relationship satisfaction is high even though I don’t prioritize sex in my relationship. Why?

I asked my partner once, “if I decided I couldn’t or didn’t want to have sex anymore for any reason, would you leave me?”

His response: “No! Why would I?”

Because sex is an important part of a healthy relationship!

His response, “But I get so many things out of our relationship. Sex is nice and I like having sex with you, but that’s not the only thing I get out of our relationship and it’s not the deciding factor of being with you.”

I specialize in sex in pregnancy and postpartum as a doula, aromatherapist, and coach. What my partner said reminded me of a study I’d been looking at: guess which couples fared well during the sexual struggles of the postpartum period? Couples whose priorities aligned. Couples that were both okay with sex being off the table for a little while. Or couples who both decided on sacrificing co-sleeping with their baby to have alone time in their bed. What mattered was that couples were on the same page, the page itself was otherwise irrelevant.

My satisfaction is high because my partner and I are on the same page. That means, we’re both happy with our relationship and when we do have sex, it’s damn good sex.

There is nothing wrong with prioritizing sex in your relationship and this will work best if your partners also prioritize sex in the relationship.

There is nothing wrong with not prioritizing sex in your relationship and this will work best if your partners also don’t prioritize sex in the relationship.

When you don’t align, that’s when things can get really tough. Seeking the guidance of a couples and family therapist or sex therapist can be really helpful when the stars are not aligning for sex. Although some therapists and counselors offer sliding scales, not everyone can afford these services. Here is a list of affordable book resources that I have used so far on my personal journey through sexual healing that you may even be able to find at the library. I am currently seeking more LGBTQ+ resources pertaining to this topic as I do not identify as heterosexual or cisgendered, but these are the books I have found so far. The first book is a great read based on cisgendered women’s experiences with various life events that have changed their relationship with sex. The second book is a great resource for how to communicate effectively in relationships – however, it should be noted that the research is based off observations of monogamous heterosexual couples who are struggling with the transition into parenthood. The final book is also based on research with cisgendered women, though I strongly feel everyone would benefit from its good science and worksheet pages:

Sex After… Women Share How Intimacy Changes as Life Changes by Iris Krasnow

And Baby Makes Three: The Six-Step Plan for Preserving Marital Intimacy and Rekindling Romance After Baby Arrives by John Gottman & Julie Schwartz Gottman

Come As You Are: The Surprising New Science That Will Transform Your Sex Life by Emily Nagoski

The next time someone tries to tell you that sex is an important aspect of a healthy relationship, ask yourself: who’s saying it? How does this statement benefit them? What are they trying to sell me? What are they trying to sell themselves? And finally– is sex an important aspect of relationships for me?

Because, really, that’s the answer that matters.

a short haired woman in a dark jacket with a red scarf smiles against a leafy background

Tynan Rhea works in Toronto as a doula, aromatherapist, and coach specializing in sexual and reproductive health. Tynan graduated from the University of Waterloo with a Joint Honours Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Sexuality, Marriage, & Family. She received her doula training from the Revolutionary Doula Training program and her aromatherapy training with Anarres Apothecary Apprenticeship program. You can read more about her at TynanRhea.com, follow her on Instagram and Twitter (@TynanRhea) or check out her blog: queering holistic health (on her website).

This post has been featured as one of Kinkly’s Sex Stories We Love!

#IAmAPreExistingCondition

#IAmAPreExistingCondition – it’s a hashtag and a movement.

Many people are flocking to social media and writing platforms to share their concerns over the AHCA. Celebrities, patient activists, and others have been sharing how their conditions or lives will be affected. Groups are even starting video projects in order to help abled people understand what those of us with conditions and disabilities will face.

Hell, you can even get things set up to have your ashes sent to GOP peeps who voted for the AHCA if it becomes law and you pass away because of it. Here’s a breakdown of Republicans in the House that voted in favor btw.

The AHCA is incredibly dangerous. As it stands right now, the bill targets special education, potentially turns sexual assault and C-sections into pre-existing conditions, and affects even those on employer-based plans. It affects the LGBT+ community even more – something we don’t need more of, especially after the latest Executive Order.

Reps have even had the audacity to rule themselves exempt from these changes. The only potential upside is that at least the Senate won’t be voting on this specific bill? But that also gives them more time to fuck us over with worse shit.

I touched on this over at my other site, Not Standing Still’s Disease, but… bills like this one just remind those of us who aren’t abled that our lives aren’t considered as worthy as others. This isn’t new news but brings up a lot of hurt.

It’s important to remember our history. For example, Holocaust killing methods were perfected on us precisely because our lives weren’t as valued. The Capitol Crawl, where so many of our siblings and leaders harmed themselves in order to ensure our rights, was only in 1990 – and it’s still not enforced.

Want to join us?

Use the tags #IAmAPreExistingCondition and #HealthHasNoParty on social media.

Use this awesome photo from Liz Salmi and Hugo Campos:

I am an American with a Pre-Existing Condition #HealthHasNoParty

You can even use free services like PicMonkey to create collages with this photo and others related to your illness journey like I’ve done here:

Tag your representatives, local news offices, and others.

Record videos. Share them.

Write on Medium or other platforms.

Contact your elected officials in whatever way you can.

Remember that you can text RESIST to 50409 to utilize Resist Bot, which will compile your thoughts into a fax. This is far more likely to be read than email – and easier for many of us than calling. You can do it every single day.

May is Masturbation Month!

Masturbation.

There’s no better way to learn what we do and don’t like. But what else can masturbation do for us?

Plus, have you ever seen what it does to your brain? Cause it’s kind of amazing {gif alert}.

The problem is that there is a gender gap when it comes to orgasms in general. With regards to self-pleasure, many vagina owners weren’t told that masturbation was okay or natural. This all serves to make us sexual objects for our partners instead of for ourselves.

There is hope! Sweden and other progressive countries are including info on self-pleasure in their hella comprehensive sex ed – and it’s working to help close the gap.

Masturbation May has quite a history – but one that’s already been covered by some amazing writers. Check it out.

Some people like to ‘do it’ themselves while others love to utilize toys. Here is a primer on how to use a vibrator – and what you should know before buying your first one. Make sure to visit our Pinterest board dedicated to masturbation and sex toys for more motivation and information.

Whatever you do, just watch out for toxic and unsafe toys. That’s why I recommend companies like Tantus, Vibrant, and Fun Factory – you know you’re getting safe and quality products!

Grab bags are cool – you choose what kind of toy you want by the shape. Then, Tantus sends you a random-colored toy at a discount. Sweet, right? Tantus’ sale ends on Thursday, May 11, so get clicking!

In case you need some motivation, here are ‘35 Reasons You Should Add Masturbation to Your Self-Care Routine.’ Hell, Jane Fonda of Grace & Frankie does it often! (PS I’ve finally binged on G&F and cannot recommend it more.)

Oh, and did I mention you can masturbate for a good cause? Learn more here.