Valentine’s Day is just a few days away, and with the release of 50 Shades of Grey—which introduced the mainstream, vanilla world to the lifestyle of kink—there are many couples venturing to the doorstep of experimentation. While exploring one’s sexuality is healthy, there’s much concern about how the average couple might approach the idea of bringing new practices into the bedroom.
Just in time for the day of love, our good friends at Trojan have released a new line of pleasure products that will prove to be a great starting point for couples who desire to explore. Dr. Sari Cooper (Trojan rep, couple’s psychotherapist and certified sex therapist) has a few pieces of advice on how to incorporate these products into the sexual experience, as well as how to begin the conversation on sexual experimentation.
50 Shades of Grey has awakened the interests of many couples and Dr. Cooper suggests using the fictional story as a springboard for the sexual exploration conversation. “The book is a great start to the conversation, and then we have the movie,” she says. “You could say something that sounds like: ‘You know, I read this thing in a book… I thought that thing he did with her in the elevator was pretty hot. Would you ever want to do that with me?’ Something that sounds like this would be great because it brings up the conversation of semi-public play.
“Then more dialogue would follow,” Cooper continues. “ ‘What would we do? Would we bring a little toy with us when we go and meet our friends at the bar on Saturday, and then take a break and go off into the bathroom?’ ” When it comes to bringing toys and lubricant into the bedroom, Dr. Cooper has a great set of rules to live by.
“You have to talk about pleasure,” says the psychotherapist. “Women have to mention that men will always be getting pleasure and getting excited. A national representative survey stated 67% of men agree vibrators are a healthy part of women’s sex life, so a majority of men recognize vibrators are pleasurable.”
Initiating this conversation can be intimidating for some women, who may feel their mates may view their desires to bring assistants into the room as an inadequacy on their behalf. But statistics show this conversation is necessary.
“Studies show that libido goes down a bit after the first 18 months to two years of a relationship because of getting accustomed to someone. And this is something that I have to address all the time as a sex therapist,” explains Dr. Cooper. She suggests making the conversation about enhancing the experience for both partners instead of making it a one-sided equation.
“Men get bored too, so this is mutual. Men want to try things they’ve never done before and it’s fun! Don’t create the conversation of ‘It’s all about me and you’re not doing enough for me,’ ” she suggests. Instead, the conversation could sound like, “I want to expand our menu to enhance what we’ve already been doing. I want to up the edge to try new things for you and for me.”
“It’s not about making demands,” Cooper says. “Just put the thought out there about expanding your menu a little bit, and hopefully he will say, ‘Sure, what do you have in mind?’ And you can follow up with, ‘Well, I was thinking there are some toys out there that will enhance what I’m already getting from you.’ ”
The beauty of Trojan’s newest products is their compact size and how easily accessible they are. “Trojan has really stepped up to the plate this time around,” commends Dr. Cooper. “These toys are really small and easy to bring with you, whether at home or in semi-public. It empowers people to play the way they want to play and up the erotic temperature, as I like to call it.”
New to the Trojan brand is the Arouses and Releases lubricant intended for clitoral and bodily massage; the Simply Pleasures lubricant used for penetration; and Trojan’s Multi Vibrating Multi Thrill, that features three different vibrations and textures. Lubricants can sometimes get a bad rap, especially for those uneducated about their benefit. But Dr. Cooper lends her expertise in helping couples reform their thinking about the slick enhancements.
“There is a lack of education in American public around sexuality. Sixty-six percent of men and 68 percent of women find lube to make sex more comfortable, and when these statistics are placed casually in conversation it makes couples look at lube differently. When you present these statistics, it normalizes the use of lube.”
Adding lubricant can help reduce pain during sex and add moisture in sessions that last for an extended amount of time. Dr. Cooper also brings another suggestion to the table about how to reduce anxiety that may be associated with selecting the right toy to play with.
“Another way to bring pressure down and raise excitement is to go shopping together,” she says. “It becomes a sex date, and it’s easy to find the Trojan stuff. It’s everywhere! You can go to Target or Walgreens. You don’t have to go into some sex shop and feel weird about it. It doesn’t have to be a serious conversation. It can be as casual as, ‘Hey let’s go check this out,’ and you can laugh about it. You could even say, ‘You know, that thing looks kind of interesting to me. I would love to try this with you.’ It’s a very intimate conversation to have, and it’s great for long-term couples.”
In experimenting with kink play, Dr. Cooper suggests beginning with a conversation about power roles within the relationship and recognizing personal limitations with techniques that are new to a sexual relationship. “Kink is a practice,” she says. “When you start something new, it’s important to acknowledge that you are a beginner. People can start to discuss roles of power played in the bedroom. Power exchange is a great conversation starter. Who likes to initiate, who likes to be seduced and who likes to be pursued? That gets the conversation started. It indicates for the next step: ‘how can I get this started?’ ”
Playing with kink or any other experimentation is all about granting yourself permission to play; after all, sex is all about playing. “There are no winners or losers, it’s all about playing,” says Cooper. “It takes intimacy and commitment for the long term for people to have these conversations.” These types of conversations aren’t really for those who are into the culture of “hooking up.” They’re meant for couples who have the time, energy and emotions invested into a relationship that will eventually need a sexually energetic boost.
Dr. Cooper also suggests using various sex positions to liven up the experience: “You can talk about positions. Certain positions offer more exposure for a woman’s genitalia. So when you’re saying ‘Let’s try a new position,’ you can look it up online and suggest, ‘Touch me here and put some lube on it. You could be inside of me while massaging me and it would feel amazing.’ Two-thirds of women don’t climax during intercourse, so it’s important for women to communicate the message: I want to be with you, but I want to experience pleasure too. That builds excitement on both sides.”
Glamazon Tyomi is a freelance writer, model and sex educator with a deeply rooted passion for spreading the message of sex positivity and encouraging the masses to embrace their sexuality. Her website, www.glamerotica101.com, reaches internationally as a source for advice and information for the sexually active/curious. Follow her on Twitter at @glamazontyomi.