MysteryVibe Crescendo

February 14th, 2018

Mystery Vibe made a pretty big to-do about their customizable, smart vibrator called the Crescendo last year. “It has 6 motors!” they said. “You’ve never used anything like it,” they claimed (more or less). They sent me one to try, and I took my sweet time getting around to writing this review. You’ll see why after I introduce you to this beast.

Similar to the gKi, you can bend the Crescendo at various joints to take on whatever shape your heart vagina desires (you can fold it nearly in half or bend each end in either direction to create an S-shape). Ostensibly, the two triangular flaps near the base can provide clitoral stimulation while you can create a hook for simultaneous G-spot/internal stim. It’s a two-hand job because the joints are stiff enough to stay in place, but not difficult (don’t count on ever getting it perfectly straight once you bend it, however). This is not something I have a problem with.

The truth is, I don’t want to use an app with any sex toy, partially because my devices invariably are crawling with bacteria that could lead to a nasty infection should I forget and reach down with my phone hand to operate a toy. Partially because I have small hands and using my devices single-handedly is a struggle. Partially because the more attention my eyes pay to a screen, the less my vagina, clit and various other erogenous zones pay attention to what’s going on there.

And the MysteryVibe app? Is not intuitive. It tries to be with gestures, but basic settings wind up hidden behind icons that just aren’t user-friendly. Sure, you can use it, but you really need to get used to it first.

Let’s not forget the logistics. Pairing devices that are buried within orifices to your phone? Not always an easy task. It was ridiculous with the kGoal, and while the Crescendo works much, much better, it just seems like the industry is trying to make using toys more difficult than it really needs to be. The only exception I’m willing to admit to is feedback (as in with kegel toys), but there’s no need for that with the Crescendo.

Speaking of logistics; have you ever had to wait over 30 minutes for your vibrator’s firmware to update? No? Keep it that way! Crescendo uses wireless transfer to update the device’s firmware, despite the fact that literally every device I’ve ever had to update urges you to do it wired because you can brick your device if the wireless update fails.

MysteryVibe support says this shouldn’t be an issue (and that it shouldn’t take nearly as long as it’s taken mine);

The Crescendo firmware file is quite a large one and the file transfer takes around 15 minutes. If there are any interruptions during this time, such as a phone call, Bluetooth interference, it could show an error. In this case, simply tap on the circle again to restart the update and it should work perfectly.
After my update remained stalled at 81%, I canceled and started again. It appeared that Crescendo had disconnected from the app, but I received no error. The only advice I can offer is that you can safely abort and try again if your update does something similar.

I think the argument for all this hassle is “but personalization!” Or maybe “Adriana, you can create your own one-of-a-kind vibration setting.” To which I laugh because I’ve already proven that I am a lazy SOB when it comes to masturbatory preparation and, secondly because anyone who’s been around this blog a time or two realizes that I couldn’t care less about modes. Seriously. My highest praise for pulsation, escalation or what-have-you is usually along the lines of “Well, it doesn’t suck.”

So that brings us to controlling the Crescendo via the app. Note that you don’t have to. You can just use the buttons on the toy; although, they’re more flush than I prefer because they’re embossed into the silicone, which makes them a little difficult to find and use when your hands are covered with lube. They can also get bunched up if you bend the Crescendo at the joint right near the buttons, which are located in two locations along the side (one set turns it on/up and off/down while the other cycles through modes).

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For once, I want some big, clicky buttons with tactile feedback like a mechanical keyboard. I want my fumbling fingers and long nails to have plenty of space. Enough with the tiny, “cute” buttons, people!

If you choose to use the app, it provides you with a visual that better helps you understand which motors are operating and what they’re doing. You can edit the base vibrations or download new settings from the “store”; although, it appears the Crescendo can only hold so many. I find the whole process of downloading and deleting settings from my sex toy to be a bit tedious myself. However, it’s interesting that you can rearrange the order of the settings on your Crescendo. My immediate thought after finding the settings that seemed like they’d be the most useful was that I was going to save them and never use the app again.

I’m pretty much saying that a toy has to be amazing if it’s going to require an app. So is the Crescendo? No. It seems pretty run of the mill. Because you’re supposed to customize the shape to your preferences, it’s rather flat and narrow, underwhelming, really. The internal vibrators that work well for me clitorally definitely have a rounded tip, which this does not. Unfurled, it looks a bit like a finger with the joints visible on the underside. Bent into position it looks perhaps a bit medicinal.

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In terms of power, you’d expect something pretty impressive from the Crescendo. After all, it has six motors. But those six motors are each a little lackluster, too, providing less of a symphony and more of a forgettable background noise. This review is about six words away from comparing the underpowered motors to Kidz Bop versions of pop songs. Is it terrible? No. It is what I want from a vibrator? Also no.

And believe me I tried. My first attempt was to turn on all the motors as high as they can go. I mean, isn’t that what us reviewers do with every vibrating toy we receive? Take it out of the package, charge it up and see how far this puppy goes? Crescendo doesn’t for up to 11, that’s for sure.

It’s not that it’s exactly weak. It just falls on the buzzier side of things, and I, like so many, prefer a deep and rumbly vibration that penetrates. The buzziness is definitely more perceptible on certain modes, and certainly more noticeable when you turn up the power. Ironically, the site describes the vibrations are deep and rumbly and whisper quiet. Surprise! Neither is exactly true.

I do enjoy that there’s a sort of throbbing pulsation. The sheer variety of vibrating modes the Crescendo offers means it’s probably go something for most people if the power output works for you.

The charger could also use some work. You plug a standard microUSB  (I’ve only used one other vibrator that relies on this standard connection) charger into a little disc that the Crescendo rests on to charge. But the lightweight disc has a bevel along the bottom and only the end of the toy rests on it, which causes the disc to tilt and the toy to want to slide off. It takes a bit to find the sweet spot because the vibrator doesn’t sit securely in the base (like some of Minna or Jimmyjane’s smaller toys), just rests atop it. Again, the user has to work around the toy rather than the toy fitting nicely into their life.

It’s hard to say what might be a better design. I don’t need a charging base. If the toy has to rest on a table, then the USB cable might as well plug directly into it (companies have done it and kept their toys 100% waterproof in the past and if they could make it a data+charging cable, firmware updates wouldn’t take over 30 minutes to complete!). If they want to do inductive charging, then perhaps provide a case that also works for travel like the one that used to come with the Delight.

The truth is, Crescendo isn’t a terrible vibrator. It’s just another mediocre sex toy that seems like a much bigger letdown because the marketing led us to believe it would change our worlds. But as long as “change your world” translates to “you have to adapt to the toy,” it’s not smart. I want my sex toys to adapt to me, not the other way around.

The Crescendo is on sale for Valentine’s Day if you’re interested in buying it.

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Science of Sex: Physiology of Orgasm

January 20th, 2018

Welcome to the eleventh! installment in a feature on Of Sex and Love: Science of Sex. In this monthly segment, I discuss the science of sexuality in an easy-to-digest format that’s accessible to the casual reader. I will also follow up with some extended reading material for people who want to know more about the subject of each post.

It’s hard to follow up last month’s Science of Sex post, in which I lauded over a dozen women who have worked to study sex and educate the world about sexuality, But the second Saturday of this month has already passed. I had better get on it!

So I thought I’d discuss some of the physiological changes that occur during and after orgasm, changes that researchers have used to determine whether orgasm has occurred and help to explain some of the benefits of orgasm from sex or masturbation. This will more or less be a list of the changes in the body and brain due to orgasm.

Enjoy!

Physiology of Orgasm

Much of the research into orgasm and physiological changes has focused on women, perhaps because ejaculation makes it easier to determine when a man has had an orgasm. Researchers compare measurements with self-reports of orgasm.

Traditionally, heart rate has been measured to determine if orgasm has occurred, and both vaginal and clitoral orgasms increase heart rate. More intense orgasms may lead to greater increases in heart rate.

Although many of these studies focus on women, few of them have involves fMRIs. One study did look at the female brain during orgasm, finding that activity increased in several areas: sensory, motor, reward, frontal cortical, and brainstem regions. Another test found that men experience increased blood flow in several brain areas after orgasm: the visual cortex, ventral tegmental area (VTA), and ventrolateral thalamus. Blood flow decreased to the prefrontal cortex, however. In patients with epilepsy, the temporal lobe becomes essential for achieving orgasm.

EEGs have previously been used to look at brain activity during orgasm. In one study, participants masturbated to orgasm, and EEG results showed changes in brain laterality. Typically, activity increased significantly in the right hemisphere with smaller increases in the left hemisphere. Interestingly, one left-handed participant exhibited the opposite change in laterality.

Contraction of the PC muscles is another method of determining orgasm, and research has found that rectal pressure is a reliable indicator of orgasm in healthy women. Anal contractions also indicate orgasm in men.

Various chemicals and hormones increase after orgasm. Catecholamines, which include epinephrine, (adrenaline) norepinephrine, and dopamine increase in the body. Prolactin, the protein that helps female mammals breastfeed, increases because of orgasm, even in men. This may help regular sex drive after orgasm.

Men who experienced orgasm after a period of orgasmic inactivity may see an increase in testosterone in their systems after resuming masturbation.

Researchers have found that endocannabinoid levels, specifically endocannabinoid 2-AG, increase in both men and women after orgasm. You may be more familiar with endocannabinoids as they relate to marijuana. Because pot contains a chemical similar to endocannabinoid, THC, it activates the endocannabinoid system. Endocannabinoids help to regulate mood, sleep, pain, and pleasure/rewards, among other functions. Increased endocannabinoids 2-AG after orgasm may help to explain boost to mood, improved sleep and decreased pain perception.

Finally, orgasm can produce behaviors and experiences that you wouldn’t typically consider to be related to sexuality, several of which I have experienced myself. One study combined the phenomena from various case studies, cataloging the following phenomena;

cataplexy (weakness), crying, dysorgasmia, dysphoria, facial and/or ear pain, foot pain, headache, pruritus [itching of the skin], laughter, panic attack, post-orgasm illness syndrome, seizures, and sneezing.

With the profound effect that orgasm has on a person’s physiology, the vast array of effects aren’t really so surprising.

Further Reading

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What I Wrote in 2017: Sex Ed, BDSM Guides, Relationship Advice + More

January 12th, 2018

Although I might have been uncharacteristically quiet on Of Sex and Love last year (I sometimes managed only to post a monthly Science of Sex post and certainly didn’t write enough reviews to post a best or worst of list!), I have not been quiet elsewhere.

Last year I continued to write for two other venues: Bad Girls Bible and Cirilla’s. I write dozens of pieces between the two of those, not to mention other clients (interested in someone writing for your own sex blog or sex toy store? You can hire me!).

The result includes some articles that I am pretty proud of. I’ve curated a list of posts that I think are especially helpful, well written or otherwise worth sharing.

For  Cirilla’s

I discussed 12 Things Porn Gets Wrong, which probably isn’t news to many of my readers, but many of these stereotypes are still perpetuated.

I also wrote about the Ways That Sex Changes In Your 30s, some of which are surprisingly awesome!

You can also check out my post called Why You Should Care About Sex Toy Materials. Again, this is old-hat stuff for some, but a reminder is always welcome. One thing I wanted to delve into but didn’t have the opportunity to do so is how green our sex toys are and where materials are sourced from.

Finally, I tackled 12 Sex Myths About Sex That Aren’t True. There are a lot of ideas that we believe to be true. But when you seek out accurate sex education that is also sex-positive, you quickly find that these ideas aren’t self-evident at all: they’re unhealthy and potentially harmful.

For Bad Girl’s Bible

The Truths and Myths Surrounding the Concept of Virginity

I was glad to be able to break down the concept of virginity, which serves very little — if any — purpose, in this post.


 

How You Can Have a Functional (and Sexy) D/s Relationship

I’ve been able to write more about BDSM, bondage and D/s lately, and I enjoy educating people on how these things can be sexy and healthy.


 

The 7 Best Sex Positions for Female Orgasm (Tried and Tested!)

You’d think that I’ve been around the block enough to have tried — or at least known about — all the positions that facilitate orgasm. Then again, you’d be wrong.


 

The Complete BDSM Aftercare Guide: Learn How To Do It Right.

Another element of safety in BDSM is aftercare, which I outlined in this post.


 

Hymen 101: Breaking the Myths to Determine the Truth

Writing about the hymen is similar to writing about virginity. Our current sex ed teaches us a lot of the wrong stuff, and this so-called knowledge can damage us in all sorts of ways.


 

5 Love Languages: How To Keep Your Partner’s Love Tank Full

You don’t have to believe in the 5 love languages to appreciate how being more thoughtful about the way you show love to your partner can benefit your relationship.


 

8 Vital BDSM Rules To Keep It Safe, Sane & Crazy-Kinky

Another post regarding the risk and safety involved in BDSM activities. Can there be too many?


 

What Is Intimacy? Discover The True Meaning Of Intimacy

A small detour into the romantic and relationship side of things.


 

Why Do Men Watch Porn When They’re In Relationships?

There are so many negative views on porn, and the idea that men (people) in relationships shouldn’t enjoy it is definitely one of them. It’s all bogus, of course.


 

Breast Bondage: Easy Harnesses Even If You’ve Never Used Rope Before

I quite enjoyed researching different styles of harnesses and rope bondage for this post. In fact, I wasn’t really a rope fan before writing it, but that has perhaps changed.


 

Sensual Domination: The Complete, Step-By-Step Guide

I am not personally one for more sensual styles of BDSM, but many people are. I hope this post encourages them to find their perfect flavor.


 

It’s no wonder that so many of my favorite pieces from last year were those that busted through stereotypes and myths surrounding sexuality.

Here’s to whatever 2018 brings!

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Lovehoney Short Satin Robe

January 6th, 2018

I own a few robes. I don’t frequently use them; although, I could (to answer the door when the mailman inevitably knocks while I sleep).  One is a bright pink option from Victoria’s Secret, and the other is a black lace number that I like but doesn’t really cover anything for the aforementioned use. A black, satin robe seemed right up my alley.

And you can get one from Lovehoney as part of their lingerie line, which I’ve reviewed items in before. Those items have been hit or miss. Although, I’m quick to admit that my relationship with lingerie isn’t what it once was.

Out of the bag, the satin seems stiff (and it’s noticeably stiff compared to the VS robe that I’ve had over a decade). These things tend to soften up over time, but it does make the robe seem cheaper than I like. At around half the price of some other robes, however, it might be a sacrifice that most people are willing to make.

I would forgive the robe that issue if it fit well, but it’s a bit awkward. First things first. I ordered on size rather than the plus size (get it here), and it just meets around my rib cage.  I wasn’t sure if the fit was small because of weight gain or what, but my VS robe still fits comfortably with room. I think Lovehoney is just making these robes small. So I would definitely size up if you’re unsure or want extra room.

The result is a robe that leaves my breasts hanging out. I might wear it over a bra or another piece of lingerie for someone else. I could not, for the life of me, find a picture that captured this and the shape of the robe in its entirety that I was comfortable posting. And no one wants to feel that bad in something that should be sexy.

I have a stuffed animal that looks okay in it, however.

The narrow width is even more awkward on my frame when compared with the oversized and boxy sleeves. On my 5’2″ frame, they seem more like 3/4 length. And they’re so wide that I feel swamped. I think it’s just the style because so many robes these days are “kimono” size. The type of robes you see from other retailers look similar. Yet my older robe has sleeves that are shorter (around elbow length) and slightly more fitted, which makes me feel more comfortable. Lovehoney’s lace robe looks so have more fitted sleeves.

This Lovehoney robe, however, makes me feel like a child playing dress up. Add to this that the short length is incredibly short (I’m not a tall woman, and this robe falls just under my butt, not reaching mid-thigh like on the model), and it’s perplexing. Other reviewers thought it was too long, so it might be falling shorter on me due to my butt and breasts.

Overall, the Lovehoney satin robe just seems to be a bit awkwardly cut. It feels like a graduation down, not a sexy part of lingerie. No part of it is really flattering or makes me feel comfortable. I cannot imagine myself really wearing it — unless I wanted to keep it open over another piece of lingerie.

And while I don’t want to keep making comparisons to another robe, but a really classy touch would be to have pockets. This robe does not. This isn’t going to be a deal-breaker for many people, I imagine.

With that said, this will probably be up someone’s alley. It seems well enough made, and the price makes it worth considering (and right now you can get a free clitoral vibrator with your purchase!).  I would probably read more reviews than just this one, however.

Free delivery on all orders over $60

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Resolve, Not Resolutions

January 4th, 2018

I’m not one to make new year’s resolutions, not really. I think they’re silly and we shouldn’t wait to do things that can just as well be started on a given Thursday. And I do dream up and start projects with no apparent thought to time or season — my Science of Sex feature is one of those things.  So I don’t plan to make resolutions, but the new years lures me into thinking about what I can do differently, and I wind up setting some informal goals, goals that I would never call resolutions, of course.

I’ve had pretty good momentum thus far. Granted, it’s only the 4th of January (I typed “July” because apparently that date just wants to be read), so there is plenty of time to fuck that up, but I feel pretty good about the emailing, article pitching, review inquiring, Twitter using, orgasm tracking and otherwise gettin-together of shit that I’ve so far accomplished. I’m creating opportunities and fostering connections, and I don’t want that effort to go for waste.

As it is, I may not be able to maintain this momentum. This may not be necessary if I set myself up to succeed. So I’ve been thinking of ways to keep myself accountable, to help me succeed at these not-resolutions. That’s what this post is about.

One of my big issues is time management. I plan to do things in a timely manner, but the deadline whizzes by, and it might take me weeks to notice. I think the solution is twofold: to see more rigid deadlines and to utilize technology to complete tasks. I’m not a planner type of person, but I rely on my phone for a couple of reminders, and I think I will expand that for some of my monthly endeavors.

With that said, I try not to put a timeline on certain creative things. I write when I am inspired. I pitch when I have an idea, and I don’t think trying to push that is beneficial. I want to encourage more inspiration, which means I need to be more proactive about keeping up with my fellow bloggers and the sex educators that I respect, among others. I’ve clicked countless links over the past few days, read blog posts and generally found myself shocked at how much I’d missed over the last couple years.

I’ve made efforts to follow more people on Twitter, where I intend to be more active. For the past few years, I’ve spent a lot of time aimlessly scrolling my personal Facebook. It’s a huge time-suck, one with which I am sure plenty of my readers are familiar. I plan to redirect some of that attention. With that in mind, I am also following more of those sources on my personal Facebook, so when I inevitably find myself scrolling mindlessly, I will come across content from those pages. I am considering eventually consolidating my writing about sex with my actual online presence, so this is also a first step toward that.

While I don’t want to tie myself down to deadlines, I think I need to periodically analyze my progress and make adjustments. It seems that a quarterly check-in would be feasible and helpful. This will also enable me to keep up with erotica calls to action as I want to publish more of that.

And this leaves me with a shift I think has been coming for a long time, and some may argue has already occurred. Reviews are not where my heart lies. Perhaps they never were. I prefer writing articles and erotica, and I want to continue focusing on those. Eventually, I may want to move away from this domain name altogether, but I don’t plan to do that in the near future.

In the meantime, it’s necessary for me to only review the things that I feel strongly about, either positively or negatively. I’ve written so many lukewarm reviews in the past year or two, and I know they’re neither as helpful to readers as they should be or a worthy us of my time as I want.

I’ve got a backlog of items to post reviews about. Some are half-written drafts. Others are completely written and waiting on photos (a photog I am not, and I frequently struggle capturing photos that I feel are good enough to post). Some items I’ve tried and honestly never sat down to write about. I am not only renigging on my responsibilities, but I am making the task for difficult for myself. Signing up for fewer reviews in the first place seems like the most viable option, and I will shortly take a look at where I am with my existing queue and what I can do about that.

I think all this is doable. I’ll set up some reminders on my phone later today, after making a few more emails, and surround myself with the pile of items that I need to write about in the upcoming days and go through my post drafts to see what I feel like finishing and publishing.

Although I think I have no right to ask of my readers and friends to help, I think I shall. If I appear quiet on Twitter for extended periods of time, if I have missed the second Saturday of the month, if my blog seems stagnant, I would welcome a friendly reminder about these things if you feel like chiming in. I want to speak more, but I also want to hear more from you guys!

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Science of Sex: The Women of Sexology

December 30th, 2017

Welcome to the tenth installment in a feature on Of Sex and Love: Science of Sex. In this monthly segment, I discuss the science of sexuality in an easy-to-digest format that’s accessible to the casual reader. I will also follow up with some extended reading material for people who want to know more about the subject of each post.

I try to update Science of Sex every second Saturday of the month, so check back soon.  This month’s incredibly late Science of Sex post is a departure from previous posts, but it’s one that I hope you will enjoy.

Science of Sex Women of Sexolofy

While the last few months I’ve posted about what is happening in the science of sex, I decided to depart just a bit this month and discuss the who of science and sex. Specifically, I’d like to focus on the women who researched and studied, taught, and fought for our sexuality. I do this not to minimize what efforts of men but to maximize the efforts of women who were all too often overlooked — and sometimes still are. We’ve all heard of Kinsey and Grafenberg and Bancroft and Janssen. Now, I’d like to introduce you to some lesser-known names!

Marie Bonaparte

You’ll more often hear Bonaparte listed as a French princess, which she was, but she was also a psychoanalyst and friend of Freud. After growing tired of her inability to orgasm, Bonaparte took matters into her own hands. It’s to her credit that we have the rule of thumb (albeit, this was unknown to me until earlier this year, so women’s voices still need to be promoted!). After consulting with hundreds of women, Marie suggested that the reason that so many women were anorgasmic wasn’t because of what was in their heads: it was because of what was between their legs.

The rule of thumb states that if the distance between a woman’s clitoris and vaginal opening is more than the length from the tip of thumb to the first knuckle (around 2.5cm), a woman is unlikely to achieve orgasm through intercourse because the clit won’t be stimulated.

Virginia Johnson

You’ve likely heard of Virginia Johnson’s work if you’re interested in sex research, but her name always followers her partner and husband, William Masters. Together, the pair discovered different stages of arousal, that women could achieve multiple orgasms and that flexibility of a vagina when it comes to penetration. Johnson contributed to something great, but it wasn’t perfect. Early research with Masters encouraged conversion of gays, which Johnson didn’t approve.

Johnson seems a complicated woman, and neither her professional and personal relationship with Masters is no less complex. But who knows what we would know without her?

Lisa Diamond

Lisa Diamond examined the fluidity of woman’s sexuality, which she published under the name Sexual Fluidity: Understanding Women’s Love and Desire. Diamond’s research supports the idea that many women experience a sexual fluidity that may not be properly addressed by existing labels. Lisa Diamond also suggest that a woman’s sexuality has more variables, including menstruation, than a man’s.

April Burns

April Burns surveyed girls and young women to discover their attitudes and behavior toward sex. The result is sometimes frustrating and disappointing (a comparison between oral sex and performing a chore or taking a test was common) but always enlightening (oral sex is one way in which these girls felt empowered in their sexual encounters — perhaps the only way). Burns has also examined the relationship that young women of color have with sex.

Debby Herbenick

It wasn’t until I read Girls and Sex that I realized how many women defined good sex as sex that was simply without pain. I guess I had been fortunate.  This knowledge comes from the results of several studies that Debby Herbernick has contributed to. Of particular note is the National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior, the most extensive sexual survey of recent years, Herbernick and her team at Indiana University released results in 2009 and 2012 that offered a look into modern bedrooms, just like Kinsey or Johnson had done decades prior.

Katherine Bement Davis

Davis was the superintendent of a woman’s prison and used her network to survey women about topics such as sexual orientation and desire. Although she isn’t often credited for her work and it took the world a while to accept the results, Davis was a proponent of both the idea that homosexuality in women wasn’t pathological and that women had sexual desires much the same as men.

Evelyn Hooker

Evelyn Hooker worked with the gay community to perform psychological evaluations in an attempt to remove the stigma of homosexuality as a mental illness or insanity. In the end, she surveyed two groups of people, one gay and one straight, and produced results that were virtually indistinguishable from one another.

Celia Mosher

Mosher was studying sex well before Kinsey, and it even earned her the moniker of the “sex scholar.” Mosher was responsible for a Victorian sex survey, the earliest of its type. Unfortunately, the results of the survey weren’t published until after her death. The results showed that women were not ready to admit that their sexual desires were nonexistent or abnormal.

Lori Brotto

More recently, Lori Brotto has studied the disconnect that women often experience between mental and physical arousal. Brotto’s research suggests that the way that women multitask and tend to be detached from their bodies contributes to this. Brotto suggests mindfulness as one possible solution. However, Brotto’s research also indicates that in the sexual moment, men and women experience fewer differences in desire than most people believe. Another myth Brotto is helping to dispel is how much testosterone affects a woman’s desire.

Sari van Anders

Van Anders has also looked into the role of testosterone and arousal, finding only an indirect link. She has researched responsive desire in women and the interplay between thoughts and desire. The van Anders lab frequently tackles topics about sex, women, feminism, gender, and diversity, going so far as to research how to perform feminist research.

Marie Stopes

Stopes not only penned the first sex manual in England, but she also opened the country’s first reproductive health clinic in 1921, she used it to gather data about contraception. Her clinic inspired others and eventually led to the Family Planning Association.  The Marie Stopes Foundation still promotes access to contraception around the world and continues research into abortion.

 

Emily Nagoski

Emily Nagoski has done a ton to educate the world about sexual desire, especially as experienced by women, as well as risk and sexual behavior. Hers is the book that introduced me (and many others!) to the dual-control model of sexual desire and is also responsible for me finally coming to understand my body’s stress response cycle. I’ve referenced it countless times since reading it.

Do yourself a favor, boys and girls, and read Come As You Are. Nagoski’s blog, The Dirty Normal, contains helpful entries and comics to further illustrate these concepts.

Beverly Whipple

Finally, we have a name with which many of you may already be familiar. Whipple has orchestrated over 170 studies into sexuality, the best known of which may be on the G-spot. A paper she helped write on the topic in 1981 was the first publication to use the G-spot, which she named in honor of Dr. Gränfenberg, who had earlier studied it. Her studies have also found how food affects the G-spot, “diets heavy in spicy chilies may block the naturally occurring analgesic affect of the G-spot, therefore causing childbirth to be more painful,” women who can think themselves to orgasm and those suffering from persistent genital arousal disorder.

Whipple has received many well-deserved awards and commendations for her work, which covers myriad angles of sexual response.

One of the things that I love about nearly all these women was their attention on women’s sexuality. When men wouldn’t take it seriously, women took up arms to shed light on the subject.

This list is by no means comprehensive. There are those whose work has been overlooked, is still in the process, or are simply unknown to me. I relish the thought of learning about more women researching the field of sexuality, so please leave comments with anyone who should be added to this list!

Further Reading

Several books I’ve read provided me with information for this post, and I’d like to recommend them in addition to the usual articles and studies that I post. They include Bonk by Mary Roach, Girls and Sex. I’d also recommend checking out Masters of Sex; although, I haven’t had a chance to read it.

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Science of Sex: Marijuana and Sexual Activity

November 30th, 2017

Welcome to the sixth installment in a new feature on Of Sex and Love: Science of Sex. In this feature, I plan to discuss the science of sexuality in an easy-to-digest format that’s accessible to the casual reader. I will also follow up with some extended reading material for people who want to know more about the subject of each post.

I try to update Science of Sex every second Saturday of the month, so check back soon.  This month’s incredibly late Science of Sex post is a departure from previous posts, but it’s one that I hope you will enjoy.

science of sex marijuana

A few studies have compared how substances affect sex drive, performance, and satisfaction. The two most commonly researched substances are alcohol and marijuana, with studies on the latter becoming more common as marijuana continues to be legalized. These studies piqued my interest!

Thus far, studies on cannabis use and sex point to some similarities to alcohol: people generally feel more relaxed and attractive when they mix either substance with sex.

Many people report being more aroused when drunk or stoned, but there’s a surprising difference between men: 50% of women reported being more aroused after smoking pot compared to 39% of men. The reasons may not bee entirely due to a chemical difference, however. Researchers suggested that women were more likely to need a reason to allow themselves to have sex, and marijuana changes the “path” to sex with which women are more concerned than men.

Cannabis use can decrease a man’s plasma testosterone (women see an opposite effect, which might account for the greater increase in desire) with greater effects on more heavy smokers. This is especially true on days after intense use. Thus, marijuana can both increase and decrease desire in men. Sperm counts also drop in these men to below 30 million per ml, which could be an obstacle for people who are trying to conceive.

Regardless of those differences, both men and women who smoke pot are likely to have more sex than those who don’t — about 20% more sex. No conclusions have been drawn, but the combination of increased arousal and decreased inhibition probably helps.

Smoking more marijuana doesn’t necessarily lead to even more desire, however. One joint seems to be the sweet spot. Doubling that still increases desire but only by half as much.

Discover how the dual-control model of sexual desire affects arousal, too.

Interestingly enough, both alcohol and marijuana affect how people choose sexual partners, but someone is more likely to sleep with a friend when stoned and a stranger while drunk. Regrets are increased after drunken sex more than stoned sex, too. Marijuana does lead to increased risky behaviors, such as not using condoms with established partners.

Most people are familiar with the phenomenon known as “whiskey dick,” which occurs when a man who has imbibed alcohol cannot become erect. Some men experience difficulty with erection while high, but not nearly as many.

The influence of marijuana on orgasm is varied:

  • Some people experience more orgasms
  • Some have more intense orgasms
  • Some have fewer orgasms or difficulty orgasming

The mind that marijuana puts someone in can prove too much of a distraction and may come with paranoia or other negative side effects that do not bode well for sex.

The type of sex that people have after smoking tends to be softer and gentler while people who drink have more aggressive sex. The sex is also likely to be slower, and many men report lasting longer after smoking, likely due to the endocannabinoid system.

At least one study finds an increased likelihood of sex during menstruation when marijuana is involved. Mixing cannabis and pregnancy may have unwanted effects. Research suggests that marijuana both reduces conception and successful pregnancies.

Pot might be a moon for desire more often than not, but there are definitely times when you should abstain, and users should beware the increased potential for risky behaviors.

Further Reading

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